Are you wondering whether it’s even possible to silence our critical mind? Here’s a tried and trusted personal instructional exercise for you to experiment with.
Inner criticism, experienced by most of us, happens quite unconsciously. We don’t even realize how often it takes place and how deep it goes until we lose belief and confidence in ourselves and start thinking that we’re not worth much.
Where does the inner critic come from?
Inner judgment and criticism have roots in our childhood when we were forming our personalities and getting exposed to a wider environment that reflected on us and we reacted back to.
During this time, our minds developed certain mechanisms mostly to protect us and to make us fit our immediate circles.
Observing our environment, we created rules and obligations for our inner-self to follow and abide by, to measure up to the standards of others, and fulfil the idea they had about how we shall look, act and behave.
In this process, we created the self that was judged by how much it measured up to the standards of our mind, and however much we tried, we often failed in our strict attempts to be perfect which made the long way for the criticism and judgment.
The truth is, we could have never achieved those standards, simply because of being unique human beings that can’t be compared to others whose essence, life, story, personality, behaviour, and looks are by default different from us.
You didn’t have wrong intentions, but an inability to see a bigger picture to this and your true value and essence.
Unfortunately, we don’t go so far as children to see a bigger picture and our true value and essence of our selves and without this insight, we may even lose the idea about who we truly are which allows the inner critic to live with us for a very long time.
How to eventually silence their voice?
I am a Transformation Coach, so what follows next isn’t just a description of an educational kind you’d read and forget about a few hours later. I provide you with an actual instructional guide (tried, tested, and proven successful), requiring your active participation to test yourself and learn how to let go of your inner criticism. For the good.
1. Acknowledge the uniqueness of your self the way it was created
The same self that you buried under the many protective layers of personas that are not truly you, with alien beliefs and behaviours inspired by the outer, not your inner world.
This initial self is unique, magnificent, and beautiful by default, just the way it’s always been.
There’s a set of powerful tools to follow to enable this process, but the most important of all is this realization. The steps described below are inspired by the teachings of Brandon Bays from her book ‘Freedom Is’. I drew the essential information out of it and adapted it to create a clear and easy to follow process that worked for me and my clients.
2. Forgive yourself for being a hard judge on yourself
Create a peaceful meditative environment and make sure you can be alone during this time. Close your eyes and imagine a campfire and your current self as well as your young self of the age you choose, standing close to it. Approach your younger self and talk to it honestly and openly.
Start by telling your younger self something along these lines:
‘’I do apologize to you for all my judgment. I was very hard on you. It was irrelevant what you did and how hard you tried; it was never enough because my expectations were too high. I was very strict with you. I tried to make you fit in and when you didn’t, I ended up judging you and I am very sorry for that. I am sorry I’ve forgotten to see the real beauty and grace in you. I wrongly believed others and their ideas and expectations about how you shall be, look and behave. I forgot to notice the true You. I am very sorry. I hope you can forgive me.’’
Then, imagine your younger self receiving the message and looking back at you. However long this takes, allow it to happen. Open your arms widely for your younger true self to come to you and find love, care, respect, and understanding in you. Allow all emotions you’ll feel and the time to accept the forgiveness for all your judgment.
Again, speak to your younger self and image wrapping your arms around him/ her and hugging him/ her with all your love.
‘’I am sorry for trying to change you to be like others. I am sorry for judging you cruelly every time that something didn’t go as I expected. I am giving you my promise that it is changing from now on. There was never any need for this judgment — all the expectations and rules were impossible to meet. I am sorry for all that was. From now on, I will only see the light, love, and simplicity of grace in you which is your true essence.’’
Imagine you are taking a big old heavy coat full of pain off the arms of your younger self. And throwing in the fire in front of you.
3. Share love, acceptance, and knowledge with yourself
This step requires your own experience, creativity, and imagination.
Think of 3 physical items you’d like to symbolically give to your younger self as a present from you. It can be a toy you loved as a child, a symbol of your favourite activity i.e. paints and paintbrushes, your favourite book, notebook and a pen, a bouquet of flowers, a musical instrument, a model plane, train, etc. (Brandon uses a set of colourful balloons.) The most important is your personal resonance with the gift.
The first item represents love to yourself.
Gift it to your younger self. And allow your younger self to take and absorb the love represented by this item and to fill up by it completely.
The second gift represents self-acceptance.
When you feel the acceptance of love is completed,then gift yourself with the second gift of self-acceptance.And again, allow your younger self to completely absorb its essence for as long as it needs to be.
The third is a gift of knowledge.
The knowledge that you are unique, magnificent, and beautiful being, a part of the divine being. After allowing a complete acceptance, allow your younger self to merge completely with your today’s self. And imagine the light of the campfire creating a shield surrounding both of you and all around you.
When you feel that the process is completed, breathe deeply for some time and then slowly open your eyes.
Since now, you’re ready to live in the freedom of self-acceptance without the disturbing critical inner voice.
To make this exercise more convenient and efficient — read the process guide a few times before you start. You can record the forgiveness part on your phone beforehand, and then play it as you move on through the process. And then, allow yourself to find your own way to execute it in your meditative silence.
I am keen to hear about your experience and feedback on the exercise, even if you’d have questions before trying it. Feel free to get in touch to discuss more.
I wish you a proactive weekend full of joy!