Updated: Apr 11
My inner voice said things like "you're so stupid, why did you say that?" and was so stealthy that I rarely even heard it. Ann Weiser Cornell at Focusing Resources helped me slow the process down, listen carefully and tune into the voice that was criticizing. Since then I've learned to listen for that voice and give it a little time and space. Now instead of fueling a reaction, I can hold that part mindfully and gently, with kindness.
Next time you start to feel hijacked by that critical voice, try this:
"What did you say? Eh, I couldn't hear you?" Go ahead, listen to what the inner criticizing voice is saying. Even if it's saying "you idiot," at least you heard it.
Where do you feel it?
Lightly move your attention around your body to see how it feels...maybe tight and fluttery under the ribcage, or a squeezing around your heart.
"A few moments of feeling it in your body allows it to change. Let it inwardly be and breathe.” Eugene Gendlin (1986) Focusing.org
"What can I do to help you, are you worried about something?"
Sometimes that part will tell you what it's worried about. "I wonder if the way I said that sounded dismissive. Okay, I'm (the values-driven "me") is here and I don't want to make other people feel badly."
When it shifts
It might start with "you idiot," then after you spend a little time with it you might say, "well yeah, but I'm human and I'm going to make mistakes." Then you might be inspired to try something different. "Next time I'll say it more openly and ask for feedback. I'm actually looking forward to trying it again!"
It's both easy and not...
Yes, you can turn your inner critic into inner compassion. Try it. If you want to partner with someone as you delve into this process please reach out; let's talk...