Getting rid of your inner critic

Why getting rid of your inner critic isn’t working - 3 vital insights

Let's start with the bad news: getting rid of your inner critic is not really an option. There are no exercises or practices that will make this voice disappear. But wait, there is also good news! You can live a very pleasant and peaceful life WITH this voice inside your head. And although getting rid of your inner critic is not a possibility, detaching and liberating yourself from it certainly is. Here are 3 key insights that will help you do this.

Insight 1: You are not your inner critic

Very important. Super important. Incredibly important. This. Is. Not. You. You are not this voice. It’s a mechanism that is born out of the accumulation of your past experiences, the things you had to do or be (or specifically not do or be) in order to keep yourself safe, or receive (fragments of) love, appreciation and/or recognition. For example: ‘If I am nice, know how to adapt, and ignore my own needs (you know, if I’m a good girl/boy/kid), appreciation is on the table. It’s not guaranteed, but it’s there. Check. From now on, if I am not being ‘good’ (enough) or if I’m taking up (too much) space, I will intervene and bring myself back to safety.' And even the words this voice utters did not originate within you, you’ve picked them up from your environment. Think of a small child that suddenly starts shouting ''fuck'' all day long. They probably did not exactly wake up one day and decide to let their inner gangster out, they just heard someone else say it. Same for this voice.

So, in conclusion, your inner critic is a result of conditioning. In other words: NOT. YOUR. FAULT.

The existence of your inner critic is not your fault; but it is your responsibility to learn to work with it.

Insight 2: Your inner critic means well

Very hard to see and even harder to believe, I know.

Once upon a time, when you were just a little you, this voice was created because you wanted the best for yourself - a good life, with as much warmth and security as possible. Even though, now, it often causes you to keep yourself small, to hold back from standing up for yourself, to constantly procrastinate because perfection is unattainable, your inner critic has the very best of intentions. And in those particular circumstances back then, its mechanisms worked really well. So well, in fact, that you still carry them with you.

Can you try to show some compassion for the intention of your inner critic and how this part of you is - with its limited toolbox (read: judgment, disapproval and criticism) - trying to arrange a good life for you? You have your best interests at heart and you’ve simply learned that this is the way to get there. That is (very!) shitty, but not wrong, it's not bad. It's okay. It is.