My inner critic tells me I am a failure no fewer than four hundred times a day. I’m not even sure that’s a hyperbolic statement. Between my judgments about how little I’m writing or how pathetic it is that I don’t have a husband—these undesirable mantras drum through my head and move me towards feeling miserable.
I’ve been writing about this voice in my head and its destructive power for the past few weeks because I’ve become acutely aware of how much louder it is than the part of me that’s able to feel proud of my achievements, however small they may be, instead of obsessive about all I have yet to do in the world or the mistakes I’ve made.
I want to be able to tell you that I’ve figured out a way to solve this problem, that I have 10 pieces of advice—all pared down in a neat list—to help you to not suffer in this way that I tend to suffer.
But here’s what I do have—I have a a suggestion about what to do with the inner critic. And it’s pretty simple.
What this means is that instead of trying to silence the voice that beat me up today because I slept too late, because I ate a brownie instead of eating dinner, because I didn’t see my parents even though they were right across town—I accept her. I acknowledge the voice the same way you acknowledge that woman at work who always has a negative perspective on whatever the team is working on. I say to myself: that’s your inner critic. She’s doing what she always does. She’s finding way to find fault with you; even if you cured cancer she’d have a problem with the way you went about doing it. You’ll never silence her.
To take away her power, you need to accept that she’s there and then diffuse the hold she has on you by ignoring her.