“How else, other than criticism can you pay attention to yourself?”
The Critic finds malicious joy in making you small. That’s the harsh truth.
She is often seen in other people, but nowhere is she as merciless as within yourself: Regardless of the consequences, she rubs your nose in your faults, blames and accuses you: “You should do more“, “What you do is senseless, foolish and childish“ “Don’t be so lazy“, “You aren’t looking as good as…” and “You will never achieve this ‘cause you don’t have the skills/endurance/self-confidence…“ are some of the sentences she most loves throwing in your face. Very often, this is already so normal to us that we don’t even notice anymore how much we criticise ourselves and others.
The Critic’s best friend is the Perfectionist, with whom she forms a really strong team. Whenever they appear, be sure that you are dealing with something you really care for. If these two show up, you’d better develop a way of abandoning them. Or stand tall, say your opinion straight in their faces, and then try to give them empathy. Indeed, empathy might be the best medicine for the Critic: I really hear you and your concerns. What is the good will and the intention behind the accusations?
*What are the sentences you let your inner critic blame you with? Can you identify the good will behind?
*Spontaneously: When do you mainly criticise others?
Criticism has a function in you. Learn when your (inner) Critic gets active. Perform this exercise for a week where you keep a journal about the details of when and how you are criticising others and yourself.
When you notice the voice of the Critic in you or when you are expressing criticism to others. Hold on for a minute and go through this procedure: “How do I feel right now? Hello, feeling of…., welcome.” Hold the feeling in your presence and just feel it. After a while, notice which thoughts arise when you feel this feeling. Make notes afterwards.
After the week go through your notes and seek traces and evidence of how criticism is connected with feelings of yours (or maybe one particular feeling that might have a strong impact of rising criticism in you). Try to notice and welcome the feeling when it arises, stay with the feeling until it’s over, instead of shifting to your mind and criticising. Not sure if that works? Start right here with what you actually feel right now. Give it a try!