5 Steps to Heal Your Inner Critic and Return to Self-Compassion

Originally published in the Nov/Dec Box magazine. Written by Evelyn Kelly.

So you have a loud inner critic? That negative self-talk, or chitter chatter that goes on in your mind non-stop; telling you “you’re not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough…” “Who do you think you are, you’ll never get the job, the promotion, the house or the dream relationship.” Does that sound familiar? Here’s how to heal your inner critic and foster a more loving, compassionate inner dialogue to cultivate inner peace.

Why do we have an inner critic?
The inner critic is designed to keep you safe and small. Ultimately it’s there to protect you. But so often it feels like it does the complete opposite and makes you question yourself, feel anxious and unworthy and holds you back. Thousands of years ago, the inner critic was designed to keep you alive, but nowadays, our fears are often perceived fear of rejection or ‘failure’. Yet the inner critic perceives these to be dangerous so will tell you all the reasons why you shouldn’t do it, doubt you and throw nasty comments at you to avoid the perceived pain.

  1. Recognise your inner critic
    If she’s been running the show for a while now, it can be hard to differentiate her voice from your intuition. The best way to do this is by listening to the way in which she speaks to you but more importantly, how it makes you feel. The inner critic often has a lot to say, she’ll fire questions at you and ramble. It often feels tight, dark, constrictive, heavy, fearful. Your intuition often has less to say; sometimes it’s more of a gut feeling. Your loving intuition is your inner wisdom, a deep sense of knowing and feels light, expansive, open, loving and reassuring.

  2. Hear her out!
    If you just close the door on the thoughts and questions she’s firing at you, then so often she only gets louder. Remember she desperately wants to be heard so that you know of the potential ‘danger’. Sometimes, your inner critic will have some legitimate questions she wants answers to. This is where journaling can be a really supportive tool to allow her voice to be heard. Write down all that she is saying; her fears and concerns. It may be unpleasant to sit in the fear but know that it will pass.

  3. Review the evidence
    Ask yourself, is there any evidence to support these claims? Is there any truth in these bold statements? Most of the time, there is never any truth or evidence to back up your inner critic. Often it’s just potential fears or perceptions, but never facts. Go through and cross out all of her accusations that are false.

  4. Use your intuition for guidance
    Once you have allowed your inner critic to be heard and journaled it out, turn to your intuition for guidance. Perhaps you could ask your intuition “What do I need to know right now?” Answer any legitimate questions with love from your intuition. Often, after all the critiquing, the loving voice of your intuition will come through with a few words of reassurance and compassion. Use this to calm your inner critic. Remind her that you have totally got this!

  5. Review the evidence
    I highly recommend adopting a daily practise that allows you to ground yourself, come out of your head and back to your intuition. This could be through any number of the following - meditation, journaling, grounding time in nature, yoga, exercise or oracle cards to name a few. 

Evelyn Kelly is a Life & Confidence Coach and podcaster on a mission to support ambitious womxn to create unstoppable self-belief, inner confidence and own their self-worth. Evelyn is passionate about helping womxn to reclaim their power by dialing down their loud inner critic and people-pleasing tendencies, so that they can step into the world with confidence and authenticity. Through her one on one coaching programmes, courses, and podcasts, Evelyn’s soulful yet straight-talking approach gives womxn the tools to create inner-connection and empower them to be the fullest version of themselves and share their authentic magic with the world. Connect with Evelyn on Insta @evelynrobertakelly or check out her website evelynkelly.co.nz

Evelyn Kelly