Learning How to Rewire Your Inner Critic to Your Inner Cheer Captain
We all have an inner critic. It's that unconscious part of us that occasionally intrudes on our thoughts and feelings, saying:
"That wasn't good enough. You should feel bad about how that turned out."
"You're not doing enough right now. Turn off Netflix and do more."
"You're just not sufficient. You'll never reach your goals. So give up."
There are two main ways we deal with Inner Criticism: Procrastination and Pointless Productivity
We all sometimes procrastinate. It's that feeling of pressure and judgment from ourselves, as well as others. It becomes too much, so we tend to avoid, deny, and ignore our inner critic and the things that are important to us.
In the same way, we often get caught up in unproductive busyness. We listen to that voice that tells us we're not good enough, which causes us stress and a sense of emptiness. As a result, we do things that don't really matter. We try to fight back and take action, but it's just a reaction to this internal feeling.
The Radical Alternative is to Slow Down, to Listen, Really Listen to the Love that’s at the Heart of What the Inner Critic is Trying to Say
Ok, this is easier said than done. It is also nuanced and subtle. This strategy is more advanced and requires a high level of self-awareness and self-love.
If you're reading this, consider yourself up for the challenge.
Personally, I find it easiest to do this in writing.
I don't have all day to engage in invisible dialogues with invisible parts of myself. I just have to get things done regardless of my thoughts or feelings about it.
However, about once a week, I do take the time to have a dialogue with some uncomfortable energy within me.
Some Scientific Research if You're Skeptical
I understand that the way I describe this may sound unconventional. However, there is a substantial amount of academic research that supports this.
In the 80s, the hyper-focus on Self-Esteem created a sense that self-criticism was good for personal growth and change. It was thought that the energy of criticism and comparison, would motivate us to take action.
However, over the past 10 years, a growing body of research has shown that self-compassion is actually more motivating than self-criticism . Additionally, the misguided use of self-criticism in psychology during the 80s is now correlated with the rise of bullying, perfectionism, and narcissism in today's society .
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I encourage you to try this when you’re really feeling beaten up about something.
Perhaps you're disappointed because something didn't go the way you wanted.
Or maybe you're aware that you've checked out in some part of your life.
Consider choosing one recent challenge from the past month and engage in a dialogue with your Inner Critic.
Remember the keys we discussed last week for creating a clear container to feel our feelings? Well, they apply here too!
- First, set a clear intention and ask for the Highest Good for this experience.
- Then, acknowledge and validate your Inner Critic. Use the 4 Steps for Rewiring as a guide for this dialogue.
- Finally, show love and support to the Inner Critic in fulfilling its needs.
How to Dialogue with our Inner Critic for Rewiring and Release
STEP BY STEP
- Set a clear intention and ask for the Highest Good.
For example: "It is my clear intention to grow, learn, and heal through this experience. I am asking that only what is for my Highest Good takes place. And I am setting a clear intention to grow in kindness, love, and compassionate support for myself and others."
- Now call forward a recent challenging experience with your Inner Critic. You may or may not have been aware of conscious inner dialouge. It may simply be a time you felt beat up, beat down, or simply down and depressed. Write down the situation.
For example: After my last project in my head I knew it went really well, but I just felt like an imposter, a fraud, and a failure all at once.
- Now, allow your Inner Critic to share without censorship. Let it speak freely, in whatever monologue emerges. Remember, it's likely not going to be kind and may be difficult to hear. So, concentrate on simply listening and accepting whatever arises.
For example: Inner Critic - You were terrible. You simply don't put in enough effort. You believe you'll achieve xyz. You won't. You don't deserve it. You should work harder. You should do more...
- Now, ask your Inner Critic: Why do you care so much? Why are you working so hard to keep me in line, to help me do more, to make me the best that I can be?!
Ultimately, our inner critic operates under the illusion that our love and worth come from this physical level. It's not its fault that it constantly pushes us to do more in order to feel lovable. It works on the level of ego, which only knows this physical level. So, the more we can realize that our Inner Critic is simply trying to help us feel loved, seen, and worthwhile, the more we can embrace love and let go of criticism, pressure, and expectations.
- Now, respond to your Inner Critic. Thank it for caring so much, and let it know that it's okay. You don't need its help to be lovable because you ARE lovable. Flood your Inner Critic with love, compassion, and gratitude.
The most significant part of rewiring is upgrading our conscious awareness from an ego level to a spiritual level. It is transformative to authentically stand in your truth and let your Inner Critic know that you don't have to do more to be lovable. You don't have to work harder to be okay. You don't have to do anything to be the perfect, lovable, and worthwhile being that you are.
- Now, consider how your Inner Critic responds. Is there a possibility that they want to support you in a different way? Perhaps they would like to offer support in a more loving and compassionate manner.
Frequently, I find that my inner critic transforms into an incredible cheerleader, filled with pure love, joy, and support.
- Complete with gratitude for yourself, for courageously diving deeply into greater Self-Love and Self-Compassion!
I hope this is helpful! And I would love to hear how it goes for you if you decide to give it a try.
I am dedicated to sharing strategies and steps for living a life with more self-compassion. It has been the missing link in my life in many ways.
I will be hosting a free Compassion Meditation session on Thursdays at 10am Pacific time.
Join us to learn how to rewire (neurologically) back to love!
Thanks for being here. I love you.
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