Do you have a strong inner critic? Many people do. In fact, some of my clients say their inner critic is constantly chattering inside their head! A strong inner critic can often make anxiety and depression worse, and holds you back from being the confident, vibrant person you were born to be. This article will help you understand how to transform your inner critic into your inner coach through self-love.
“A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong.”
The Surprising Power Of Love
Self-love is powerful and can transform even our darkest parts, such as the inner critic, into something beautiful. This idea may conjure up some skepticism, but evidence shows time and again that it is true. Here’s why. We are social creatures. We are wired for connection and belonging. We need each other, because for a long time in human history, isolation meant death. This is why rejection and loneliness hurt so bad.
We have a need for connection and acceptance our whole lives, from age 0 to 99. We develop little wounds when we don’t get it, whether it be from teachers, society, social media, peers, best friends, partners, parents, and most of all, ourselves.
Lack of love and acceptance, from self or others, can lead to feeling unworthy, low confidence, fear of rejection, an inner critic, or many other things. But the very thing we lack – love – is the very thing we can use to heal.
The Parts Of You Who Need Love The Most
It can be easy to love the parts of ourselves we like, such as the parts of us that are intelligent, ambitious, impressive, or passionate.
But often the parts of us that need love the most are the ones who never get it, such as the parts of us that feel unworthy, and even the parts of us that are most cruel to us, like the inner critic.
The True Motivation Behind Your Inner Critic
Although it may seem like your inner critic is trying to ruin your life, I’m going to put a different spin on it. Your inner critic is not there to beat you up or sabotage you. And trying to banish or ignore it simply doesn’t work. If you’ve tried to do that, you know it doesn’t help.
Actually, in its own way, your inner critic is just trying to help you. I know this may be hard to believe at first, but I’ve realized that this is always true for my clients when we get down to the heart of the issue. In fact, I’m willing to bet your inner critic probably believes it’s making you a better person through tough love.
This means that the guy that’s beating you up all the time is like a tough coach who is trying to make you better. He is trying his best, but maybe he’s just misinformed and doesn’t realize the damage he is doing until you tell him.
Making Friends With Your Inner Critic
Your inner critic is in your head whether you like it or not. As the old adage says, it is better to catch flies with honey than vinegar.The good news is that it’s possible to communicate with and become friends with your inner critic, so that you can become a team.
Next time you hear your inner critic getting loud, instead of listening to his messages and believing them, ignoring him, or criticizing him back, see if you can take a step back, listen to his concerns, and send him love. The interesting thing is that when you send love towards your inner critic, it might stop being so hard on you. See if your inner critic is willing to shift his strategy from “tough love” to cheering you on. You never know, you may turn your biggest foe into your best ally.
From Inner Critic To Inner Coach
Imagine what your life would be like if your inner critic was your biggest fan instead of your worst critic. How would your life be different if you had your own coach inside of your head, instead of a critic beating you down all the time? What would change for you?
Noticing when your inner critic speaks up, knowing what to say back to him, and befriending him can transform your life. But it can also be challenging to know how to do it on your own. Sometimes the inner critic doesn’t want to cooperate, or you can feel afraid of it. That’s okay. In this case, it can be useful to get help.
I am a psychotherapist in Saint Louis, MO. I love helping young people learn to work with their inner critic, so they can end the inner war inside their head, feel more confident, and feel more comfortable in their own skin.
I do this through an evidence-based, fun, imaginative method called Internal Family Systems. If you want my help to work with your inner critic, please feel free to schedule a free 20-minute consult call with me. I would love to help you on your path to more inner harmony.