Your Inner Critic is NOT your enemy

You know that mean inner voice that says, “You SHOULD BE …”, “You SHOULDN’T have …” and “What is WRONG with you?!” in such a harsh and judgemental way?

Yup, our Inner Critic gets really nasty when we’re not living up to its high standards.

It often seems like our worst enemy: keeps us up at night, stops us from trying new things, prevents us from finishing projects (“it’s not perfect yet!!”), drives us to be workaholics, sabotages our relationships, makes us feel like crap…

But our Inner Critic isn’t ALL bad.  In fact, successful people have a strong Inner Critic that drives their success, even when they don’t like how it does it.  

It really bugs me when therapists and coaches try to get you to SILENCE your Inner Critic — because your Inner Critic, like your other subconscious parts, actually has a contribution to make. Beneath the insults, slave-driving and self-sabotage, it’s trying to protect you and teach you to be a better person.
When you learn how to negotiate with your Inner Critic and appreciate its role,
it becomes your ally  
and breaks through your blocks.  
(This is true of ALL parts of your ego.)
Yesterday I guided a client I’ll call “Laurel” through a dialogue with her inner critic. This powerful technique may sound weird, but it creates peace, ease and clarity in minutes — even when you’ve been stuck for months or years:
CASE STUDY: Laurel and her Inner Critic
Laurel is a successful entrepreneur who just moved her family to a new state.  She’s also wise, so she planned several weeks off from her business for moving and getting to know their new community. She carefully set aside the time and money to be able to relax, get settled and explore with her family.

But when it came down to it, Laurel simply could not let herself relax or “just” explore! There were so many things things she SHOULD do instead… She felt “massive resistance” within her and was really frustrated.

(Note: “Should” is one of the Inner Critic’s favorite words. ;-p)

So I guided Laurel to channel her Inner Critic – she calls it “Cruella” – while I asked questions and listened respectfully.
Turns out “Cruella” had very useful ideas to make Laurel’s transition feel safer:
  1. Create lists of all the things that need to be done by area (house, work, etc)
  2. Hang the lists up where they’re out of sight but can be reviewed regularly — on her closet walls!
  3. Create a rough timeline for what needs to happen when & hang it up too.
However, even if Laurel agreed to do these things, Cruella said she did not trust her to follow through. So she STILL wouldn’t allow Laurel to relax and explore…
“You SHOULD be doing your To Dos, not wasting time on this!! You LAZY, DISGUSTING SLOB!!”

“OK,” I said to Cruella. “What’s the worst thing that could happen if Laurel ignored her To Do lists?”  When we drilled down, the very worst thing Cruella could think of was that Laurel would “hate her life“.

I pointed out that for Laurel NOT to “hate her life”, she needs to be able to relax sometimes and enjoy being in the moment…  (Laurel is a meditator of many years’ practice; a big part of her is all about ‘being in the moment.’)

I asked Cruella: “Is there was a way to compromise?

Cruella: “Yes.” [!] “If Laurel takes the time to get clear about all the pieces that need to be done, and focuses on 1 thing in the moment, I’ll let her enjoy moments of exploring and relaxing too.” 

Whoo hoo! I thanked Cruella for the breakthrough, and noted that when all the pieces are clear + Laurel is in the moment = there is inner PEACE. Cruella and Laurel-the-meditator make a perfect team!

Cruella: “Actually, I prefer to be called ‘Judith’…”

Laurel: “Wow, I feel so much clearer and more peaceful!”

It’s vital to get to know, appreciate and negotiate with our subconscious parts, so we can stop being at war with ourselves. For if we don’t have peace in ourselves, how can we possibly have peace in our relationships, much less peace in the world?

Love and blessings,

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