The way the inner critic talks to you is so aggressive and personal that it can safely be said you would never use such an approach to anyone, not even someone you despise deeply. Still we tolerate that, we often consider it natural to think that way about ourselves and you may find that also disconcerting if you reflect on it.
The way we are criticized by the inner critic is not constructive or inducive of effort to improve ourselves, in most of the cases, in fact, it has as only consequence that we step back, avoiding risks and giving up enterprises.
This is the reason changing the relationship we have with the inner critic is so important. So that it doesn't stop us from doing what we want, make us doubt about what we are capable of.
I won't lie, it is not a painless process, however, is quite necessary if you want to be fully yourself.
Now that you have created a distance between you and the inner critic in you (see previous blog) and you have learned to take charge of the relationship and when needed are able to park the inner critic on a stool so that it doesn’t disturb you, it is time to face the inner critic, to sit and talk to this scary nanny.
The approach may surprise you, however believe me, it works. It all start by taking one of the opinions of the inner critic, we will use this example to explain the process:
’You will never manage to run that marathon’.
Feel free another comment your own inner critic may have whispered in your ears recently to try this exercise, if you want.
Step number one is to admit to the inner critic that it is right, the inner critic has a point and we are acknowledging it. What you are actually doing here is seeing the situation from its point of view, considering the value that there is to its point of view and acknowledging it.
For example you may say: ‘yes indeed as of today I am not ready to run such a marathon and I may not get ready on time, this is true. I'm not extremely fit in the last period and there is a real possibility, that I won't make it’.
It could even feel like a relief to admit that the critic has a point. When the critic say ‘you will never manage’ you somehow engage in a fight against yourself hoping the critic will be wrong, and that costs you energy. When you admit that the critic has a point you can relax in the knowing that maybe you will manage maybe you will not: you want to try and the critic doesn't believe is worth trying. There is not fighting inside just opinions next to each other.
Now you can start to look more objectively to what it would take to be able to run that marathon. You have extra energy available because you stopped the internal fighting against the critic. Now you are sharp and focus and can look clearly and what it is going to take to achieve your goal. You can make a plan and action it.
The critic will be with you every step of the way with its comments and each time you can go back and use this process.
The next question to engage the inner critic is: ‘what is the problem?’
Why it needs to be a problem for the critic that you want to run the marathon without knowing for sure if you are going to manage to do it or not?
The critic is concerned for the consequences of a 'failure' of yours, (you remember the nanny gone wrong?) you, however, are likely to look differently at things and be ok with taking a risk.
As you do that, as you embrace this different and empowered aspect of yourself that is now available, the inner critic will notice that you are not the child needing a nanny anymore, but you became a savvy adult instead that would survive also the experience of taking a risk.
With this kind of dialogue you radically change the relationship with the inner critic. You will have these kind of conversation many times over many different things and every time it will get easier and better. The game has changed, you relate to the inner critic from the centered adult that you are.