My inner critic has become my best friend. I hear you questioning me…wondering how that could be. I’ve even written posts in the past about shutting up that inner critic…that inner mean girl. I’ve said it’s time to fire her…tell her to get lost. But then I realized something that made all the difference in the world.
She’s not going anywhere. No matter how much work I do on myself, she will probably always be with me because she’s my best friend. She only speaks up because she cares. She doesn’t have the tools necessary to do so in a different way that might be more productive but she truly cares. She wants me to have a healthy and happy life. She speaks up about me being too sedentary because she’s worried about my health. She criticizes me for allowing someone to treat me poorly because she wants me to have healthy relationships with healthy boundaries. She screams at me when I procrastinate around things that really need to be taken care of because she knows how much anxiety this causes in my life and how detrimental anxiety is to my soul. She truly cares like a best friend…she just lacks those tools to go about it differently.
What I’d like from a friend is words that are filled with love and understanding and encouragement. So I’ve decided to practice the golden rule and be that friend to my inner critic. Whenever she speaks up, I’m going to remind myself she’s doing so because I have needs that are unmet and she wants me to be happy. She cares enough about me to speak her truth. I’ll thank her for the concern she has for my well-being and for being willing to speak up. And then I’ll move into strategies that get me going in the right direction…taking responsibility for my choices and then taking action to move me in the direction I need to go.
As soon as I practice compassion for my inner critic, the anxiety and stress I feel subsides. I begin to experience self-compassion and am able to move forward. Try this exercise:
- Put your arms out in front of you.
- Clench your fists as hard has you can. (inner critic speaking up)
- Release your clenched fists. (thanking your inner critic)
- Now place both of your hands gently over your heart. (moving into self-compassion)
The actions above actually create a physical response that aligns with our emotional state. The clenching, the unclenching and then the physical touch. Physical touch releases oxytocin, reduces cortisol and dissipates cardiovascular stress. And from this space, you can now move into actions that are loving and supportive to you and the life you deserve to live.
Are you willing to be your inner critic’s best friend?