Dancing with our inner critic

3rd November 2019

We’ve all got one. 

It’s that voice, urge or whisper in your ear that seems to berate, criticise and hijack our thinking when we feel threatened!

Yep I’m talking about our Inner Critic – that part of us that jumps into high alert when we perceive something that feels unsafe out there in the wide world.

What’s most important about our Inner Critic, is that s/he does serve a purpose. His/her role is to keep us safe; to stop us feeling shame and there’s a great description of it in this TED talk by Steve Chapman.

It’s never easy to sit with clients who are under the influence their Inner Critic. I listen as people talk about themselves in unkind, judgmental and sometimes downright pejorative ways, and it’s hard to hear. I often feel that I’m the one who’s feeling righteous indignation for the small person within my client who’s feeling under attack!

 In his talk Chapman talks about his Inner Critic as; “just part of being a self-aware, self-regulating fully functional, creative human being.” So we can’t eliminate it and fighting against it only seems to make us feel worse. 

Chapman talks about learning to dance with it, rather than fight our Inner Critic and one way to gain greater acceptance is to develop a greater understanding of what it needs. To recognise that fear’s probably behind the intensity of the criticism. That our Inner Critic is a much younger version of ourselves that’s scared and who’s view of the world is based on a more childlike view of the world.

Getting to know your own Inner Critic can help you to recognise when s/he’s triggered and find ways to live with them; as Chapman puts it “like that irritating flatmate that you put up with because they pay the rent.”

They’re aren’t any quick easy ways to improve the relationship that you have with your Inner Critic, but there are a number of things that you can do to understand him/her and work with, rather than against them.

If you’d like to do some work on this for yourself, I’d encourage you to have a look at the video above and check out “Embracing your Inner Critic” by Stone & Stone. 

I’ve also created a short “how to” guide to getting to know it and some tips for working with it. Drop me a message if you’d like one of those.

If you’re ready to delve deeper and would like to work with me to find fresh ways of coping with your own Inner Critic, you know what to do! 

Call, email or message me and we can have an initial discovery call to explore what you’re looking for.  

#gillparkin #coaching #counselling #psychotherapy #innercritic