The Inner Critic from the book “In Touch”. Part One

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We have an inner critic—that part of the mind that creates an idea of how we and the world should be.
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The critic is actually a mental process, rather than a discrete entity.
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This inner critic is never satisfied; no matter how we or the world are, it is never good enough.
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When political and religious ideologues assume positions of power and try to impose their ideals, they bring great suffering to their subjects.
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Pol Pot, the idealistic communist leader who transformed the former Cambodia into a killing field in the 1980s, is a good example. Similarly, when we give the inner critic authority by believing it, we create a kind of inner killing field that chokes off any spontaneity and self-trust.
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You can easily detect the presence of this kind of tyrannical thinking within yourself: just notice when you have a thought that includes “should” or “should not.”
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How often do you torment yourself by thinking, “I should not be experiencing this” or “This should or should not be happening” or “He or she should or should not be doing that.”
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If you observe your thinking for a few minutes, you will usually find evidence of this critical tendency. It is pervasive and persuasive.
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Judging always creates distance within yourself and between yourself and others.
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I can recall the relief I felt as I gradually discovered the difference between how I thought I should be versus how I actually was, between an ideal and the real.
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If you relate to your experience as you think it should be, you keep it at arm’s length.
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5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by David F on May 23, 2017 at 10:59 am

    I enjoy reading your blog. I did enjoy this blog too! I have a Harsh Inner Critic but I’d like to offer my thoughts. After studying the idea/model of “sub-cell personalities” and Internal Family Systems, I do believe the Inner critic IS an actual entity that lives with our other sub-cell personalities. I agree that the Inner Critic “is never satisfied; no matter how we or the world are, it is never good enough.” But that comes from out childhood and what we were told about ourselves. If we can talk to the Inner Critic and let it know that it needs to tone down, it can be shrunk to a part that is reasonable. The reason the Inner Critic wants to be perfect is because that what was expect FROM US as children/adolescents to avoid shame, guilt, punishment, abandonment, etc. But now, we need to build self respect (NOT self-esteem!!!!) and part of that is realizing that YOU are responsible for your happiness, misery, etc. So if we are in charge of our moods/state of mind and take responsibility for ourselves, the inner critic can be converted to a coach and mentor. Again, just my opinion! 🙂

  2. Thanks for sharing
    I think the inner critic is connected to the way our first caregivers treated us

  3. Posted by David F on May 23, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    I agree 100%. In my case, it’s my Dad’s voice saying over and over, “You are no good” and “You are not good enough”. It chastises me when I’m not perfect (ALWAYS) and always tells me I should do better. The key (IMHO) is to talk with the Inner Critic and the Perfectionist and have them tone it down. Let the adult (Real Self) calm the children/guardians down, explain to them it’s safe, and we (the family) doesn’t have to be perfect anymore.

  4. My father used criticism as his way of making me a better athlete
    That was accomplished but self image self esteem took the hit

    It is possible to live in the present and be happy

    Affirmations said out loud, recorded and played back impacts the inner critic also

    The more we let go of that voice of the thoughts it brings forth the more power he loses the critic

  5. Hi, I thought I would return the favour and have a visit to your blog, I had a glance around and will be back to have a deeper read, take care!!

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