Do you struggle with a critical voice inside your head? You know the one that tells you, you are not good enough, successful enough or strong enough? Often this voice runs along in the background affecting the choices we make, stopping us from meeting our goals and doing the things that help us feel happier and more fulfilled. However, having this inner critic is not the problem. The problem is that we believe everything this voice is telling as if it were the truth. As Eckhart Tolle says
“Every fragment of self-talk is a little story in the head that goes around, and then you look at reality through the lens of the little story. “
You may have tried ignoring the voice or getting cross with it, but neither of these usually works. Strangely the best thing to do is to get to know your inner critic and how it’s impacting you. Mindfulness can help you to do this. By pausing and tuning into this inner voice and the impact it has on you, you can start to feel more compassion for yourself.
So next time you are in the grip of your inner critic try these simple steps:
- Pause and tune into your present moment experience – thoughts, emotions, sensations and urges.
- If it feels a bit overwhelming take a few moments to steady yourself by tuning in to your breathing.
- Once you feel steadier try acknowledging how you feel right now e.g. jittery, scared or frustrated and how all of this feels in your body. Allowing whatever is present to be there without judgement.
- As you notice the discomfort you are experiencing, start to bring compassion and kindness to yourself, just as you would to a friend in distress. As you do this, start to soften around any emotional or physical tension you may be experiencing.