In just about every therapy session, at some point, I meet my client's Inner Critic. Sometimes she subtle. Sometimes she's mean and unrelenting. Whatever way she shows up, she is saying, "No."
No, it's not ok to believe something good about yourself.
No, it's not ok to be kind to yourself.
No, it's not true that you are worthy.
No, it's not ok for your to make a mistake, to be imperfect, to forgive yourself, to believe that you just might be ok.
My clients want to know what to do with this voice. How do I make it go away? How do I stop believing it? How do I convince myself that these things she are not true?
Don't I need to make her go away in order to feel better?
At this point, we do something crazy.
We welcome this voice and we thank her.
Yes, we welcome her and we thank her.
This Inner Critic or judge or self-aggressive meany is actually trying to be helpful. She is an old protector trying to give warning that it might be dangerous to relax, to be, to feel good. She doesn't want us to get hurt.
So, we thank her. After all, she's been working hard, day-in and day-out for a lot of years keeping us safe from rejection (we rejected us first), from failure (we just didn't even try), from judgement (we judge ourselves to "keep us motivated").
We recognize her hard work and thank her for her service. And then we let her know that she can take a break now because Self-Compassion has the talking stick for a while. Inner Critic will surely have the floor again, but we know well what she has to say. She is not rejected, just invited to have a seat while Self-Compassion tries out her new voice and we practice feeling a little good, a little comforted, a little validated, a little ok.
So, the next time your Inner Critic has a lot to say, thank her for her service and invite her to take a little break, so Self-Compassion can have a turn.
As a therapist, mother, daughter, partner, and seeker, I am always on the journey toward a more peaceful, authentic life. I hope to share knowledge, insights, and the ongoing unknowns I find along the path...