OK, so you’re in the next part of your journey.
Feels good to have you here.
First, there’s one KEY thing you must understand if you have any hope of turning your inner critic into an inner ally.
And here’s that thing.
Your inner critic is only doing what it’s doing because it wants to protect you.
In it’s own sick, twisted way, it actually loves you, and wants the best for you.
Don’t believe me?
Think of it like this:
We all were born into the world that was imperfect. When we were young, we had to do our best to get love and affection from our parents.
Some of us got this love unconditionally.
Others, not so much.
We had to learn to play a part, to play a role, in order to receive love consistently.
Maybe you had to be “the sweet girl who never complained and was always happy.”
Or, “the stoic young man who never uttered a complaint.”
I personally was the very polite son who acted like a rock to my parents.
As a child, your main mission was to get love from your parents.
This has roots in evolution.
If your parents don’t love you when you’re a cave child, then you’re going to die off pretty quick.
Since you depend on them for food and sustenance and protection.
So, if your parents were inconsistent in how much they gave you love or affection, your mind developed a defense mechanism known as the inner critic.
It would say things like, “You need to stop being so lazy.” If you needed to please a work horse parent.
Or, “Stop complaining. So many people have it worse than you.” If your parent couldn’t tolerate you being in a bad mood (unless they were also).
It did these things because humans have another need – the need to be autonomous. To have control over our environments.
So, as a kid, the true story, that your parents were either dicks or dealing with shit of their own (or most likely, a bit of both) was unacceptable.
Because what the hell are you supposed to do about that? It’s out of your control as a kid. You can’t resolve their marital problems, or financial problems, or alter their behavior.
So, instead, your mind created a story….
Where it was YOUR FAULT that you didn’t get love, because you were doing something wrong.
Insidious, but necessary from a survival point of view.
If the cave-child version of you just so happened to be born to a couple that really didn’t tolerate crying much, you would learn how to shut up pretty quick in order to get fed.
Now, none of this is black and white.
But the funny thing is, even if the evolutionary underpinning is wrong, your answer is still the same.
To realize that your inner critic actually wants what’s best for you.
If your inner critic is telling you to “stop being so lazy” (a phrase I used to hear a lot years back), then it doesn’t WANT you to be hurt.
It just wants you to be productive, and the only way it knows how to get you to act, is to punish you.
And trust me – you can have an honest inner dialogue with your inner critic, and tell it, “Hey, friend, we’re on the same team here. When my life gets better, yours gets better. We’re on the same side.”
This represents a monumental step forward.
Because, instead of running from your inner critic, or numbing the pain, or creating positivity to prove it wrong, or listening to it…
You have a dialogue with it. You treat this like any other relationship.
You set boundaries. You have real discussions. You create a new story, a new way of doing things.
And that’s incredibly useful.
If you think this is cooky by the way, I didn’t make it up. The most helpful book I read on this topic is called Self Therapy for Your Inner Critic.
They explain this in a much better way than I do – but I think my solution is much better than theirs.
Because here’s the thing: just having a dialogue with your inner critic is only part of the puzzle.
There are two other parts you also have to address if you really want to make a transformation in how you talk to yourself.