How To Disarm Your Inner Critic

“Judge nothing, you will be happy. Forgive everything, you will be happier. Love everything, you will be happiest.” ~Sri Chinmoy

Many of our thoughts are based in judgments of others. Generally, our judgment of others is an extension of self-judgment; and the self-judgment is so ingrained, so normal, we don’t even recognize it. But we can stop judging others and, more importantly, stop judging ourselves. Here are two steps that may help:

1) Acknowledge the inner critic is present.
The primary line of defense is simply to notice that it’s there. When seeing this habit with mindful awareness, we can note it for what it is—merely thoughts, and points of view, that are not necessarily true. We can let go of the thoughts and shift our attention to something else.

2) Focus on the positive.
An effective counterpoint to habitual negative fixation is to look for what is right or wholesome in others or oneself and to focus on those good qualities. That doesn’t mean we throw out discernment; it just means we don’t give preference to the negative. It is remarkable how that small shift can begin to bring more light into your inner and outer world.

What would it be like for you to look at the world, and the people in it, with more of a focus on the light, on what is positive and right? How would that change your state of mind? Perhaps it would lead you to see yourself in the same way — not as someone with a list of faults as long as your arm, but as someone who has strengths, talents, gifts, and a good heart.


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