Do you have an inner score card that mercilessly points out and tallies up every misstep you take? What does that voice or thought inside your head sound like? What would it look like if you were to animate it? Is it even possible for you to become aware of it as a separate aspect of you or has it become such a part of your life that it is as routine and unconscious as breathing?
Lots to think about in these questions as you start to identify – your Inner Critic!
The Critic’s relentless running commentary can be both destructive and exhausting because it partners with that part of you that has been taught you must be ‘perfect’. The following excerpt from a book entitled Embracing Your Inner Critic by Drs. Hal and Sidra Stone who are the founders of a world-renown process, Voice Dialogue (www.voicedialogueinternational.com) clarifies the hold that your Inner Critic has over you and how it affects so much of your life:
“The Inner Critic makes you feel dreadful about yourself. With your Inner Critic watching your every move, you become self-conscious, awkward and ever more fearful about making a mistake. You may even stop trying because the Critic tells you that you are going about things all wrong and will undoubtedly fail. Although, underneath all of this, the Critic may want you to be so perfect that you will not fail, its effect is to block any attempts you might make.
The Inner Critic kills your creativity. How can you possibly try anything new or different when you know that you will do something wrong?
The Inner Critic, on an inner level, is the source of low self-esteem. How can you possibly feel good about yourself when you have a voice inside of you that is telling you non-stop, what is wrong with you?
The Inner Critic is a source of shame. It is constantly telling you about what is wrong with you. It finds every aspect of the natural “you” unsatisfactory, and it is relentlessly trying to change everything. There is no part of you that can avoid its piercing gaze – even the depths of your feelings, dreams and impulses that you might be able to hide from the outside world.
The Inner Critic can make you depressed. If your Critic is running your life without any balance coming in from elsewhere, its constant barrage of criticism can be extremely debilitating and discouraging. This can lead to physical and psychological exhaustion and depression.”
You have the power to move beyond the crushing and authoritarian voice that is your Inner Critic. When you begin to recognise its presence, by sound and feel, you can make the choice to not listen to its destructive declarations. By doing so, you are able to create a more equal relationship with your critic that has appropriate boundaries and that allows you to embrace the more constructive aspects of it in your life.
Be well, Breathe deeply,