Tuesday, September 9, 2014

What can we do with our Inner Critic?

The Inner Critic
My friend Asta has inspired this picture of The Inner Critic because she's going back to school and facing all kinds of "Am I good enough" challenges. 

The thing about school is that we don't go because we already know everything, we go to define and refine our interests, to build a foundation from which we can spring with confidence and experience. So feeling nervous kind of goes with the endeavor of stepping into the uncharted territory of adult education. We deserve this. It's FUN. It's also a lot of hard work but what else is there but the work/play that we're born to do?

I'd guess that most of us have an Inner Critic - that little voice that pesters us with negatives - you're not good enough, you should do this, you shouldn't do that, if only, blah, blah, blah.

So I posted a message to Asta when she expressed that she was feeling a load of doubt that I was taught a while back to give that Inner Critic a persona. My favorite definition of persona from Merriam Webster's online is: an individual's social facade or front that especially in the analytic psychology of C. G. Jung reflects the role in life the individual is playing...

I perceive that The Inner Critic's life plays out in our mind; it's the conversation between the protective part of the Self and the Spirit Self who's attempting to build wings with which to fly so that the world can see and enjoy the fullness of our real Self, and so that we can experience and enjoy our real Self.

The Inner Critic looks down his nose at everything.
When I imagined The Inner Critic I pictured him on a high horse, looking down his nose at everything because he thinks he knows it all, and wearing armor, because his basic function is to protect. But he often gets out of control, paralyzing us so that we don't feel confident and comfortable exploring our true Selves. In the quest for perfection he makes us forget that most of the time good is good enough, and the journey is what's important.

He's staked his flag in a pile of horse poop.
What The Inner Critic doesn't realize is that he's got his flag stuck in a pile of horse poop, oops. He's pretty full of it. He doesn't see the possibilities. His negativity rains down all over his wonderful steed, who brings him empowerment that he isn't able to recognize and nurture. 

Take a NAP.
So what can we do with The Inner Critic? We can acknowledge its existence. We can say "Thank you for the protection, but please Go Take A NAP."

Once we've thanked The Inner Critic for its well-meant protection and asked it to take a snooze, we can progress on our journey of Self-fulfillment.

While he's dreaming, our suns can come out to dry up the Inner Critic's rain. And our little villages can become infused with color and life.

And if the Inner Critic gets enough beauty sleep, we may find that he's morphed into our Inner Cheerleader and Biggest Fan.

Little Village fighting the wet blanket of The Inner Critic. The Village will triumph for sure.

We win.

Thanks for the inspiration Asta!



  1. This is such a wonderful gift to Asta! and a wonderful post. You have an ingenious perspective and I love to read you thoughts on any given subject. I love this technique of taking an intangible and personifying it to a managable concept.

  2. Thanks Carol! I've often had conversations with the old Inner Critic. It seems to help to be able to personify it.