Inner critics arise because in the past we’ve been penalized or punished for something that others thought, or that we thought we should have or shouldn’t have done. Having been punished in the past, our brain is wired to avoid it in the future. It does this by sending us warnings, often in the form of accusations, judgments, or threats. With practice, we can alter this process by using NVC.
The great value in using NVC here lies in leaving the land of Shoulds, Have To’s, Musts, Ought To’s, and Supposed To’s about who we have to be. Instead, we can choose to enter a safe place—and experience the safety that comes when we compassionately connect with ourselves.
♥ Try this: Think about something that your inner critic says and complete the following self-empathy activity.
When I hear my inner critic say:
I physically feel:
Emotionally I feel:
♥ Take a few moments to offer yourself the kindness and compassion you would give a friend if they came to you with this situation. Let this sink in deeply.
♥ Now see if you can translate your inner critic’s statements of judgments and threats with the following activity.
When I hear:
I also hear these feelings in my inner critic’s message:
Maybe my inner critic is needing:
♥ In the same way, offer your inner critic compassion and kindness too.
♥ Now that we know what unmet needs are needing attention, we can more easily move to creating a do-able request for ourselves. What do-able request can you make with your inner critic today?
Learn more about befriending your inner critic in the How to Be Kind to Yourself Class starting Thursday, September 22.