We are all familiar with voice of our inner critic – the one who puts us down, is not happy with anything we do and stops us from living the life we want to lead. What if we could transform that voice into our greatest fan? Often, our inner critic carries energetic imprints from our childhood experiences; basically, our critic is trying to live out our past in the present moment. As we learn to work with our critical voices and bring ourselves more fully into the present, we open the doorway for a new voice to emerge – our inner cheerleader. Here are 5 Steps to help transform you inner critic into your inner cheerleader:
- Learn to be present in the moment. Your critic is a voice that comes from the past or is projecting onto the future. When you are able to be fully present in the moment, your inner critic is powerless. As you experience more of the present moment, you learn how to recognize when you inner critic is engaging and you learn how to create shifts in energy and awareness that diffuse your inner critic. Develop a contemplative practice that supports being more fully present in the moment such as meditation, prayer, yoga, tai chi/qi gong, spending time in nature or ceremony & ritual. Ongoing practice can help us on many levels, assisting in developing our ability to drop into the present moment in any situation or place, even when our critical voices are arising.
- Begin to consciously recognize critical voices and patterns. There are many ways the inner critic can be expressed. Most of us have a few strong voices and patterns (E.g. perfectionist, taskmaster or guilt tripper) but there may be a social club of inner critics that can show up. Getting to know your personal inner critical messages supports moving into greater conscious awareness with these habitual patterns. As you become more conscious of the inner critic, you can begin to identify what is a trigger for your critical voices to become active (E.g. work, relationships, finances, etc.) and you can begin to respond proactively. This step is really about discovery – we are learning to access what is in our unconscious and we are bringing it into the light where it can be transformed. Practices such as journaling or writing can really help to access our inner voices and begin to transform them. You many notice things that come up during contemplative practices or in a daily life; keeping a journal or log of these messages can show you where your inner work lies.
- Explore tools for transformation. Everyone is different and there are many practices and tools that support transformation and healing. Exploring different practices helps you to get to know yourself better and to find tools, which support you in the changes you wish to make. As you explore, you can begin to build a transformational toolbox to remind you of all the resources available to you and how you can utilize them as the foundation for a new way of being. It is important to find tools that are resonant for you and support you where you are at the present time and can lead you to where you want to go. Consider a variety of resources that can support healing body, mind, emotion and spirit. Some practices I have found to be very beneficial in working with the inner critic both personally and with clients include Affirmations, Mirror Work, Metta/Loving-kindness Meditation, Yoga, Shamanic Healing, Self-Reflection and Bach Flower Remedies.
- Accept responsibility for your own transformational process and commit to creating change in your life. No one can change you but you! Taking responsibility for one’s own healing process creates a powerful foundation for transformation. This is a commitment you make to yourself. Sometimes it is helpful to do so with a ceremony or ritual, by writing a statement of commitment or by setting your intention to do so on a daily basis as you are working to create change. You can decide what your process will be but showing up is a way to show the inner critic that you believe in yourself, love yourself and are ready to change. Write a statement or declaration of your commitment to change. Use post-its to write affirmations to remind you of your commitment. This may be a lifelong process but choose a period of time to work on transforming your inner critic into your inner cheerleader. 30 Days is a great way to explore creating any type of change. Then, you can re-evaluate and consider if the tools you are exploring are working or you need to explore more.
- Invite your inner cheerleader to emerge by loving yourself! Loving yourself is the key to healing and transformation on many levels. Most of us have been taught that loving ourselves is selfish, or we must love others first. Consciously choosing to love ourselves can really go against our grain, but it is a way to begin to accept and embrace all of who we are. Our inner critic is a part of us and if we love that part, we can begin to transform it to. Loving all parts of ourselves allows our inner cheerleader to begin to emerge. There are many practices, which can support loving ourselves more fully. Be willing to explore; there may be a lot of resistance that emerges. Often, we are more easily able to love and be a “cheerleader” for others than for ourselves. Being aware of this can be a great way to begin to change our inner voices. Consider a good friend, family member or mentor. How would you support them if they were feeling unworthy, not good enough, etc.? What would you say to them to be supportive? Begin to create this positive support for yourself; imagine what others who love you would say to you. Begin to look at your accomplishments and make a list of your positive qualities and successes in your journal. Notice what arises as you do. This can be a great way to uncover our resistance or critical voices. Again, if you shared this with a good friend, how would they respond? Mostly, likely, they wouldn’t put you down, but would celebrate you. If not, it might be time to reconsider the friendship! Most people would not keep a friend in their lives who is so negative, harsh and critical; yet this if often how you treat your own self. Consider being a good friend to yourself, one who is positive, caring and supportive; this can be a big step towards loving yourself. There are many ways to activate your inner cheerleader but cultivating love and compassion for yourself is a key component in this transformation.
I hope you will take some time this week to explore transforming your inner critic into your inner cheerleader. You may like to visit my post on 7 Ways To Cultivate Love & Compassion For Your Self or use the 31 Day Guided May Is For Metta Practice as a foundation for your exploration.
As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts, reflections and insights.
I hope you enjoyed my post on Transforming Your Inner Critic Into Your Inner Cheerleader. If you would like to explore how Integrative Transformational Healing Programs can support you in achieving greater balance, joy and ease of well-being, visit www.bethterrence.com/contact to schedule a complimentary 20-minute consultation.