Tame Your Inner Critic

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In his book Resilient, psychologist and mindfulness teacher Rick Hanson explains that to tame your inner critic, you must push back against it. As soon as you recognize the inner critic kicking in, “make a fundamental choice about whether you want to join with it and believe it, or instead separate from it and doubt it.”

Hanson recommends creating an entire “caring committee” to serve as your inner nurturer, composed of people and even fictional characters who represent various kinds of support and wisdom. When the inner critic offers up some unhelpful opinion — for example, “You’re not very good at this” — imagine members of this caring committee rallying in your defense. 

Let your caring committee challenge and talk back to the inner critic on your behalf. For example:

  • “That is not a helpful statement and I don’t have to listen to it.”
  • “So what if you think that? It doesn’t mean it’s true.”
  • “I’m doing my best, and with time and practice I’m certain to become even better.”

Remember that the inner critic is just a voice, and not necessarily a credible voice. Use your mindful awareness to ally yourself with your caring committee; as they stick up for you, allow yourself to feel the soothing and calming.

By Cynthia Knapp Dlugosz

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