Reflection: Shifting Your Response To Your Inner Critic

The next time you make a mistake, pay close attention to how your inner critic reacts to that situation.

Is the reaction positive and comforting? Or is it negative and judgmental? In a commonly referenced study by the National Science Foundation, we have between 12,000 and 60,000 thoughts per day – 80% of which are negative.

It’s easy to be hard on ourselves whenever we do something wrong. One reason this happens is that nobody else can hear the internal dialogue going on within us. And as a result, we can be as harsh and critical as we need to be.

But imagine if somebody close to you – a loved one or a friend – made that same mistake. Would you be just as angry? Or would you be more caring and merciful? Odds are, your reaction would fall in the latter category.

So the next time you make a mistake, pay attention to how you react to and treat yourself in that situation. Take note if the feelings are positive or negative. If they’re negative, try to respond with the same level of empathy as you would with someone you care about.

It takes practice and patience, but by replacing negative criticisms with compassion, you’ll make an unexpected shift in the relationship with your inner critic. And rather than dwelling on negative emotions, you’ll be better able to resolve the issue feeling supported with no further negative backlash.