If You’re Addicted to Self-Criticism, Do This

emotional life inner child healing self-awareness self-love self-worth May 06, 2022
woman punching herself in the head showing self-criticism, inner critic

Most of us rely on our inner critic (that little voice inside our head that plants seeds of self-doubt, insecurity, and fear in it) to help us achieve things in life, whether it’s moving towards a goal or doing something we don’t particularly want to but are told we should or need to do. Despite being somewhat off-putting and mean, our inner critic actually helps us achieve things… so why would we want to ever let it go?


Well, a good reason to find a way to work with your inner critic is that yes, you want to achieve things in life, but you don’t want to be bullied from the inside in order to achieve and do those things. I mean, nobody likes a bully let alone an inner bully. And with your inner critic running amok inside your head, you’re very rarely satisfied or happy with life. You don’t feel good enough, worthy enough, or smart enough, and it makes it really hard to do things that contribute to your happiness like take care of yourself, believe in and encourage yourself, and love yourself.


So when you realize this, what do you do?


Well, most people— desperate to stop giving in to their inner critic— begin to wage a war with it because they read articles about or hear things like “stand up to your inner critic”, “silence your inner critic”, “conquer your inner critic”, or “talk back to your inner critic.” And so, they do. And this is how it goes:


Inner critic: Sally, you didn’t do enough today. Why are you so lazy?


You: Stop calling me lazy. I am not lazy. I did so much today! Yes, I got tired at 5 but that was after a full work day. Leave me alone.


Inner critic: I will not leave you alone. What you did today just wasn’t good enough. You need to do more and better tomorrow. You absolutely need to.


Inner Critic- 1 You- 0


You: Leave me alone. Stop saying these things! I am not lazy!! I am not lazyy!! I am noooot lazzyyyyy!


Inner critic: Sally, just look at your schedule. Everyone else wakes up at 6am and you? You wake up at 7:30 or 8. C’mon, how is that schedule supposed to set you up for success? Successful people have the morning routines of someone destined for success, and you…


You: (Pouting) Maybe you’re right… 

Inner Critic- 2 You- 0


Inner critic: Of course I’m right, Sally. You’ve got to listen to me, loud and clear. You will never amount to anything if you keep going how you’re going now. You know you’re not good enough as you are for your job and you have to try harder… much harder… to at least be half as good as the other people in your department. And have you been doing that? Nooooo.


You: (Ashamed and upset) Everyone is better than me… they do it so much better and don’t need to try half as hard as I do. I’m nothing.


Inner Critic- 3 You- 0


Try to stand up to, silence, conquer or talk back to your inner critic, and you will fail, miserably. You’ve tried, haven’t you? And that’s why you’re here, reading this article. I know… I’ve been there too.



What should you do instead?


Remember in the beginning of the article how I said that your inner critic exists to help you achieve things in life and do things you may not otherwise want to but need to do? Well, it does these things because it truly cares about you and wants to protect you. In fact, your inner critic developed early on in your life to help prevent you from feeling the kind of pain that you’ve felt before— for example, the pain of being rejected, ridiculed, ashamed, abandoned, or hurt in some way. “If I keep [insert your name here] striving for perfection in her every word, action and her appearance and career success, then she’ll never have to feel those things again”, your inner critic says to itself. And so, it adopts the voice of self-criticism so that you don’t have to worry about what someone else will think about you or that they might make fun of you or be critical of you in some way. Your inner critic is one of your protective mechanisms, and it’s one of the best ones. I just had an in-depth conversation about this with my friend, Dr Kim Collier. Catch our conversation in my community, The Happiness Hub!


Your inner critic is one of your protective mechanisms, and it’s one of the best ones.


Knowing that your inner critic is actually for (and not against) you, what it helps to do is instead of trying to defeat it, get to know and understand it. When you touch into your true self, Soul, or the essence of who you are, you can approach your inner critic with kindness and curiosity instead of combat and threat. And this is how it goes:


Inner critic: Sally, you didn’t do enough today. Why are you so lazy?


You: Hi, inner critic, I hear you loud and clear, and I can tell that you’re trying really hard to keep me safe and well in life. Is that right?


Inner critic: Absolutely, Sally. I am here to protect you from the unpleasant experiences of the world. I want you to be perfect in everything you do and are.


Inner Critic- 0 You- 0


You: Oh, thank you my inner critic. I can hear that you’ve got my back and you want to protect me from unpleasant experiences… What kind of unpleasant experiences are you trying to protect me from?


Inner critic: Well, Sally, if you fail at your job, everyone will think you’re a big failure, again. And if you don’t hustle to study for your certification exams during your off hours, you risk everyone laughing at you. They’ll think they’re better than you because they passed and you failed. And, well, if you don’t lose weight, you know what will happen. Society will keep seeing you as “just another fat girl…”


You: (Pouting) Wow, inner critic, you really know what you’re doing in there. And I am so grateful to you for being here for me. Can I ask you— when did you first start protecting me in this way?

Inner Critic- 0 You- 0


Inner critic: You’re welcome, Sally. It’s not a problem. I’ve been protecting you since you were 7. Ever since that lady called you overweight in front of your friends… ever since your dad gave you that really disappointed look when you brought home an 85% on your test… Ever since your parents scolded you and never let you play until you read 30 pages from a book every night… You were so small and so sad then. I never want you to feel that way again.



You: Wow, it makes so much sense to me why you say and do the things you say and do, and I SO appreciate everything you do and the positive intentions you have for me. All this time, you’ve been protecting me from feeling all those horrible feelings again— you really are amazing.


But you know, you don’t have to so fervently protect me anymore. I’m much older than seven now, and since I was seven years old, I’ve learned to motivate myself, too. And I’ve learned to stand up for myself when other people want to ridicule or say something unkind about me. And I also am learning how to be there for myself even when people are mean so that the pain just doesn’t hit me in the same way anymore. Would it be okay with you if I showed you how I can do this? I don’t want to replace you or anything, I just want to see if we can work together to motivate me in the future.


Inner Critic- 0 You- 0


The moral of the story


When you stand up to, or try to silence, conquer or talk back to your inner critic, you create more contention between you and you don’t get anywhere. When you get to know and understand your inner critic, you create a supportive relationship between the two of you, and your inner critic realizes that maybe its voice isn’t as much of a requirement as it once was.


The more time you spend understanding your inner critic and why it says and does the things it says and does, the more trust it will build in you to be the caretaker of your inner world and all of the younger versions of you who were hurt by past critical and judgmental experiences. And with practice and time, your inner world will become filled with more kindness and compassion as judgment and criticism become a go-to of the past.


If you just can’t wait to get there and want personal 1:1 support along the way, I’d love to help you get there.


Let us know what you’re learning about your inner critic and how it’s trying to help you below!


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Cras sed sapien quam. Sed dapibus est id enim facilisis, at posuere turpis adipiscing. Quisque sit amet dui dui.

Call To Action

Stay connected with news and updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.