Develop the ability to give yourself a profound healing experience.

Peace to you on your journey to loving to yourself
- learn to resonate to a positive wavelength.

You can’t do what you want, 'till you know what you’re doing;
and you can’t know what you’re doing, till you know who you are . . .

There are “positive” aspects to "roles" - see Children-Roles page.

Klaas Tuinman M.A.
Dawn Cove Abbey
Deerfield, Nova Scotia
Rev: 2010
The Inner Critic
Regardless how long your behaviour pattern and circumstances may have
existed, and no matter how much you despair of healing: recovery - healing and
becoming a true survivor is possible at any time.

"Each night I die to old habits and to negative thinking and actions that do not
serve me any more; each morning I am resurrected into new life, again and again
if I so choose." (adapted from our chapel's prayers).
Dawn Cove Abbey
A Place of Hope, Help and Inner Healing:  Providing  Emotional, Spiritual and Mental Integration
Inner Critic – Inner Guide:
living with the critical voice within.
The Inner Critic is not your conscience:
Your conscience is primarily your inner sense of right and wrong, sometimes called
"the
knowing voice of the soul."
However, your conscience is also affected and shaped by your childhood training and belief
patterns, and is therefore not necessarily a perfect reflection of your original untarnished
selfhood.

This is so because essentially, your conscience lies just at the border of your subconscious
mind. Your conscience is the sum total of your past impressions, training, programming   
and indoctrination which define your creedal and ideological structure.

Thus these color your conscience and either clearly reflects or distorts superconscious  
wisdom (your original or
a priori state).
We all have that voice inside;
the one that can take anything about ourselves
or something that we did
and make it into something terribly wrong or bad.

That’s the inner critic inside your head whose voice tells you
that you aren't good enough,
smart enough,
talented enough,
pretty/handsome enough,
or strong enough.

Often this voice invades whatever trauma and pain there was in our childhoods.

It nags and natters at you to the point that your self confidence and sense of bravery is destroyed.
You are convinced that the voice is correct
and that you really don't have what it takes to live out your wildest dreams.
As time goes on, you quit setting meaningful goals.
You become resigned to a life of mediocrity and dullness.

Many events conspire to make us question and criticize ourselves.
From the little things to the big things, there are lots of people who knowingly and unknowingly put us
down.

All of us have conscious and unconscious memories of all the times we felt bad or wrong
– they are part of the unavoidable scars of childhood.
This is where the inner critical voice gets started.

Typically it begins during childhood.
Unfortunately most of us have had parents, family members, siblings, relatives, teachers,
religious leaders, friends, and enemies tell us that we aren't good enough.
All play a role - even if they think they're helping us.

They laughed in our face when we told them our childhood dreams.
It's not always said directly to our face; sometimes it's a subtle undercurrent.

Maybe you lived in the shadow of a perfect older sister/brother
and your folks forgot to cheer on your successes too.
Maybe your folks did everything for you
as if you weren't capable of doing anything for yourself.
Maybe you lived under the rule of a perfectionist,
so everything you did was critiqued with a cold critical eye
and never quite cut the mustard.

Parents often try and correct the "problems" they think they see in us,
and say all kinds of things in an attempt to "fix" us.
They let us know their concerns about
our looks, body,
hair, clothes,
the way we walk and talk, and so on.
Sometimes, actually in many cases, a parent is just mean
– or totally dysfunctional for one reason or another.

All of these accumulate to make us feel less than adequate,
less than whole,
less than what we "should" be.

Overt and covert criticisms,
emotional, physical and sexual abuse,
and bullying
all lead to our internalizing negative beliefs.
They leave us feeling hurt and ashamed,
sometimes hating everything about ourselves.

While overt abuse certainly leads to the creation of an inner critic,
so do many other, often more subtle, forms of criticism.

The inner critic can lead to all sorts of problems including low self-esteem,
self injurious behaviour,
eating disorders,
avoiding situations that require us to be the centre of attention or to shine,
and feeling like we are profoundly unlovable and unwanted.

People with very low self-esteem have a more vicious and demoralizing inner critic.   
Low self-esteem robs you of your confidence.
You no longer trust your ability to cope or make decisions.
Risks stop being challenging; they’re scary.
Since you can’t live up to your own critical voice,
you’re also often critical of others.

Our self-esteem and self image are developed by how we talk to ourselves.
"We are what we think about all day long." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
That is the simplest definition of self-esteem.

We have an inner voice that speaks to us consciously and unconsciously all the time.
When our inner voice becomes and stays critical,
it drags us down until we cannot have adequate love or esteem for ourselves.

"Love is the power which produces love." ~Erich Fromm
We must love ourselves to be able to love others.
To do so, we all have to deal with our inner critical voice at some time or another.

The inner critic was originally formed to help you,
to help you avoid pain and shame.
The thinking goes like this:
"if I create within myself a voice that is just like my parents, and anyone else I want to please,
I can more easily know what they want from me, how they want me to be,
and I can more easily avoid their disapproval and ultimately win their approval and love."

The inner critic wants us to do well, to succeed,
and to be liked,
but operates on the thinking level of a child,
and a child who thinks that what other people think of her/him is not only important but correct.

In order to do its job properly, the inner critic needed to curb your natural inclinations,
and to make you acceptable to others by criticizing and correcting your behaviour
before other people could criticize and reject you.
In this way, it reasoned, it could earn love and protection for you
as well as save you much shame and hurt.

The problem is the inner critic doesn't know when to stop.
It may grow until it is out of control and criticizes you on a regular basis causing some real damage.
The inner critic can make you feel awful about yourself.
With the inner critic watching, you begin to watch your every step;
you become self-conscious, awkward and ever fearful of making a mistake.

However it starts, the inner critic gathers proof that it is doing the right thing
by protecting you from making foolish leaps of faith.
It will find proof of your lack and inability to shine.
Every time you give up and quit,
the inner critic files that away in its memory as proof yet again of your smallness.
Years and years of layers of proof and validation
coupled with the lack of a strong support system of cheerleaders
strengthens the inner critic until it overpowers your own sense of drive and purpose.
Your fears now rule your life.

The Nurturer as inner critic:
We also have an inner voice that has our best interest at heart: the Nurturer.
It the Nurturer’s job to be loving and self-affirming.

Listen to the good inner voice.
How we respond to our good inner voice determines how we feel.
When we don’t listen we feel bad.
When we follow its lead with faith that it is guiding us towards what is best for us, we feel good.

The nurturing Judging Inner Critic can also be useful during the creative process.
Allowing this voice to come through only after an idea has had the opportunity to germinate and evolve
can help you evaluate if an idea has merit.

However, inviting this inner chatter in during the initial stages of creativity
will guarantee that the creative process shuts down.
There is a place for
The Judge, but only after The Explorer and Artist within you
have had the chance to express themselves.

Critics are not necessarily bad, as we’ve seen.
They analyze and report back the results of their critique.

The inner critic believes that he is protecting you.
It's his job to keep you from doing harmful or foolish things.
In the caveman days, he would have told you that you couldn't outrun the lion
so you'd best leave it alone.
He would have told you not to try jumping off of that cliff
because you don't have wings like a bird so you're not going to be able to fly.

The inner critic is supposed to analyze your talents, traits, and abilities
and then determine whether or not you've got what it takes
to accomplish whatever whim you're entertaining.

At an enlightened balanced level he keeps you safe and out of trouble.
In overdrive, he immobilizes you and keeps you from doing much of anything interesting and
adventurous.

This is often where the internal battle begins.
The Inner Critic has been keeping the Inner Child muffled and secluded.
When the self starts to rebel and the Inner Child is finally released
to be present to talk about his/her feelings;
sometimes the Child's self loses control
- and plays havoc with people's lives.

Your inner critic makes an evaluation about you
based on mental programs and beliefs that has been fed into it over the course of your life.

If you have a history of support and success,
then your inner critic is probably balanced and logical.

If you have a history of being ridiculed and of failure,
then your inner critic is probably doing its best to save you from any further pain.

You are so much more than your inner critic's opinion of you.
You are forever capable of growing, learning, training, expanding,
and contributing your unique beautiful self.

Don't let your inner critic keep you from giving your gift to the world.

Do not fall prey to one of the most common phobias in our part of the world today
– fear of failure.

You may decide that your inner critic is telling the truth,
that you really aren't capable yet of doing what you've set out to do.
Okay great, adapt your plan.
Educate yourself, make solving the fears your first steps.
Just because you don't have all of the tools today
doesn't mean that you're never ever going to be able to succeed.

The first step in reducing the power of the inner critic
is to recognize when it's speaking and to separate from it.
You are
not your inner critic,
it is a part of you,
but it is not who you are.

When you are able to separate from your inner critic,
you are in the part of your self which is sometimes called aware ego,
internal witness,
higher self,
or observing ego.

When you are able to step back, and observe the inner critic,
you are separating from it and moving into aware or observing ego.
Being in aware ego takes the sting out of the inner critic.

Before you can disarm the critic, you have to know him.
Secrecy is his greatest strength.
So if you can get really good at hearing and identifying his voice, you will have won a major victory.
Remember that every time the critic attacks he is doing you real psychological harm.
He is further wounding your sense of worth
and making it harder to feel competent and happy in the world.
You can’t afford what he is doing to you.
It’s costing you too much.

Analyze your critical thoughts.
As you analyze your critical thoughts,
determine what they help you feel or help you avoid feeling;
you’ll begin to see a pattern to the attacks.

One person may find his critic's primary function is to help him/her atone for guilt.
Someone else may experience a critic whose main effort is to provide achievement motivation.
Another person’s critic may help desensitize her/him to the fear of rejection.
Or a critic may harangue you to stay on the straight and narrow path.
When you become aware of the theme or themes your critic uses, you are ready to fight back.

Some of the times to catch your inner critic are:
  • when you are feeling depressed or down on yourself,
  • meeting strangers,
  • contact with people you find sexually attractive,
  • situations in which you have made a mistake,
  • situations in which you feel criticized and defensive,
  • situations in which you feel hurt or someone has been angry at you,
  • and conversations with parents
  • or anyone who might be disapproving.

When you are able to identify the role your critic plays in your psychological life,
Research has shown that to change behavior,
it is more effective to stop telling yourself negative things
It’s not so much the power of positive thinking
as it is the power of non-negative thinking.

When you are able to step back, and observe the inner critic,
you are separating from it and moving into aware or observing ego.
Being in aware ego takes the sting out of the inner critic.

Inner critics have a tendency to feed on the very aspects of ourselves
that we are most uncomfortable with, deny, and disown.
For example, if you are uncomfortable with your anger and your critical judgments of other    
people, and tell yourself that you don't feel angry when you do,
and think that you are not being mean when you are,
your inner critic will rake you over the coals and call you all sorts of things.

If you acknowledge your anger, and the reality that sometimes you do think or speak critically
of other people, your inner critic has nothing to hit you with.

How we feel about our bodies, or parts of our bodies, can be harder.
If you have an inner critic that tells you that you are "fat",
you likely don't accept your body as it is
and would prefer that you weighed less or looked differently.
While it may be hard to accept your body the way it is,
you can try acknowledging to yourself that this is your body
and this is the way you look with as little judgment as possible.

Scenario One: perhaps your parents (or the parent to whom you bonded the most,
or whose approval you sought the hardest)
wanted a girl child, and you are a boy.
Hence, unconsciously, you began to have effeminate mannerisms
to more or less “live up to” their expectations, because somehow
it left you feeling responsible for their disappointment,
and felt it to be your responsibility to compensate.

Scenario Two: perhaps your parents (or the parent to whom you bonded the most,
or whose approval you sought the hardest)
wanted a boy child, and you are a girl.
Hence, unconsciously, you became a “tom boy”,
including an inner drive to have a boyish physical figure
to more or less “live up to” their expectations, because somehow
it left you feeling responsible for their disappointment,
and felt it to be your responsibility to compensate.

When we make those subtle unconscious choices, we disown ourselves.
We become disconnected from the person we are, and further and further
from our a priori state – the first major step to alienation.

Becoming aware of and acknowledging all aspects of yourself,
including the parts you are not comfortable with, softens the inner critic's power.


Getting to know different aspects of yourself that you disown:

Step One: think of somebody whom you really dislike,
somebody who pushes your emotional buttons,
and leaves you feeling self-righteous and superior.

Don't pick someone who has abused you.

What is it about this person that you judge?
Once you figure that out, you've found a disowned aspect of yourself.
For example, say you dislike someone because she is needy and wants others to take care of her.
You would never want to be like that!
That is your disowned self - the needy child who wants others to take care of her/him.


Step Two: think about someone you overvalue.
This is someone who you not only admire,
but someone with whom you feel bad about yourself in comparison.
Again you will have found a disowned self.

For example, perhaps, you admire a friend's ability to be rational and in control.
You, in contrast, always seem to be emotional and confused.
You wish you could be calm, cool, and collected like s/he is.
In fact, around her/him you may get even more confused and emotional,
and have great difficulty pulling your thoughts together.
S/he is showing you a disowned self.
You have disowned your own rational, controlled part.

One of the inner critic's jobs is to criticize your disowned parts,
so by acknowledging all of you who you are,
you reduce the power of the inner critic.

Dialoguing with an inner critic can be helpful.

When the Inner Critic shows up uninvited here are a few strategies
to help you discern if your inner voice is trying to contribute to your well being
or if it is trying to protect you from non-existent dangers.

Gently countering the inner critics views can help.
Often, it helps more to view the inner critic as another part of yourself
who has something of value to say
and deserves to be heard and respected.

Dialoguing with the inner critic
(for example, writing out a conversation between the inner critic and another part of yourself)
where you simply listen, ask clarifying questions, understand the inner critic's deeper concerns,
offer feedback as you would in any conversation,
and negotiate agreements if that fits,
often softens the inner critic more
and has longer lasting results.

The next time you hear a voice inside of you putting you down,
take a deep breath, remind yourself it's your inner critic speaking,
take a step back, and observe it in action.
That may be all you need to do to reduce the impact of the inner critic.
You may want to listen for potential disowned parts as well that you can try to acknowledge.
For the more we acknowledge all of who we are, and how we can behave,
the less powerful the inner critic is,
and that is such a relief!

Recognize that fear is a normal and appropriate response when faced with challenging situations.
Acknowledge yourself for doing something new and unprecedented.

When moving out of your current comfort zone it does tend to be awkward.
Why do you think the phrase "growing pains" is associated with growth?

You can and will succeed if you recognize that fear is only a part of the growth
process.
It is not the end result of the process.

Take a moment to remember specific times and areas in your life where you have succeeded.
It is great to remember your successes over things that challenged you in the past.
And now you know you have the ability to succeed in other situations as well.

Make the distinction between what you are feeling
and the circumstances of the situation you find yourself in.

For example, consider this statement:
no means no,
and nothing else.

If you are under an Inner Critic attack,
the word "no" could mean you aren't talented or that you lack what it takes to succeed.
The only fact in a situation where someone has said "no" to you is
that someone has said "no".
Nothing else!
Allow yourself to experience your feelings,
but don't confuse them with the facts of a situation.

Challenge the negative self-talk.
Ask yourself:
Does this thought contribute to my stress?
Where did I learn this thought?
Is this a logical thought?
Is this thought true?

Once you become aware of a negative thought pattern, you can confront the thought,
challenge the logic and replace the thoughts with a kinder
and a more gentle way of thinking that will move you forward on your personal path.

Write a worse case scenario.
What is the worst thing that could possibly happen if you were to take on this new challenge?

What will happen is that you notice that things aren't as terrible as your mind has/had imagined
them to be.

Take the negative self-talk of your worst case scenario and create new possibilities for yourself.
Try this phrase:
"If the worst does happen, I will . . ."
for example:
"If I make a mistake on this project, I will . . ."
Try to come up with three ways of handling the challenge
and then take specific steps to create your desired outcome.

Accept that making mistakes is simply part of life.

People make mistakes.
Separate the reality that you made a mistake from who you are as a person.

Don't confuse making a mistake with feeling that you are the mistake.
You aren't the mistake.
You made a mistake.
And, mistakes happen.

One way to guarantee that you won't move forward in your life
is by not being willing to let yourself make mistakes.

There is the possibility you might fail or make a mistake when you try something new.

When Thomas Edison was working on the light bulb he had one failure after another during the
process. He said to critics who commented about all the times it appeared he had failed with his
invention:
"I've simply eliminated twenty-seven ways that don't work."
Breakdowns can lead to breakthroughs.

Thank the Inner Critic for sharing its opinion about the challenge or situation
and take action anyway.

These are only a few of the ways you can handle the inner chatter that stops you.
Your Inner Critic may be trying to protect you,
but more often than not,
it gives you reasons for not taking meaningful action in your life.
Don’t let it be successful!

And, if all else fails,
someone recently gave me a marvelous suggestion
when my Inner Critic was busy yelling in my ear . . .
just give it a sock in the eye.
______________________
Base Sources (modified):
-An Adaptation from Beyond the Inner Critic, Thomas Skye, Tomorrow's Edge
- Kali Munro, 2002
-Various Unknown
Therefore, your conscience is thus the sum total of two things: the superconscious knowing, which is the
same in all people, and the creedal or ideological belief structure through which the superconscious  flows,
which is particular to each person.

Consequently, people in different cultures have different consciences (in our modern world, people  within
the same culture generally have different consciences). These are in essence their a posteriori states. This
psychological law has to do with the superconscious mind working through the subconscious (an interface
known as the sub-superconscious).

Your conscience is therefore an internal “critic”, but not the only, or “worst” one. The other is the “Inner
Critic”.

The INNER CRITIC is the voice of the person who criticized you non-stop when you were young;  the   
Inner Critic is also known as the
Censor, The Committee, Evil Twin, Monster, and Monkey Mind.
It tends to show up just as we are about to embark on a new project or challenge. This self-talk  tends to
appear in our consciousness exactly when we don't need to hear from it.

It's that not-so-charming voice that says to you:
"Wow, you really blew that interview."
"Don't apply for that job, you don't have the skills for it".
"You are too old to try that."
"Don't ask him or her on a date, you're not his or her type."
"Everyone's looking at you now,
what could you have been thinking to say that in the meeting?"
"It's too hard to start and succeed at a new business,
stay at this job, it’s secure and you know what to expect."
And so on and so on . . .

For most people it is their parents’ “voice” that will be the strongest relentless critic;
the voice of the person who criticized you non-stop when you were young;
For example,
“Is that the BEST you could do?”
- even when you got the highest grade in your class,
“You are so stupid you are a constant screw-up;
can't you do anything right?”
Dawn Cove Abbey
_______________________________
Roadside Assistance For Your Journey Through Life
- Dedicated to helping people return (and maintain) sanity and decency to life -
_______________________________________________________
From the eBook: "One! The Journey hOMe", by Klaas Tuinman MA, © 2007-2017

Questions and comments welcomed.