Show it some understanding and fulfil its basic need to be seen and heard and respected, and you will have someone quite different in front of you, an ally even.
Of course I don’t enjoy self-criticism and it can indeed be very destructive - but only when we don’t question it and let it slip past our self-awareness radar and take it as the truth about ourselves.
What I found instead is that the Inner Critic’s messages sometimes have a grain of truth in them - and we would miss out on that information if we got rid of it completely. If you make a mistake - you do want to know it, so you can repair it and/or learn from it for the future, right? But you also don't want to be stopped from ever trying something challenging again, I assume.
So we don’t want to shut the Inner Critic down - we want to calm it down. Make it feel safe, and that it can trust us to run our life well.
The transformation begins the moment you start to accept the Critic as a part of you, once you’re willing to listen to what it has to say and embrace it rather than push it away. Why does it do what it does? Who did it learn from? What does it ultimately want for you and your life?
You will discover that instead of malice there is a deep anxiety at its core, concern for you not doing well in the world. It’s terribly worried that without its constant prodding, you will fail, and be hurt, or destroyed.
It’s just not seeing that the way it’s trying to control your actions is already hurting you.
The Inner Critic is like a well-meaning friend with a terrible way of getting their message across.
So you have to be the wiser here. Show compassion to yourself by accepting all of yourself, including the Critic, and it will transform.
Because this is the aim - to transform our Critic into a constructive ally. We all know how invaluable feedback is for us to keep growing and evolving, but to be effective it needs to be kind. And our Inner Critic, once turned a supportive ally, can be a source of really valuable feedback.
I hope this has inspired you to start seeing your Inner Critic in a new way, getting curious about it, and hopeful that you can co-exist in a symbiotic relationship. It is possible to end the inner conflict and feel supported in living courageously instead of held back at every turn.
I'm curious to hear what your experience with your Inner Critic has been. And how soon do you think it can become your ally?