Embracing the Inner Critic, a self-compassion wisdom pathway
As we expand awareness of our inner selves ; we bring choice into our lives. We can choose consciously instead of being driven by unconscious aspects of ourselves. The Inner Critic is a powerful sub-personality that directly affects our capacity for self-compassion. Through it’s Inner Judge counterpart it affects our capacity for compassion towards others.
The Inner Critic
The Inner Critic, without embracing and reparenting, challenges most of us; creating obstacles on our personal development paths. The unrelenting Inner Critic operates from an ancient internal system of self-protection that served us at one time in our lives. It is an authoritative voice inside us that acts as a lens filtering, beliefs, fears, perceptions and information.
The Critic voice develops throughout our childhood, a sponge soaking up all the messages, criticisms from the people around us, our family, parents, culture, religion, gender. It is the Voice that criticizes us and the Judge is the voice that criticizes others. The energetic strength of these voices correlates; the stronger our Inner Critic the stronger our Judgment of others
The Inner Critic developed to protect us, keep us safe in the environment that we were born into. Originally the Inner Critic developed to protect us against shame and the original pain of our childhood vulnerabilities. It is an important voice in our psyche, it is a problem or rather doesn‘t serve us when we are identified with it.
Inner Critic is one of the Inner selves, sub-personalities, voices or parts within our psyche. These Inner Selves have their own unique energetic imprint. Our unique primary selves – operating ego developed through our adaptation to protect our vulnerability. We did this through repressing certain selves, parts or aspects and identifying with those that enabled us to survive and meet our needs in the family system that we were born into.
When embraced, the Inner Critic has gifts for us. We can mine the gold within the energetic power of Critic consciousness. This can happen through a process of separation from identification with its messages. It can transform through healing of both the inner child and the inner critic and through strengthening of the opposite forces: the inner teacher and inner parent. Both of these inner resources expand the wise self within us.
The Inner Critic desires our success on all levels and in its origin helped us to adapt to the expectations of our parents and environment. Along with other sub personalities it set standards for our behaviours and actions and ensured that we abided by internal self-correction before others would correct and criticize us. This was meant to alleviate the pain of rejection by others.
Over time the power and energy of the Inner Critic magnifies and can become polarized, meaning that the opposites the Inner Teacher, Wise self can be invisible. Similar to a demanding parent, it can be impossible to please the Inner Critic. All of your efforts and strategies to change in order to please the Inner Critic only serve to strengthen its inner energetic and psychological power and authority. Just like a demanding and critical parent, a common stance of the Critic: nothing is good enough. The child within can keep trying to please the Critic, yet what can happen is a reinforcement of the power and authority the Critic has over the child.
The Critic: it is one voice inside us that can stop our creativity, our growth, our development of potential through its power to humiliate shame and destroy our self-esteem.
The Inner Critic often operates and is fueled by an anxious energy that holds the intention for us to live by the rules that will lead to our success in adapting, coping, managing in our environment. Each of our childhood developmental stages may contain a related Inner Critic energy.
Faces of the Inner Critic Protecting the Inner Child
- Infant Critic
- Toddler Critic
- Young Inner Child 3 to 6 Critic
- Grade School Child 6 to 12 Critic
- Young Teen Critic
- Adolescent Critic
- Young Inner Adult Critic
Inner Critic Transformed
Hal and Sidra Stone, Embracing Your Inner Critic
- It acts like a positive parent who supports you, makes your risk taking safe, and allows you to be creative and flowing.
- It is impersonal and does not allow you to worry about what others will think.
- It helps you set appropriate boundaries.
- It is no longer interested in other people’s criticisms, so they do not bother you. This helps to free you from the fear of shame and humiliation.
- Its power gives you greater authority in the world.
- It brings you the ability to focus clearly.
- As an objective mind, it analyzes events without emotion coolly, without making either you or others wrong.
- Its objective evaluations of situations help you to behave appropriately and with self-discipline
- It helps you to get appropriate consultation and advice without making you feel that this is a sign of inadequacy.
- It can direct you to self-improvement as growth or as an adventure rather than as a chore because nothing is “wrong\” with you. It does not talk about symptoms or problems.
Keep a daily journal to record the number of statements made by your Inner Critics. Over one to three day period pay attention to the critical things you say or feel about yourself. When you wake up in the morning, are getting dressed, are driving your car, going to bed at night. What does it think is wrong with you? What were the mistakes you made during the day? Where could you have done better? What have you overlooked? What should you have done differently?