I have grown up with a harsh inner voice that easily and readily reminded me that I was not clever enough to study certain subjects at university, not interesting enough to be loved long term in a relationship and somehow always saying the wrong thing in order to be fully loved and accepted by others.
Does that sound familiar in any way?
I believe it is exactly that critical inner voice which led me towards the work that I now do as a compassionate and authentic relating coach. As I became obsessed with learning how to listen to myself and others with compassion and at the same time to meet my inner power, my purpose, my own inner guiding light.
In a recent podcast with my dear friend and Mindfulness Coach, Andy Hix, we delved into the inner critic as a guiding force. We explored how this voice can either paralyze you in pain or, through compassionate listening, become a wellspring of wisdom.
Start Translating Your Inner Critic into a Language of Inner Wisdom:
Understanding the Inner Critic:
That relentless inner voice loves to whisper judgments, inducing shame and fear. Andy, being the mindfulness maestro he is, suggests a simple yet profound approach – transform that critical voice into one that's kinder and more compassionate.
Simple Exercises for Befriending Your Inner Critic:
Acknowledge the Feeling:
Let's begin by recognizing any discomfort or shame. Andy recommends that we practice Acknowledging and accepting the suffering – as a powerful first step.
Recognize Common Humanity:
Shift your lens by understanding that everyone faces challenges and makes mistakes. This perspective can shift the isolating grip of feeling shame and guilt.
Show Kindness Towards Yourself:
Practice self-compassion through physical touch. Place your hands on your chest, offering a comforting connection. Verbally affirm, "May I accept myself" – self-love and kindness is developed in this repetition of assurance.
Letting Go Technique:
Recognize and allow your emotions to be there for as long as you need. Transforming difficult emotions often happens when we allow ourselves to feel them fully, and understand the ephemerality of our feelings, connecting them with the universality of the human experience.
For a deep dive into these practices and a rich discussion on mindfulness and compassionate communication, check out the full podcast episode. Andy and I navigate the intricacies of transforming our personal inner critics into allies, offering practical tools that you can try out, for a more compassionate and connected way of speaking to yourself.
Befriending your inner critic is a journey toward mindful self-compassion. Through simple exercises and the recognition of our shared human experiences, you can learn to truely cultivate a kinder inner dialogue. Befriending your inner critic can become a reliable source of grounding and supporting you to move towards your goals and dreams, paving the way for a mindful and empowered life in connection with yourself, others, and the world around you.
So, take a deep breath, hit play, and let's embark on this beautiful journey together. Head over to the podcast episode and take in the full conversation. Here's to kindness, connection, and the magic of befriending your inner critic! 🌟
IF you like what you hear on this episode and read in this txt, Andy and I will be hosting a weekend retreat in London in February and again in March 2024, where we bring together the magic of mindfulness and authentic relating, to support you to transform your inner and outer critics into a language of wisdom and connection.