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Quieting the Inner Critic

It would be rare for me to work with a client for any length of time and not have the inner critic come up.

You know the one I mean: that nagging voice inside of you who is never satisfied. 

“Why did you say that? You sounded so stupid. I bet everyone is laughing at you.” “This won’t work out for you, nothing works out the way you want it to.” “You’re not smart enough to get that job, you haven’t worked hard enough. They’ll probably give it to someone else.” “No wonder you don’t have a boyfriend, not with all that weight you need to lose”. 

And on and on and on it goes. Sound somewhat familiar? 

For many people, the inner critic is a constant presence, analysing, doubting and finding fault with everything they do. An unchecked inner critic can fuel anxiety, depression and low self esteem. An unchecked inner critic can ruin relationships, prevent authentic connection and stifle your ability to take risks.

If you have goals and dreams you want to realise – even if that goal is simply a peaceful calm mind – the inner critic must be navigated. 

So how to do you begin to navigate it?

Firstly, get to know it’s voice. Become clear on the kinds of things the inner critic says, so that you recognise that voice as a separate entity to you. You are the one listening to that voice, you are not the voice! That is an important distinction, so you are not fully identified with that voice. You need to increase your awareness of it so it isn’t running unchecked in the background. Journalling can be a useful way to do this, or meeting your inner critic in hypnosis or guided meditation. 

Secondly, once you have gotten to know the inner critic, and realised you are separate from this voice, begin to question it. Is what it is saying even true? Is there another way to see this situation? Look for the external evidence and other possible perspectives rather than just accepting it’s conclusions.

Does that voice remind you of anyone? For a lot of people, the inner critic is an internalisation of the voice of one of their parents or early caregivers. It is helpful to understand where the voice came from, but we don’t need to demonise the inner critic. After all, it’s main aim is to keep you safe by keeping you small, but we do need to recognise that what might have developed as a survival mechanism when you were young, is now seriously holding you back.

Thirdly, cultivate the voice of the Inner Champion. The inner champion is supportive, encouraging, loving and wise. You can deliberately call upon this part of you. Give her more air time. As you look for her words of support, she will grow louder and stronger, until it becomes second nature to speak kindly to yourself. This is an incredibly powerful internal shift that will have a rippling effect throughout your life. 

You can still make changes, aim for high standards and accomplish big goals while being kind to yourself! It is an absolute myth that you need a critical voice inside to keep you in line. A balanced, and reasonable voice is far more productive and conducive to good mental health. 

Remember that this is a process, and it can take some time.

If you would like some help quieting the voice of the inner critic and fostering the inner champion, feel free to reach out. Hypnotherapy is an effective way to access those deeper parts of you and make some deep internal shifts. 

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