It is tempting to go into fight or flight in response to such criticism. Even though it is just an inner voice, it feels real. This article gives you another option, which is to engage your inner critic in a very productive way.
Your inner critic does feel like “it” is attacking “you.” Such is not the case, however. The inner critic is really you. So, when you hear it say something like, “You are such an idiot!” The first move is to convert the “you” back into an “I.” Take ownership.
Secondly, the inner critic speaks with finality, as if it were stating an absolute, eternal and close-ended truth. Simply opening the closed end with the word “and” will reverse this subtle yet powerful presupposition.
Inner critic: You are such an idiot!
Aikido Master (You): (Not resisting, turning “You” into “I” and opening the closed end with “and…”) OK. I am an idiot, and…
Notice: You moved from saying, “You are an idiot” to “I am an idiot, and…”
You are no longer resisting what the inner critic (which is really just you) is saying. You are accepting it and even asking to know more. Facing inner criticism in this way requires courage. It also has a surprisingly disarming effect.
Inner critic: (Strange silence) That’s it. You are an idiot and I don’t like you.
You: Alright. I am an idiot and I don’t like myself, and….
Inner critic: (Puzzled – the lack of resistance has really affected things now) Well, we should do something about this, right?
You: (Picks up on the shift to “we” and honors it.) Ok, yes. We need to do something about this, and…
Inner critic: (Collapses into a unified voice and reveals its true intention.) I need to pay more attention to my diet, as I am getting dangerously off course!
You: That’s true!
When the inner critic merges with you, the move is complete. You feel whole again with respect to this problem. Self-integration has occurred and the true message has been delivered. The length of the inner dialogue will vary, depending on the circumstance and strength of the critic.
Beware: Your inner critic doesn’t want you to know these moves. It wants to remain forever nested within your psyche so it can continue to torment you. Don’t fall for it. Use this inner Aikido move every day until you don’t need to any longer.
Inner criticism is also a form of self-sabotage. Watch this free video to learn more about what self-sabotage is and how to end it. If you liked this article, like my Facebook page to keep up with all my stuff!
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Last reviewed: 10 Apr 2013