Updated: Jul 31, 2021
In order to survive in our stressful and busy world, we often employ something called an "inner critic." Our inner critic is somewhat akin to what Freud called the "Superego" (our relational image of what the world expects of us). Perhaps it's the voice/image of a parent/peer who was extra critical of our shortcomings. Either way, our inner critic is an effective tool which helps motivate us to perform.
But sometimes, it's not very helpful. Our unconscious pattern of criticizing ourselves for not being perfect can be, well, excessive; and can even change our perception of ourselves and the world around us.
While our inner critic can be a helpful passenger, it is important that we are in the drivers seat of our life. Something that helps us take back control is by practicing something called "Self-Compassion." Instead of mercilessly judging and criticizing yourself for various inadequacies or shortcomings, self-compassion means you are kind and understanding when confronted with personal failings.
Dr. Kristin Neff, self-compassion expert says:
"With self-compassion we mindfully accept that the moment is painful, and embrace ourselves with kindness and care in response, remembering that imperfection is part of the shared human experience. This allows us to hold ourselves in love and connection, giving ourselves the support and comfort needed to bear the pain, while providing the optimal conditions for growth and transformation."
As a therapist, one of the ways that I work is by facilitating a safe space for you to come back to yourself in order to mindfully create balance between you and your inner critic. In other words, we put our inner critic in it's place. If your tired of your inner critic taking over, I invite you to book a free consultation with me!
In the meantime, check out these great resources for self-compassion:
And here is a wonderful meditation/poem by Dr. Hillary McBride:
Do you have any feedback/questions on this article? Feel free to leave a comment and let me know. I'd love to continue learning with you :)