Write a letter to your Inner Critic
Do you have one? An inner critic?
I’m sure you do. We all have one.
He can be more or less loud, he can be a nagging presence or just a lingering shadow at the back of your mind, but he is there.
And he is annoying because of his tendency to show up with the worst possible timing, holding you back when you should push forward, trying to envelop you in the warmth of your comfort zone when you should leave it behind.
There’s from very little to nothing you can do about him. He is there, and you can’t erase him.
But you can come to terms with him.
Well, you can write him a letter.
I did it. I wrote to my Inner Critic, who is a “she” and resembles Maggie Smith, trying to find common ground.
This is the result…
Dear Inner Critic
I take the liberty of addressing you in such a direct way because of our long-lasting acquaintance.
You have been there for a long time, a constant companion during my whole life. You have been precious because you taught me that I can always do better. You showed me commitment is the road to success and convinced me self-discipline is all I need.
However, you also taught me to fear others judgement, failure, and rejection to the point that my first instinct is to refrain from doing something if I’m not sure I can be very good at it.
But life isn’t like that.
I can’t choose to turn my back on new things just because I’m not sure to be good at them, and I can’t spend all my time getting ready for every possible adverse circumstance. I will never succeed in that.
I know, dear Inner Critic, you do all of this with the best of intentions. You want to protect me from ridicule and scorn, failure and humiliation and I thank you for your kind care. It’s just that school time is over, I finished University (thanks to God, to my family and to you too, Inner Critic) and now comes a time when I can’t evaluate my success on marks and grades.
I don’t want to dismiss you, but please… can we cooperate?
I’m sure we can. You are so smart that it won’t be difficult to find a way. There is just one little thing you have to acknowledge: I can fail.
Not only I can… I’m sure I will. Sooner or later I’ll fail in something. It happened before, and it will happen again because I’m only human while probably you’re not.
Can you endure my human nature?
I hope to hear from you not so soon.
As I said before, this isn’t enough to silence your Inner Critic completely, but it can be the first step to acknowledge his presence and get to know him (or her) better.
Ever heard the phrase “know your enemy”?
Writing to your Inner Critic is like corresponding with the most sceptical part of yourself. You can’t win the fight, she knows your weaknesses too well.
The best thing you can do to yourself is to work WITH and not AGAINST your Inner Critic. Let him protect you when you need it, and learn to disregard him when he is holding you back.
Tell me about your Inner Critic in the comments. Is he or she loud and cumbersome? Try to write him/her a letter and share it if you want!