You have heard that critical voice in your head too often. It is demanding. It is impatient. It is demeaning of self and others. It is loud and obnoxious. This demeaning voice is the voice of the inner critic. Your goal is to move from hearing your inner critic to inner coach.
The inner critic is part of your ego that wants to keep you safe. If you did not have your ego when you were a child you would not have survived. The trouble begins when you become an adult and are not conscious of how this voice within you is holding you back.
Instead of attacking your inner critic it is more useful to befriend it. To let this part of yourself know how thankful you are that it desires to keep you safe. You need to reassure it that as an adult you are most capable of making choices that will keep you healthy and safe.
As you befriend your inner critic, it will begin to quiet down.
Learn more about how your Enneagram type impacts the voice of your inner critic: Click Here.
Here are fifteen steps to help you quiet your inner critic and claim your inner coach
1. Quiet your mind:
An excellent place to start is to find some practice to relax your mind. You need to see what works for you. You may discover meditation a helpful exercise. There are many ways to meditate.
It can be as simple as taking a few minutes in silence. As your mind likes to think it can help to have a mantra (a word or phrase) that enables you to quiet your mind. You can also focus on your breath.
There are excellent apps for both Android and Apple that offer you many forms of guided meditations. The one I like is called Insight Timer.
Yoga is another excellent way to quiet your mind. It not only helps you to calm your mind, but it also helps you to become more aware of your body. All of these take practice. It helps you to move from hearing the voice of the inner critic to the voice of the inner coach.
There are many other ways to quiet your mind which includes gardening, listening to music, singing, dancing, walking, and even cooking.
Most of all be patient. It is normal for our mind to think. When you are in the midst of practice, and your brain tries to interfere you need to bring yourself back to inner peace gently.
Try not to get upset with yourself. Just acknowledge that your mind has gotten busy and with visualization, breath work or a mantra quiet your mind. It doesn’t matter how many times you have to do it. It is all okay.
The goal of meditation is not to empty your mind. It is more like watching the credits of a movie going by in your head without getting caught up in the details. When you catch yourself attaching to a thought just let it go through meditation or prayer.
2. Show yourself compassion:
Making changes in your life is never easy. When you can be compassionate towards yourself change is much more comfortable.
Be kind to yourself as you are just starting to become aware of attitudes, habits and fears that have got in the way of your life for a long time. It takes patience, self-love and a sense of humour to change our story and build healthier habits.
3. Get plenty of rest:
The world always feels more hopeful and friendly after getting good sleep.
At the beginning of your transformation from inner critic to inner coach takes energy as you practice new ways of being. Over time you will begin to experience more strength as you let go of the power that has been holding you back.
4. Become an observer of self:
As you get more rested and learn to quiet your mind, you will become more aware of what is happening within you and around you.
In the beginning, it may feel like a shock. You may feel intense feelings, sensations in your body and thoughts in your head that you have tried to hide for many years. When you ever you feel something intense it is helpful to take a few deep breaths, breathing into the areas of your body where you are feeling distressed.
With time and practice these intense feelings, sensations and thoughts will lose their power over you.
5. Pay attention to the conversations in your head:
With practice you will begin to notice when your true self is speaking (inner coach) and when your inner critic is speaking. Remember your inner critic is harsh, loud, demeaning, and impatient as compared to the voice of your true self which is gentle, patient, calm and loving.
As you become increasingly self-aware, the negative voice of your inner critic will get quieter and quieter.
6. Practice self-forgiveness:
You are human. You are imperfect. Imperfection is the way it is. You often learn a lot through the mistakes you make.
What expectations do you have of yourself? Are they reasonable? If they are not reasonable, let them go.
The more you can forgive yourself the less stress you will experience.
Learn to become your best friend. As you forgive yourself, you will have more and more energy to share with the world.
7. Learn what your strengths are:
You have strengths! You can do many things. You have the natural ability to do certain jobs and tasks. When you are doing that you love to do, it does not even feel like work.
You among many assume that if it is easy for you it must be easy for everyone else. We have different abilities, so this is not true. You might love talking to people you never met. Talking to strangers might even energize you! But for some others, this would be very difficult and take great energy.
Claim your gifts and use them to the best of your ability. Look for work that provides opportunities for you to do that.
8. Don’t be afraid to shine:
You are here on earth to shine! Choose activities and relationships in your life that bring out the best in you.
Just be your exuberant, joyful self. Joy is contagious!
Don’t be afraid to share how awesome life is. Most people will be very happy for you. Your enthusiasm for life will encourage others to find that in themselves.
There is enough joy in the world for everyone to experience it; your inner coach knows this.
9. Remind yourself on a daily basis that you are a person worthy of love and respect:
Your inner critic will tell you off on stressful days. With practice, you will learn to notice when your inner critic is talking. Acknowledge it thanking your inner critic for trying to keep you safe and ask it to trust your adult self.
It doesn’t hurt to leave some quotes/images around your house that remind you that you are worthy of being alive on planet earth.
Use one of your positive quotes as a mantra to help you to feel this inner love in your body and heart.
10. Allow yourself to dream:
To be human is to dream. What are your goals? How do you desire to serve the world? Don’t allow your inner critic to get in your way.
Remember when your inner critic is trying to stop you it is because it wants you to stay safe. It wants you to stay with the tried and true. The trouble is that you will never risk anything to try something new if you listen to your inner critic.
Instead of saying no to your dreams, take small steps towards making it happen. Ask for help. Read a book. Register for a course. The more actions you take, the more confidence you will feel.
You can do it!
11. Hang out with friends and family who believe in you:
The people you hang out with can make a difference. They can either inspire and encourage us or silence and stifle us.
Are your friends excited to see you grow and change? Can they get beyond the image they had of you when you were much younger? If not you may want to find new friends.
12. Pay attention to your three brains (belly center, heart center and head center):
Yes, you have three brains. You, of course, have the head brain but equally important you have the heart and belly center brains.
When your mind is quiet, you have access to the universe.
When your heart is open, you have access to the wisdom of your emotions.
When your belly (body) center is open, you have access to your intuition that also guides you in making the best decisions possible.
When you have access to all three of your brains, you will make the best decisions for your life and for those you love. It is wisdom we all are given, but the majority of us don’t use it well.
13. Slow down:
If you want to get in touch with your heart and body, you need to slow down. It is often scary for you to slow down because it gets us in touch with some intense feelings and sensations we have been trying to avoid by staying busy.
A good way for you to explore your inner life is through journaling with narrative, images, words, poetry and art. With practice, you will find direction for your life that will take you to good places that you never dreamed were possible.
15. Practice radical gratitude:
Practicing radical gratitude has the power to transform your attitude. Name what you are thankful for every day. There are always things to be grateful for. It is hard to be angry, depressed and hopeless when you are feeling thankful.
Learn more about how the Enneagram can help to tame your inner critic: Click Here
All of the suggestions I have given you are tools to help you stay in touch with your inner guidance system. It will help you to listen for your true self and quiet down the inner critic.
Using these spiritual practices every day can help you to live your best life possible. It will help you to move through times of adversity and genuinely celebrate the good times.
It will help you to name your dreams and make them happen.
It will help you to be your authentic self. It will help you to attract people in your life who will inspire and encourage you.
It will help you to know how you can be of service to the world and how you can make that happen.
Finally, it will move your attention from your inner critic to inner coach who will guide you faithfully throughout your life.
I am, Roland Legge a Life Coach here to help you change that voice in your head from inner critic to inner coach. You can join my private newsletter list for Free Monthly Advice and get Your Free Enneagram Test and sign up for a Free 30 Minute Discovery Call with me in my Accuity Scheduling Calendar.