Being Kind or Managing Your Inner Critic

It’s been my experience that most people are harder on themselves than they are to anyone else. It’s easy to be soft and kind and caring to your friends, but not always to yourself.

I’m working on being softer with myself. Talking back to that inner critic that says all the worst possible things and giving myself room to just be with hard stuff.

Some of my tools:

  • Talk to that inner critic. Ask it why it’s so scared.

  • Treat myself like I would a loved one. I would never talk to someone else the way that I sometimes talk to myself.

  • Listening for that negative voice and catching it before it gets too far into its diatribe. It often says the same things over and over again when I’m not really paying attention. Changing up my internal monologue before it gets a chance to really get going is really awesome.

  • Not getting upset with myself when I don’t catch it in time. That shame spiral is still the inner critic taking control.

I don’t know if creative people get this worse than other people. But I do know that putting so much of yourself and your private world on display can trigger the inner critic.

When I ask my critic what it’s so scared of, the most common response is that it’s just saying what everyone else might say. Preparing me for potential future rejection. I don’t need that kind of pre-rejection. It just makes it harder to put myself out there.

I’ve been working on not tying my happiness to what other people think of my art though. I’ll be ok even if some people don’t like what I make. Letting that condition go really helps to ease that inner critic. Not everyone has to like me. But I need to like me. So I change that sneaky hidden condition to: my happiness depends on how much I like my work. Or how much I enjoy making it. Then I can get excited about making something regardless of how it will be appreciated out in the world.

How are you being kind to yourself? What do you hear the most from your inner critic? How can you rewrite that phrase to be softer and more caring to you?