Don't Let Your Inner Critic Get You Down!

Using SoulCollage® for Inner Awareness and Understanding

Posted 2/7/06 | Updated 9/12/20


Let me introduce you to Ethel, my own personal inner critic. She's annoying, persistent, usually angry about something, and (amazingly enough) sounds a bit like my mother.

Listen to her for a minute. Does any of this sound familiar?

SoulCollage Card Created by Anne Marie BennettI am the one who criticizes everything you do, who scowls up at you and stops you from doing whatever brings you the most joy.

I am the one who thinks you are fat and ugly, who questions why people cherish you so much.

I am the one who pops up from the sewer of your mind and offers nothing but sludge to slow you down.

I am the one who says, "No you can't… No you shouldn't… Why bother? What will everyone think?"

I am the one who draws big X's in the shadowy dirt of your mind.

I am the dream-crasher.

I am the one who can't stand to see you happy because happiness never lasts and you might as well not even feel that way in the first place.

Chances are, you have an "Ethel" in your own head too. If you start listening closely this week, you will find that you've given your inner critic an extravagant amount of power. Ethel has stopped me (among other things) from any number of artistic possibilities, including (right now) the amount of weekly time I'm allowing myself to spend at my art table (ie: none).

So what do I do? Do I give in to her and allow my watercolors and collage supplies to gather dust in my art corner? Do I believe her when she tells me I am fat and ugly and not worthy of being loved?

Absolutely not! The practice of SoulCollage® teaches me to sit still and spend a little time with each of my inner voices, even the ones who seem intent on harming me. So that's what I've been doing with Ethel: listening to what she has to say underneath all the put-downs and derogatory comments. Just listening.

Do you know what I heard her saying this week, after weeks and months of dialoguing with her?

I am the one who is protecting you from others' criticism. See? I criticize you first, and then it doesn't hurt so much when someone else doesn't like you or your work.

You can have what you want, you know. Your dreams are yours for the taking, actually, but not as long as I have this much power.

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Inner Reflection:

Become aware of your own inner critic this week. Make a list of all the things he/she tells you as the days go by. Notice your own reaction to what your inner critic is telling you — do you believe the insults and criticisms, or are you able to shrug them off and go on about your business?

Make a SoulCollage® card to honor this part of you. Be sure to wait until you've found the exact right image(s). Write a dialogue and see what your inner critic has to teach you. Remember that the inner critic is not always telling you the truth. Take away some of his/her power and watch what happens!

©2006 Anne Marie Bennett. All rights reserved.