Facing, and Dismissing, the Inner and Outer Critic

critic, inner critic, outer critic, judgment, emotions, creative expression, creative katrina, blog

I can’t put this any simpler; we all face a judgy inner critic that drones on in our mind, and an outer critic (the world) that sprinkles our eyes and ears with nonsense and comparisons. It’s what can turn our self expression into an age old battle between ego (what makes us look good to ourselves and others), and heart (what we really feel and want to express.) 


This struggle is the discordant energy that shapes us as people, like wind against beautiful sandstone in the desert. It helps us drill down into what we really want to say, do, and be. The resistance we encounter internally and externally inspires us to dig deeper and explore core of our uniqueness, then build the clarity and confidence to express it. 


Despite the fact that this dynamic is part of the human experience, we still have to figure out a way to work through it. Well, OUR way to work through it.


To face the inner and outer critic, and actually grow from the experience, there’s an important, yet non-intuitive thing we need to do first.


Listen to them both without judgment.


To live a life of truth where we feel free to explore who we are, and aren’t, requires us to manage our reactions to the negative chatter in our head and from the world around us. 


Take note of the critic’s words and exactly what messages repeat. Observe and track the emotions that rise within, too, and if they are tied to certain phrases or situations. If many feelings overlap at once, which is the strongest? 




A combination of all these and more?


And which type of critic is louder? The voice in our head, or the ones in print or online?


We have no control over external things, and at times, our emotions can be overwhelming, too. This is why understanding exactly what we feel underneath our discomfort is the most powerful tool, as well as our biggest ally and friend. It allows us to get a deeper understanding of what triggers us and what we are being asked to heal. 


As we bring awareness to these triggers and distinctions, as well as how each type of critic creeps into the cracks, we begin to notice something else, too.


How the voice we hear changes over time.


When we are young it focuses on proving ourselves and “making it”; focusing on ideals and expectations.


By middle age it slips into, “I’m too old, broken, unprepared, or busy” to break out past these walls of disappointment and create something completely new. We question what we value, and if what we’ve created until now has been a waste.


Even further down the line, we may become too set in our ways, unwilling to try and break the spell of the familiar song that tells us that we aren’t good enough, shouldn’t bother, or could have been something great, if…


The next time the inner critic, or an outer critic, makes you feel less than, be still. Sit with the feeling. Be willing connect with the emotions and the messages they carry.


And create with it.


Use the emotion to fuel creative expression, to lead towards working out what no longer needs to sit in the mind and consciousness. Write, paint, draw, dance, sing, craft, take pictures – do the thing that feels hard to do. 


Then find a way to be grateful for the emotion revealed by the experience.


Our inner critic will quiet it’s parrot-like voice when we soothe it. Tell it we are fine. Let it know we are safe, and can absolutely DO THIS. Because we CAN.


At the same time, external critics won’t shake our confidence or motivation when they do say something, because their words and actions no longer matter. They are the sandstone we’ve pushed against to learn, grow, and understand how to believe in ourselves. As a result, they’ve helped us build a beautiful crevice to let in the sunlight that shines on our true creative voice and talents.


And the best part of facing, and dismissing the “critics”… the mind becomes aligned with our real heart-centered voice.


The heart voice becomes “wired” into our mind so we begin to hear positive things instead of negative ones, and stop shutting out our intuitive guidance. We pull the good straight out of the bad. We stand up for ourselves with others, and draw boundaries around what we will accept and take into our heart space.


This is how we meet and greet the inner and outer critic, by connecting to the heart of what we desire, deserve, and are capable of, and letting it speak through all we create, moving past fear and judgment to the other side.


Then we can finally say “Bye Felicia” to all the voices that do nothing but dull our bright, shiny creativity.


Want to read something on a similar topic? Check out Break the Code and Leave Behind Limiting Emotional Patterns and The Power of Faith in the Creative Process. If you want to talk in more detail about getting more focused or working through a creative block, connect with me for creativity coaching. Interested in tips on how to tap into your inner wisdom? Check out my podcast, Flirting With Enlightenment.