Befriending Your Inner Critic?

I am just thrilled to be presenting to you this valuable, heart-filled, and information packed article by guest blogger andmy colleague Annemarie Miner, MA. Annmarie is a gifted coach who can help you move through the voices of criticism and doubt. You can learn more about Annmarie at Enjoy!

There is a saying “What you resist, persists”. I love it because it reminds me that my old coping mechanism of ignoring my negative feelings never works. I’ve learned that if I’m feeling fearful, pretending that I’m not or getting angry with myself does not help. It’s not until I am able to acknowledge my true feelings with understanding and compassion that my burdens lighten and release.

I have found the same to be true of my relationship with my inner critic. Through my work with hundreds of clients, I’ve learned we all have an inner critic. For years I didn’t even know I had an inner critic, and I actually thought I was pretty kind to myself. Then I read Louise Hay’s book, “You Can Heal Your Life” in which she advised listening to the way you talk to yourself and stopping all self-criticism forever. The day I decided to start paying attention, I was horrified to discover how hard I was on myself.

From the moment I woke up, I began berating myself. If I wasn’t criticizing my appearance, I was judging something I’d said to someone, or beating myself up about the quality of my work. I soon realized that if I was in a relationship with me- I would consider myself verbally abusive and break up with me immediately.

I have tried many ways of dealing with my inner critic over the years including trying to ignore her, and getting angry at her, but the strategy that has worked the most effectively has been to befriend her. Why befriend your inner critic? It goes back to the wisdom of “what you resist, persists”.    Ignoring or getting angry never works long- term. It may shut the critical voice up in the moment but soon it will come back louder than ever.

In order to befriend your inner critic it helps to understand how and why they came into being. Most developed during our childhoods to make us happy or keep us safe.

Humor and play are essential for befriending your inner critic. You may want to name them and start asking them why they are there and what they want. I named my critical voice “Betty”. When I asked Betty why she was so hard on me what came up was that she was really worried that I could not handle life’s difficulties. Turns out she was really afraid that I was not smart enough or competent enough. She berated me in an attempt to make sure I did what I needed to do in order to survive. In her own grim way, she had been trying to help and protect me.

I thanked Betty for all her help over the years but explained she and I would be trying a different way of relating going forward. I explained I had learned over the years that I was actually quite strong and capable and could handle life’s struggles with love and faith. Whenever she felt anxious, I asked Betty to lovingly let me know rather than hurling harsh insults. It worked. Whenever I hear Betty trying to get my attention now, I lovingly thank her for her concern and remind her that all is well and I’ve got it covered.

In befriending my inner critic, I learned to love myself completely, even the parts that at first glance appeared unlovable. Another bonus of befriending your inner critic? As you learn to love and accept yourself completely, your capacity to love others increases too.

So simple – it’s hard

Alycia HallI am thrilled to be sharing this article by my friend and colleague Alycia Hall with you. Alycia’s expertise and wisdom will blow you away! ~Joanna

So simple – it’s hard

Ever wonder if you are making life harder on yourself? If you are like most people, you will notice that a lot of your energy goes into over thinking, analyzing and problem solving. Our minds love to fix things and problem solve but wasn’t it Einstein who once said, “You cannot solve a problem from the same consciousness that created it”? So how do we access a more simple way of living?

Mother Nature has given us a wonderful tool to live simply and the good news is that we don’t have to do much. All we need to do is get out of the way so she can do the healing work on us. Once we create space she can come in and helps us heal whatever is blocked. The trouble is that we rarely create enough space because we either don’t know how to or we feel uncomfortable doing so. Our mind may also try to convince us that it cannot be this simple and if there is a problem we must ‘fix’ it. Fortunately life is very simple; unfortunately the mind would love to convince us otherwise. So how do we access and open ourselves up to this profound healing?

The answer is simple and it is hard too. If we want to access this healing we must do what our minds talk us out of doing – sit still and become more receptive to our feelings. If you have ever done this practice before you will know that it can be very uncomfortable since different emotions, feelings and thoughts arise. Staying with it will allow you to walk through this discomfort and after enough practice you will find yourself feeling much lighter. All of a sudden what caused you anxiety is no longer a problem and it doesn’t have the same emotional charge.

Thanks to Mother Nature we have been designed for self-healing and we don’t earn it or lose it – we simple uncover it. Practice coming into your body more and release the need to over analyzing everything. You will be surprised at how such a simple tool can create deep profound healing.

For more information on how to access your body’s wisdom