Dialoguing with Your Inner Critic
April 30th, 2009
A few weeks ago, I had a Couching session (sort of like coaching) with Sark (completely awesome by the way.) One of the things we discussed was talking with your inner critic. She recommended the book, Embracing Your Inner Critic by Hal and Sidra Stone, which I've just started reading. The idea of dialoguing with a part of yourself reminds me of the work that Havi talks about on her blog quite a bit. It's new to me and I admit, it feels a bit strange to try, but it can be incredibly effective.
It's amazing how much wisdom we hold, if we just give ourselves the chance to answer.
Within the same week, I took an art journal class with the lovely, Lisa Sonora Beam, and dialoguing with your inner critic came up again. I told Lisa about the discussion I'd had and she gave me a few questions to start with.
Later on, I drew my inner critic in my art journal, which intuitively came to me as a bird/human with winged/clawed hands, I wrote the questions next to my inner critic creature, and then drew speech bubbles to allow it to answer. This is the page:
What kind of surprised me about the process was the realization that my inner critic is not out to get me. Yes, it causes a lot damage. Yes, it can create a lot of self-inflicted pain. But I felt some tenderness for my inner critic when I saw some of the reasons behind its behavior.
I asked my inner critic, "What are you here to teach me?" and it answered, "I am here to teach you how to dig deep and let go. If you persevere past the initial fear, you'll get there."
Hmm, apparently my inner critic likes to rhyme! Ha!
I then asked, "What are the next steps?" and the answer came, "Be still. Listen to your intuition. Write."
Next, I asked, "What would support me?" and my inner critic responded, "Less clutter. Walks. Journaling. joy - laughter - silliness - light-heartedness - play."
Lastly I asked, "What do you need me to know?" And it replied, "I am your inner critic, yes, but I love you and want you to succeed."
Wow. O.k. Good to know.
Give this a try: Take a deep breath, close your eyes, and imagine what your inner critic looks like. Without thinking too much about it, draw your inner critic on a piece of paper or in your art journal (you don't need to be an artist to do this. Stick figures can do the job. Or you could pull magazine images that represent what your inner critic looks like and glue them to the page.)
Write the questions you want to ask your inner critic and then draw speech bubbles. Let your pen move across the page and answer in the voice of your inner critic. Don't worry too much about whether this is silly or not what your inner critic would say. Just write down the first thing that comes to mind. What comes up for you? What does your inner critic need you to know?