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  • Writer's pictureHannah Marsh

Befriending the Inner Critic

The inner critic might feel like a fanged beast blocking your creative path. Like a mythic hero, you might draw your sword and fight, or wish upon some magical force to send it into exile. For many of us, this conflict uses up a great deal of creative energy - Peter Levitt suggests this is exactly what the inner critic wants. When we give all our energy and attention to the inner critic, we have little left for our creative pursuits.

Image by Mihail Ribkin

Levitt recommends using mindfulness to shift our attention from the inner critic's judgemental voice to our intended focus - our creative efforts. While redirecting focus sounds great, I think it misses a step. Especially with a persistent visitor like the inner critic, it can be worth getting to know it better. I'd like to suggest a playful approach.

What would happen if you imagined the inner critic as a friend? Although you can't - and probably wouldn't want to - have a coffee date with such a friend, you might approach the inner critic with an open curiosity. Where does it live in your body? What calls it into action? What quiets it? What does it want? By becoming more familiar with the inner critic, even visualizing it, you may find your relationship with it shifts. Instead of fearing or fighting the "beast," you might start to see it with more kindness and acceptance - perhaps even as a friend.

In our May Mindfulness & Creativity drop-in, along with our meditations, we'll continue this creative exploration of the inner critic.


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