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  • Writer's pictureMollie Maxwell

Living with the inner critic

Many of our self critical thoughts stem from childhood and can influence our wellbeing throughout our whole life .

It is useful to be able to learn how to develop a compassionate relationship with ourselves . Easier said than done, but entirely achievable.

Our inner critic is often there just on the sidelines ready to belittle, criticise and judge us with a relentless destructive chatter known as "automatic negative thoughts." it magnifies the negative, spreading discontent and undermines our wellbeing . This is also know as the Saboteur or Alter Ego

A child depends upon their parent for survival and the conscious acknowledgement of a parents cruelty or incompetence is too devastating, so it is safer for the child to turn the criticism inwards rather than outwards and to therefore blame the self for suffered misfortunes . Therefore a sensible survival mechanism in childhood can turn into a handicap in adulthood.

We may believe we are unloveable, not good enough, ugly or stupid and our inner critic broadcasts messages that we believe. The inner critic can also make us hyper vigilant, constantly anxious and magnify the bad while minimising the good.

There are two methods frequently used for dealing with the inner critic.


Cognitive Behavioural Therapy attempts to oppose these thoughts and confront them with the facts that is designed to discredit the " fake news " . The use of a journal to note down what and when these thoughts occur , the recording of thought processes and how to change those thoughts around to the positive.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy lets us accept these, move on and let them go. The use of self talk such as " Thank you inner critic, you've had your say. Now go". or " It is just thoughts and words, it is not the REAL ME, because I am ........."


In order to practice self compassion, we should treat ourselves as we would like to be treated or as we treat others. Don't judge yourself too quickly. Accept your perceived shortcoming and promote your character strengths.

It may be useful to use release statements such as " It is OK to be ........... "

" I know I am better than that "


Attributed to Seph Pennock. PositivePsychology. com

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