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A Kind Gift for your Inner Critic

Acts of kindness are gifts that go a long way in helping others during challenging times. We often are kinder to others than we are to ourselves, especially when there is that disrupting voice within - our inner critic.

I have found that a vast majority of people have and are familiar with the part of them that is their inner critic. It is that voice in your head that may tell you that you are worthless or not good enough. It may reprimand you like a parent would for saying or doing the wrong thing. In his enlightening book "The Untethered Soul", Michael Singer describes the inner critic as a neurotic inner roommate that chatters incessantly and does not give you peace even while taking a shower.

It is not surprising to not like your inner critic but according to the Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapeutic method, your inner critic has been a part of you since you were a child and its intention is to help not hurt. It is more harmful to be in conflict with the inner critic than to treat it with kindness and befriend it.

Internal Family Systems is a psycho-spiritual nonpathological approach that I have recently learned and practice personally and professionally. It has been added as an Assist component to Acknowledge, Assess, Assist within my 3-A Coping Framework alongside other Assist coping methods such as mindfulness and grief processing, Internal Family Systems was originally devised over 40 years ago, operating under the notion that we are each made up of an inherent essence and communicative parts that protect us with positive intention. The inner critic is one of those protecting parts and is one of the most common..

In the video "Understanding Our Inner Critic" IFS founder, Dr. Richard Schwartz suggests that instead of dreading or depending on the inner critic, address it with curiousity. He says it is usually young and operates to protect you the only way it knows how. He also suggests that, as preposterous as this sounds, you can come to feel compassion for it and how hard it has worked.

A vital objective of applying Acknowledge, Assess, Assist is to be able to monitor yourself with awareness. For dealing with your inner critic, you can start with awareness - simultaneously acknowledging your inner critic, assessing your reaction and assisting by observing rather than getting turned upside down by it. The attempt to understand your inner critic could be more beneficial than fighting it. It's an act of kindness for yourself.


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