Over the next several weeks practice noting your Inner Critic as you go about your daily life. Give this voice a nickname if you’d like.
1. Ask yourself, if someone were actually standing next to me and supplying the same commentary, how would I handle it? You’d probably respond with something like, Thanks anyway, but I’m leaving now.
2. Without getting sucked into debate, each time you notice the Inner Critic, take a pause.
3. Breathing in, recognize the voice of criticism, and whatever it’s implying about you or doing to your emotional state. Acknowledge that experience without needing to either banish it or rationalize it. This is how I feel right now: tired and insecure and angry.
4. Breathing out, let go. Instead of wrestling with self-judgment, see it for what it is, and turn your attention somewhere more useful. Focus only on the sensation of breathing as best as you’re able, without striving or forcing anything.
5. Wish yourself well, like you would a close friend in distress. Picture freedom, relief, or ease with each exhalation as an intention for now or sometime in the future.
This featured practice appeared in the June 2016 issue of Mindful magazine