Befriend Your Inner Critic

03/12/2015 11:43 am ET | Updated May 12, 2015
Thomas Barwick via Getty Images

Remember the last time life threw you a curve ball and put you in a situation that didn't make sense? What happened? Did you get upset, complain and resist? Or did you trust the journey and continue moving forward?

If you're anything like me, you've followed several paths, some were successful and some were huge flops. The successes would put me on a high and the failures forced me into a hibernation hole.

Life felt like a crazy roller coaster ride! The highs and lows were not only stressful and exhausting but they also zapped my creativity.

Then something changed. There were still highs and lows (there always are) but I was now in control of the ride. My eyes were open, hands in the air, hair flying, and I was screaming with joy... the ride was finally enjoyable.

How did this happen?

When I finally took a minute to slow down, stop doing, and start observing, I saw that I wasn't in control of my life. The reigns had been taken over by my inner critic, the little voice inside that never seems to shut up and only gets louder when you ignore it.

We all have this little voice, it reflects our fears and insecurities, it questions our actions, it mocks us and judges us, and if allowed, it takes over our life.

What is this little beast within after? The inner critic loves distraction; and is always looking to go out and play especially when you are trying to sit still and finish the task at hand.

Rather than face my inner critic, and take steps to move forward I'd retreat and fall in love with distractions disguised as necessities like eating out, social engagements, the hot new T.V. series, and work. It was typical inner critic behavior at play.

When I slowed down to the point of stillness and stopped reacting to my situation I was able to identify and befriend my inner critic. With my inner critic on my side it stopped being so loud and let go of the reigns on my life. I was back in control and I started to ride the waves of life without getting carried away.

How do you befriend your inner critic? Here are three simple steps to get you started.

1. Identify. and write down what the inner critic is saying without any judgment. You may notice questions and feelings like "are you sure you want to do that?" or "It's not good enough". Writing these thoughts down will stop them from spiraling in your head, you may also notice how silly the questions sounds when you see them or say them out loud.

2. Be in action. The inner critic usually shows up when you are trying to do something big, bold, and scary. It is scared, and would rather retreat. Acknowledge this and keep moving forward, do the next step regardless of how small the step is.

3. Practice compassion. Life has its highs and lows. And it's often hard to see the highs when you're in the lows. Experience both spectrums with love and compassion. Rather than finding ways to distract yourself from the lows, try sitting in stillness for 5 minutes notice the low and then imagine the next high that will soon be there.

Know that the inner critic won't ever go away, and as with most things the more you resist the more it will persist. The key is to accept the inner critic, embrace it, acknowledge it and then keep moving forward.

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