One of the best things about being home so much these days, is that I don’t have to spend any energy commuting into work.

And this means I can sleep in a little more each morning. Yay!

I like to wake up slowly, becoming gradually aware of the shift from my dreams to my waking life.

I love that in-between stage of lucid dreaming: watching the stories playing out inside me while also being aware that I’m watching.

It’s almost luxurious to stay as long as possible in the still-asleep but partly-awake state where I feel most present and connected to my inner being.

In this state, ideas, images, inspiration and insights arise, fueling and grounding me in my deepest intentions for the day. I feel inspired and energized when I start my day, connected with this part of myself.

Many mornings however, my inner critic elbows her way into that sacred space, tyrannically reviewing my performance.

She can come in all hell-bent on keeping my attention on the tension in the gap between my current behaviors and capacities and my desired behaviors and capacities.

When she shows up, my body tenses and braces against the onslaught of self-criticism, self-evaluation, and self-judgment.

Now, I know she means well.
She’s just trying to motivate and help me.
She cares about my goals and aspirations, my principles and values.
She believes that pointing out all the ways in which I don’t measure up, will help me grow.

I used to try to shut her up.
Shut her down.
Ignore her.
Argue with her.
Get defensive.
Explain myself.

It just seemed to strengthen her resolve, and so I’ve learned a new way to be with her. I know she wants to help.

So, I help her help me in new ways: I give her a new language, a new set of things to gravitate around.

She comes with harshness, I respond with kindness.
She comes with judgment, I respond with acceptance.
She wants to override feelings, I help her stay in relationship with feelings.
Working with her, not against her, I enlist her support, instead of oppressing her.

And as I work on my relationship with her, I find that my relationship with all others in my life who remind me of her improve as well.

Tensions ease.
Resistance softens.
Defenses melt.

Instead of struggling against your inner critic, try to develop a more loving relationship with that part of yourself.

  • What would it be like to accept that part of yourself?

  • What needs and desires are important to that critical and judgmental voice in your head?

  • What does this part of you just want you to acknowledge and include in your decisions?

  • What does this part fear and worry about?

  • Sit down with yourself, and get to know all voices within more deeply.

When you find part of you in distress and needing some soothing and reassurance, here are five gentle things you can say to soothe your inner critic.

  1. I’m doing my best right now, and that’s good enough.

  2. I’m imperfect, and I’m enough.

  3. Thanks for your input, but I’ve got this.

  4. I can do this even if I’m feeling afraid.

  5. Even if this doesn’t work out I’ll respect myself for showing up.

Try these phrases out and let me know how it goes.

What other phrases or tools help you speak to your inner critic in gentle, loving, and transformative ways?

I’d love to know. Leave a comment below!


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