Our Inner Critic

In today's monthly meditation session, we looked at the inner critic - you know the one I mean? It's the soundtrack of your mind that has an opinion on everything (or so it would seem!)

 

We'd first encountered the topic of the inner critic / voice when reading The Untethered Soul (by Michael A Singer) in our group reading guide a couple of years ago.

 

Some of us have managed to befriend this voice, even so far as giving it a name. I know my writing mentor has done this too and says that it is most definitely a 'he' that shows up.

 

Much of our meditation and mindfulness practice is about acceptance. Learning to accept how things are doesn't mean that we are necessarily comfortable or in agreement with them. So can we learn to accept this inner voice?

 

First we need to understand there's actually a motivation to our inner critic: it can help us succeed and reach our goals and it can also serve to keep us safe.

 

However, we tend to use it by criticising ourselves before anyone else can.

 

It also provides the illusion of control - I should have done it differently; I shouldn't have said that; I should / could have got it right.

 

Our inner critic thinks it knows what's right all the time and it is apt to changing its mind at the drop of a hat!

 

Next we looked at how we could develop some compassion for our inner critic and therefore ourselves. You may like to try this, all you need is a pen and some paper and somewhere quiet.

 

  • Write down a behaviour that you would like to change that you typically criticise yourself for. (Remember: this is to be done with kindness and not to treat it as an opportunity to beat yourself with a big stick again).
  • Write down what you would typically say to yourself when you find that you engage in the behaviour you've mentioned from above.
  • Now write some words of kindness to yourself about how hard it has been to hear such criticism for so long.
  • Ask yourself what might be driving your inner critic. Is it trying to keep you safe in some way?
  • Finally, write some words of gentle, kind encouragement from your wise and loving inner self about changing this behaviour. (Think about what you would say to a really good friend).

 

Now spend a few quiet moments with your breath, perhaps silently breathing in words of loving kindness, or you may like to use one of the following phrases:

 

May I accept my body as it is

May I accept my mind as it is

May I accept my emotions and moods as they are

May I soften when life asks me to harden

 

I run monthly meditation sessions for women. Full details can be found here

 

[Image: Google]

read more