Coming back to life through the Inner Critic
Recognizing that there is an inner critic, a voice in your mind, putting you down or praising you, is the first step to loosening the ties that bind you. I don’t use the word “bind” lightly. If you consciously contemplate the thoughts telling you what you should do, or how you should be, what do you experience?
When you think about the things that make you feel alive – what do you notice? Are your experiences allowed to be there, or does a judgement arise about this too?
When our liveliness hasn’t been honoured, or supported it can be difficult to recognise it as a navigational tool.
Naturally, as you grow up you have a relationship with the carers, educators and other important influences in your life. Are you aware of the type of relationships you had to adjust to? Was there a lot of criticism and/or commentary on how you looked and what you did? Perhaps you were praised for everything you did, and don’t really know anymore what your qualities are.
Autonomy and authenticity
How can you feel autonomous and authentic again? I don’t have universal answers to that question, but I do know how to help you to explore in a way that allows more room/spaciousness for who you truly are. Life is not something to be lived by following someone else’s rules, or believing what they say about you.
Reaching out and shame
One of the saddest elements of an inner critic attack is the presence of shame. Just when you need kindness and support, there can be so much shame that reaching out is the last thing you feel able to do. The inner critic doesn’t just keep you small, but continues to protect you from the criticism you were unable to bear as a child. It protects the child and feeds the belief that you do not have the resources to deal with something.
Healing and boundaries
The non-judgemental presence of another can help you explore your fears and give insight into why you had to protect yourself the way you did.
As awareness grows, pain and anger may come to the surface.
These are not emotions to be squashed or belittled but can also be used as navigational tools to feel where your boundaries are. It is through relationships that heal instead of harm that you can learn how to value yourself again. Sometimes it can help to realise that you were not born with shame.
Contact and group work
If you recognize any of these things and would like support to explore what makes you come alive, and what cramps your impulse to live please feel welcome to phone, 0657346599 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Exploring the workings of the inner critic in a group can be scary to start with, and I spend time with the group discovering what will create a safe enough atmosphere. One of the benefits of group work is the recognition it can afford, and the opportunity to feel supported, sometimes just by watching and listening to others exploring their difficulties.
A description of the course can be found here.