When Cheryl (name changed) came to me, she was exhausted and drained by an internal mechanism that kept her constantly striving toward perfect ideals, both real and envisioned. For years, she had been driven by a voice that told her “you’re not good enough,” and she was starting to realize that this undeserved core belief had diminished her accomplishments and positive experiences. Instead of celebrating wins, her inner critic demanded she climb yet another mountain, with promises that reaching the next peak would result in the fulfillment and healing she sought.
The inner critic is a relentless taskmaster who operates through a pattern of deflating, erasing, and rebuilding other parts of the self. This inner critic can show up as the critical boss or mother, who focuses on the faults in others and avoids introspection through rigorous ideals and constant helping; as the wounded healer, who spends time and energy rescuing others; or, like Cheryl’s inner critic, as the ambitious businessperson, who drives her to compulsively accomplish in an endless cycle that leads to breakdown and burnout. Even when your spiritual gas tank is empty, the inner critic compels you to continue to fix, help, reach, push, strive, and achieve.
However your inner critic shows up in your life, healing begins within. We align the inner critic with the higher self and the intuitive self, which results in the whole self that sources power through compassion, inclusion, creativity, and wisdom instead of criticism and self-judgment.
These four steps will help you stop being driven by the critic and start aligning it to your internal voice:
· Stay positive. The “fixer” erases all of the good by creating problems, then becomes the hero through fixing them. This creates a self-imposed rescue cycle. When that voice points out what I am not doing right, I choose to listen to my inner knowing that everything is right—because it is my life, my lessons, and my consequences. So, I own it and I stay in the solution.
· Block out the noise. Your inner critic loves to keep you shopping for opinions! It is a way to avoid listening to the inner knowing and keeps you running around seeking outside approval instead of taking concrete actions towards your best life. Also, the inner critic may make you feel so insecure and doubtful as to your next steps that you are afraid to act. To counter this, sit quietly to clear them and give yourself time to listen to your intuition and filter outside opinions. More opinions are not going to cure the inner critic. Only internal work will.
· Practice self-validation. When you have a win, no matter how small, congratulate yourself! Give yourself an actual pat on the back! Build on those wins, and with each baby step, you'll find you have the confidence to take bigger steps. There's no better way to counter the inner critic
· Use the inner critic within you for good. The positive side of the inner critic is that, when aligned with the highest self, it helps to move you toward deeper purpose. A transformed critic can be your biggest cheerleader. Just be mindful to keep it as part of the whole self, not a dictator you are running around to please.
As Cheryl transformed her inner critic, she began to work toward goals that had deeper purpose, and she created balance and meaning in her life. She learned to motivate herself through creation and service rather than running from a negative critical voice.
Healing the inner critic can be complex and take time. If you need help identifying and transforming your inner critic, I can support you through an individual session.
And join me next month as we continue to explore and grow through Deep Business practices. In the meantime, may what is right within you flourish.
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