(Compassion Series) Transforming your inner critic

Transforming your Inner Critic

When faced with a new challenge, placed in unfamiliar situations or just outside your comfort zone do you sometimes here this little voice within you which says things such as “ I am not good enough to succeed”, “ Don’t apply for the job you don’t have the skills for it “, “ I am going to screw it up why bother “ or “ I am just not capable “ ? If your answer is Yes you are not alone.

This voice or inner chat is commonly referred to as your Inner Critic, which makes an inconvenient appearance when you are about to embark on something new at a time when you need it the least.
In the late 1970’s Psychologists Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes identified this as the “Imposter Phenomenon”. It describes frequent feelings of incompetence despite all of the evidence to the contrary.

It is important to know that although the Inner critic can appear to be an uninvited guest, the voice can serve a purpose and often may have an underlying intention, such as to protect us. The first strategy in working with your inner critic is not to ignore or suppress it. To make sure that your inner critic is not undermining your ability to take meaningful action in your life here are few ways to transform your Inner Critic into you Inner Sage.

Identify and determine your inner critic:

May feel odd but ask your inner critic “ Where do you come from?” It could come from your childhood, you parents, media, peers or relationships.

“Once you understand the places your inner critic comes from, you’ll be able to recognize it when it’s telling the truth and when to disregard what it is saying”

Transform your Inner critic:

The inner critic is negative self- talk. Ask yourself what and how would you like your inner critic to say to you to support your new journey or challenge. What would your inner sage say?

Why we use the inner sage metaphor?

Who is a Sage? Someone who is wise and what is being wise? What is Wisdom? Wisdom is knowledge through experience. We have to accept that making mistakes is part of life and it shouldn’t deter us from trying again. Only through your experience will you gain the wisdom to make it right the next time.

So transform your inner critic and its negative energy into a positive and encouraging voice that of a sage to support you through your new challenge and embrace your mistakes openly.

An easy exercise to try out:

• Write down a recent situation where you felt your inner critic
• Note what your inner critic had said to you
• Ask yourself why was your inner critic saying these things to you? Was there any truth behind it? Remember at this point where your inner critic came from and be honest about what its truth is. Acknowledge whether the critic is helping your or hurting you.
• Now write down what you would have liked to hear from your inner critic to support you. That is now your inner sage.


[Originally published January 2012]

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