Everyone knows about the inner critic. Or critics. I once worked with a woman who had a whole committee panel on her case. We know the critic is a bad thing so we resist it, right? When a friend is resisting your good advice, have you noticed that you try a little harder to make them hear you, to convince them?
I am going to describe here an exercise I learned from Dina Glouberman. It's in her book 'Life Choices, Life Changes.' Yup, it's on Amazon. In Dina's book she sets out the clear steps but let me just outline it for you here.
But have you ever really turned to face the voice of your critic? (Or does it just grumble in the background as a mood or limiting body feeling?) Take a moment to visualise it, characterise it (as a cartoon character, fussbudget, headmistress, ogre)? Have you ever taken a moment to generously suppose that your critic intends a good outcome for you? Yes I know they are not expressing it very well, that's why you have to get good at communicating with it and negotiating with it. If you can assume that they want the best for you - that you succeed, that you are happy or safe in your life, then you can thank them for their good intentions for you. This should calm the charge around the critic voice.
For full power this exercise is done in two chairs and you swap back and forth to hear and speak and respond as yourself and also as the critic, each in his turn. See the book, above.
Now it's up to you to re-language. Say your critic were to respond by saying that what they wish for you is 'that you avoid making a fool of yourself' you can make that more specific and useful by rephrasing as 'so that you do well'. I have known people to get from an extreme critic give a vitriolic: 'You are so worthless you would be better off dead' - translation: 'I wish for you a cessation of suffering'. Great, an elimination of the suffering the critic's voice has been imposing will free up so much more flow in your life.
So next you say - 'Thanks for your intention and all your efforts. I want you to know that I have a different way to get that goal now'. Or: 'Your way of speaking to me is not helping me get what you want for me.' Or: 'The goal you have for me is not one I choose to pursue.'
You are re-framing your aims and setting a clear boundary.
Now you can reward the poor old critic who has spend endless energy on your behalf with either a holiday or comfortable retirement. Tell them where you are sending them, get their agreement, notice how they feel, pack their bags. Some critics need never be called upon again.
Some people, doing this exercise, realise that their critic has skills that could be useful. Years ago I discovered my critic, Miss Swift, was great at clear-sighted organisation, something my bohemian self was in need of and grateful for.
And then you make a deal - 'Here's what I ask: that you go on holiday and stay away. But may I call on you and make an appointment for 10 minutes to get your advice if I need it?' (You choose the time slot and the hour and day).
Done. Critic transformed into resource. Go create.