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  • alisonfaraday1

Did you know we all have a Critical Inner Voice?

Updated: Jul 5, 2023

We all have a Critical Inner Voice (also known as our Inner Critic or Critical Voice), this could also be called our Conscience; it helps us to make choices that are not going to harm anyone. In other words, this inner voice keeps us on the straight and narrow and guides us to make ‘the right’ or socially acceptable choices.

It also has another function; it protects us from negative comments and behaviours of others and avoids you getting into trouble. In other words, our critical voice is driven by fear.

In order to protect us it uses criticism. This works really well, it makes us feel bad by using our shame, not kind but it gets results.

You could say it ‘gets the comment in’ first before anyone else does and in doing so, it keeps you safe (you avoid being told off or worse).

The critical voice can be very motivating too, if you think of The Carrot and the Stick for getting you to do something, then the critical voice would definitely be using the stick method! As all dog owners know the reward method has been found to get the best results by trainers for years and is the only method now used, the RSPCA would be knocking on the door of anyone using the stick method. So why do we still use punishment on ourselves for motivation?

The reason is that at some point in your life this mechanism is likely to have been very useful, possibly when you were quite young. Often the critical voice sounds like a particular person in your life using their words or even their voice but for others,, it uses their own voice.

However, now that you are grown up it is likely that you do not need protecting in this way anymore, the trouble is that your Critical Inner Voice does not know this and until you become aware that you have this voice and what it’s purpose is everything will carry on as before.

So, what can you do about it? Well, now you know it is there. See if you can notice your’s, what words it uses, what tone of voice it uses, does it speak in someone else’s voice and if so, can you identify who’s?

Next, when you notice it can you change the words it uses to kinder ones? Think about how you might say the same thing to your best friend, I bet you would use kinder words to them😊

Can you appreciate and understand the important job this part of you have been doing, usually for a long time? Ponder this from time to time and how you don’t need to be kept safe like this anymore.

This all takes practice but over time and with perseverance, your critical voice will relax back into the useful role of conscience.

It's good to remember that we all have a critical voice, it's just that for some it's louder and more critical than for others but with the knowledge that it is there and why it is there means that it can be allowed to relax back and just be our conscience.

And if you would like to know more about this or you are finding taming your critical voice more challenging than you would like, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.


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