Taming the Inner Critic with Meditation
If you’re like me, all too frequently your mind wonders off into a jungle of negative thoughts causing stress, anxiety or depressed mood. Like little kids taunting you on a playground, your Inner Critic harasses you with nasty messages such as: You’re not good enough. Keep trying harder. You don’t have time to rest and meditate. You don’t have time to schedule a day to play with your friend. Keep going. Complete that next task. The Inner Critic relentlessly cracks the whip.
Trying harder has helped you succeed. You’re smart. You are a high achiever. You excel in many ways, but still, way down deep inside, you may feel the pangs of anxiety. If you pulled back the covers of your psyche and told the truth to yourself, you feel a nagging kind of emptiness. Your health may be worse for the wear, and your intimate relationships may be less than fulfilling. Sound familiar?
Let’s look deeper to understand the core of this suffering. This is my best guess: You do not feel loved for just being you, just as you are, especially when you feel emotionally insecure. That feeling hurts a lot. I know. I’ve been there, too.
If you are curious about my personal journey with this issue, read my story: The Only Time I Saw My Father Cry
The good news is we can neutralize the destructive voice of the Inner Critic that tells us we are not good enough and makes us feel unloved. We can get in touch with the unconditional love that is our birthright. This is a psychological and spiritual issue.
I believe that God loves us no matter what. God’s love does not depend on how well we jump through hoops. God’s love does not depend on how well we please our father, mother, spouse or boss. God loves us because God is unconditional love, and God made us in God’s image. We are love. That is our true identity. But many times, we lose sight of this truth and that causes suffering. Suffering becomes an unconscious habit. We feel like Sisyphus pushing the boulder uphill every day, only to have it roll back down every single day.
It helps to ask ourselves: In what ways am I unwilling to love myself? Do I think it is selfish to develop positive self-esteem? How can I shift my interpretation from “I’m not good enough” to “I’m good enough just as I am?”
Start with a prayer. “Dear God, help me open and receive your love. I choose to open my mind and heart. I choose to stop blocking you out. Quiet the voice of my Inner Critic now. I unplug the cords of my “not good enough” beliefs and let them fall to the ground. I plug into your Heart. I am willing to receive your love now. I take a deep breath in, and allow You to touch me now. Shower me with your love and light right now. I breathe in your love, and I breathe out worry. I let it go. I make a space in my heart for your love to live big in me. I choose to see myself the way you see me. I choose to draw my energy from You, my source of all love, wisdom and power. Thank you, God, for loving me all the time, in all the ways I am. Amen.”
With daily meditation such as this, we train our brains to pay attention to constructive thoughts and feelings. The more we train our minds to focus, the easier practice becomes. Then, we stop getting swept away by the destructive Inner Critic. Just like when we work out at the gym, the more we practice day after day, the stronger our muscles become.
Look at this amazing research. Dr. Daniel Goleman is the author of Emotional Intelligence that sold 500 million copies. His latest book, Focus: the Hidden Driver of Excellence, includes brain research which indicates that daily meditation develops physical neuropathways. The brain actually changes! With daily meditation, we have an easier time achieving excellence in performance along with experiencing inner peace, creativity, and better health. Dr. Goleman also states that meditation helps us develop our ability to regulate uncomfortable emotions such as sadness, worry and anxiety.
There are many forms of meditation. Dr. Goleman states that every religion has its meditations, and there are non-religious forms of meditation, too. At the core, they all bring our attention back to focus on one thought, idea or feeling.
Meditate every day to achieve success in regulating your emotions and to achieve top performance.
I developed a CD called “The Journey Into Wholeness” to help you develop the ability to meditate, relax, develop creativity and reduce your Inner Critic’s messages.
With soothing music in the background, my calm voice helps you imagine scenes that eliminate worry and anxiety. You’ll develop spiritual intimacy, your source of all love, healing, wisdom, and power. With daily practice, you’ll develop your ability to focus on your true nature, your Authentic Self and tame the Inner Critic. You’ll feel loved the way God loves you. Your ability to achieve excellence will rise while resting in inner peace.
To listen to an audio sample of “Journey into Wholeness” and purchase the CD, click here.
Dr. Goleman asserts: Anyone who is at the top of their game, e.g., sports, music, scholastics, has had mentors and coaches who helped them continuously improve. He suggests that 10,000 hours of practice will help you get to the top of your game. But if you practice a bad golf stroke for 10,000 hours, you will still have a bad game. An expert coach tells you what to improve and what to practice next. Amateurs work on something for 50 hours and then stop practicing.
Purchase your “A Journey into Wholeness” CD here.
Author: Benita A. Esposito, MA is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Spiritual Counselor in private practice in Atlanta and Blairsville, Georgia. She works with adults in individual and couples therapy with an emphasis on mind-body-spirit healing and success skills. Contact Benita for private consultations or to attend intensive transformational Retreats at the Florida beach or the Blue Ridge Mountains of north Georgia.