Whatever your vision for your life, whatever you hope to accomplish, you will find that you have to learn to tame the inner critic in order to create it. We know that we still have an inner critic, when those who are critical of us, affect us and the action we take towards our vision. Their words take over our minds and we end up feeling rather stuck, because at some level we agree with them.
If you are hard on yourself for the small mistakes, how do you treat yourself with the big mistakes? In my past criticism from others was expected. Criticism from myself was guaranteed. Whether I did well at my tasks, or not, the inner critic yapped away. I didn’t know what it felt like to be kind to myself in times of failure. Even when I did a good job, I would convince myself it was not good enough. And naturally, the more mistakes I made, the more I began to fear failure, fearing that I would beat myself up for it, or someone else would.
As a coach, helping hundreds through one-on-one training, and thousands through speaking engagements over the years, it become very apparent how much I was not alone. Criticism has caused people to gain weight. It has caused people to suppress anger and cause all kinds of stresses ( back pain, neck pain etc) in the body. Many people died with their voice unheard for fear of the criticism they might receive. It has ruined relationships that could otherwise have been beautiful.
As I have released criticism from my inner being, I have felt the health of my body improve. I have witnessed people shed body weight, improve joint and muscle health, and feel better about themselves overall. Most importantly I have seen them move forward without the same fear of failure. Gratitude beams out of their eyes. It is powerful to develop an immunity to criticism, and to tame your inner critic.
Here are some simple steps I encourage people to follow to begin to release the hold of criticism on their life.
1) Understand how criticism is different to constructive feedback. Welcome the feedback that is given from someone who wants you to succeed, and criticism from those projecting their own feeling of inadequacy on to you. Feedback empowers you to move to infinity and beyond. My best teachers have shown me great compassion with their feedback, which has sometimes been hard to swallow. But they deliver it in a loving way, that enables me to step into the next greatest version of myself. Many people hear feedback as criticism and prevent themselves from experiencing a powerful moment of growth.
2) If someone criticises you, and you react, some part of you believes this to be true about you. Instead of seeking vengeance or retaliating with criticism of your own, simply thank them, step away and reflect. Don't worry about letting them know how critical they are, they create their own karma, and those who are habitual criticizers tend to be struggling more in life. With a good ol' tapping session we can begin to accept our less than desirable traits within ourselves. We can also use the set up phrase from EFT without the tapping, in the form of a simple statement: "Even though ____________ I completely and deeply love and accept myself."
eg) Someone calls you a snob, and you react. Maybe some part of you believes you are a snob, in fact it is the reason you have not been stepping in to your power, because you notice that in the past it came out more. A lot of introverts have been falsely accused of this, when their snobbishness is actually more related to shyness or lack of confidence in social situations.
"Even though I am afraid that I am a snob I completely and deeply love and accept myself."
How do you know if worked? Wait until someone calls you a snob next time, and see how you react. Now you can assess whether you agree or disagree with them, and can make changes if necessary. If it still charges you up, continue to repeat the above statement or let a coach support you to overcome this.
3) Once you have accepted the trait within you, create clarity about what this is calling you to become or do. Lets say that you were critcised for your writing, someone said that it was lousy, and you agreed wholeheartedly. This is where the power of questions comes in so powerfully. If you want to make improvements on your writing, ask yourself, "What can I do to improve the quality of my writing?" If someone told you that you seemed nervous in a speech, it would seem you are being called to be more confident. If someone said that you were self absorbed, and it was actually true, what could you do to be more focused on giving to others? If someone accused you of being controlling or manipulative and you agreed, how can you be more allowing?
4) Commit to being kinder to yourself in times of setbacks or failures. How does beating yourself up for your mistakes benefit you? You will only remind yourself how worthless you feel. You don't build upon your self esteem by beating yourself up, you build upon your self-esteem by reminding yourself that you are able to make mistakes, learn lessons, and grow from them. Of course, if you notice yourself being hard on yourself, don't beat yourself up for that, you are being presented with an ideal opportunity to be kind to yourself.
An affirmation to repeat, to become easier on yourself, could be something like.
“I am kind and gentle with myself in times of setback and failure. I am willing to listen to my intuition so that I know what to do differently next time. I am good enough."
I have seen people follow these steps and venture more courageously into their new business, a new relationship, or fitness program, because they allow themselves to make mistakes and learn from them. They learn to tame the inner critic and develop an immunity to criticism from others. I look forward to hearing how this supports you on your path!
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