Personal Development

How to befriend your inner critic

Learn how to harness the voice in your head that can be motivating you on one hand, and crippling you on the other.


Mica Vaipan : Performance and well-being coach. Works with startup leaders and their teams to help them reach their peak performance without compromising on wellbeing.

Dan Murray-Serter : Co-Founder of braincare company Heights , and host of our Braincare Podcast .

(Resources can be found at the bottom.)

  • The inner critic is only a perspective. Although it may not be the truth, it’s often worth listening to what that voice says.

  • Research indicates our ability to consciously suppress unwanted thoughts is nonexistent- we don’t have that ability. Ignoring emotions makes them stronger.

  • It is important to develop an inner coach voice that will help balance the inner critic within us.


I’m comparing myself to the expectations & milestones I wanted to hit by a particular age. How do I shift that expectation?

  • Your inner critic is presenting a resistance towards the change in the vision.

  • Our happiness = reality - expectations.

  • We set expectations and when we miss them, that makes us unhappy.

  • Happiness comes from living in the now . Create a new vision that inspires you and replaces the vision that has become outdated.

  • Be understanding that things haven’t gone to plan.

  • Ask yourself: how do you feel you have learned from the experience of things not having gone to plan?

I’m second-guessing my career choice comparing myself to successful people and feel like I know nothing. What do I do?

  • Our inner critic can be loud and cause anxiety that prevents us from enjoying the work we’re doing in the moment.

  • Understanding and journaling can be a great form of understanding your inner critic. Putting your thoughts on paper can help you liberate your brain, lighten the burden, and help you achieve a sense of flow and enjoyment on a day-to-day basis.

  • The only thing we can do is focus on what we’re doing daily.

  • Practice mindfulness- try to self-distance from those thoughts.

How do I fight my inner critic?

  • Our inner critic is an essential part within us.

  • It’s not the function that’s problematic, but instead the way it’s executed.

  • The nature of our inner critic’s feedback is almost always negative and comes out in a harsh and unsupportive manner.

  • It is impossible to consciously suppress internal thoughts and emotions. Resisting them will only make them stronger, leading to a more violent and furious reaction.

  • Instead, leaning into our inner critic will teach us to value, understand, and learn from them.

Techniques to Reframe the Voice of the Inner Critic

  • Focus on evaluating your behaviour as opposed to yourself.

  • For example, instead of saying “I’m a lousy boss” focus on the behaviour and the things that happened. It sounds like this: “well actually, snapping at my colleague wasn’t very thoughtful or constructive.”

  • Rephrase your inner critic's message as if you were to give it to a best friend.

  • Combining your inner coach and inner critic creates a winning team.

Perfectionism and It’s Downsides

  • Perfectionism is vilified, we often think of it negatively.

  • The costs of perfectionism are outweighed by the benefits. Rather than taking a black and white approach, think of how it serves you.

  • I’d like to invite you to think of it not as a negative force, but something that is part of you and contributes to your success.

Understand Your Inner Critic & The Empty Chairs Technique

  • This technique is a talk therapy exercise in which you express your thoughts as if you were talking to a specific person.

  • Place two chairs facing each other. Sit in one, and imagine your inner critic in the other chair.

  • You can have a full conversation with them and try to explore and understand what’s driving the harsh behaviour and thoughts.

  • This can be a catalyst practice to develop a friendlier relationship with your inner critic.


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