"Each person's life is like a mandala - a vast, limitless circle. We stand in the center of our own circle, and everything we see, hear and think forms the mandala of our life."
The inner critic, or inner judge is a structure within each human being that sooner or later we will have to deal with in our journey towards more wholeness and inner freedom. As the title reveals this post will show you 9 ways to let go of your inner critic, which involves being aware of the inner critic, recognizing it's incessant messages, becoming able to let go of it and to start recognizing how easy it is to become productive and healthy without a constant nagging voice in the background of your mind.
Wen I was younger my mother used to say to me, whenever I had to say something a little deeper than the ordinary wisdom, "you haven't eaten the wisdom with spoons". It was her way of saying to me that I better stick to being a young person, having little or no wisdom within myself.
Low and behold, as I am writing and starting this blog my whole interest is all about wisdom. I want to know how the mind works, why it works the way it does, why people connect to wisdom more deeply and in a sustained way than others, why wisdom is not related to age and more...
So here is some of my wisdom, I gained over the years
1. Start paying attention to your inner experience
This may seem simple, but in actuality most of us do not know how to connect within and pay attention to our feelings, thoughts and emotions. It is important to make time for moments of mindful attention and to consciously breathe throughout the day.
2. Begin noticing and distinguish inner voices
Ok, I know for some of us this is a scary thought, yet the inner critic most often manifests as inner voices, or inner dialogue. At first this may not be conscious, and we may have a vague guilty feeling, but if we pay focused attention to our inner landscape we will find that we have common themes with which we continuously berate and attack ourselves in order to (what we believe) live our life.
3. Develop compassion and inner loving kindness
Some of us will approach change of the inner critic from the perspective of the inner critic. "Why haven't I still gotten rid of this feeling? Why Am I still suffering? Why can't I get this?..." or some of the mean and nasty ways we let ourselves know that we better be more. If we develop compassion we can be more kind to ourselves and be aware of the insensitivity we have towards our own life situation.
4. Disidentify from the critic and the door will open
One of the best ways to let go of the inner critic is to stop rationalizing with it, or attacking others instead, or to simply withdraw and shut down. Instead let yourself feel the impact it has on your life and learn to be more than the inner critic. To start with keep track of your inner critic attacking you and keep a journal so that you can find out more specifically when and how you attack yourself, and why.
5. Believe that you can get motivated without beating yourself up
You may ask: "If I don't have a voice telling me what to do and not to do, how will I know what to do?" It will shift into a more immediate direct sense of what is important and relevant to you. You may connect to your values and find ways to be present and engage with what you truly love.
6. Become comfortable with not knowing
Most of us are uncomfortable with not knowing. We cannot tolerate a small gap of uncertainty and try frantically to cover it up with known things. We make sure uncertainty never creeps into our experience. And the inner critic maintains this status quo. It is the overseer of all things known and habitual. It is not only the reason why people don't change, but also what crushes our creativity, independence and freedom.
7. Overcome the fear of not doing things right
The inner critic with it's standards, usually past standards, is the overseer of what is done correctly or not. Anytime we take a step out of line, it will get activated, and if the inner image of how we have to be doesn't match what is actually up for us, it criticizes us. Becoming less depended on the inner critic, means standing up for ourselves and being courageous.
8. Being alone (without the voice) doesn't mean you are abandoned
I have seen many times people becoming aware of the inner critic, and even though it is very difficult for them and makes life impossible, there is a reason people hold on for dear life, when it comes to transforming the inner critic. People believe that they will be alone, and this aloneness threatens the transformative threshold in their journey towards overcoming the inner critic.
9. You don't have to live your life according to standards from the past
Well, this one might seem easy, yet our perceptions are carried around and are a filter to the possibilities and potential of who we are. It is this that makes you still find yourself in the same old pattern even if you have crossed the continent. It takes courage and deep inner questions to embrace a life that unfolds each moment, rather then it being a version of people that have gone long before.
After reading the 9 ways, I trust you enjoyed what you read. I will post 5 more ways to work with the inner critic - 5 Tips To Work With The Inner Critic on this blog. Receive updates to my blog and subscribe by e-mail or via rss.