Essay

How to Kill Your Inner Critic

By Duff McDuffee on June 17th, 2016 1

I found this headline in the wild this week: “how to kill your inner critic.”

This idea appeals to a lot of people. I find this sad.

Here’s why:

  1. Killing parts of yourself doesn’t work.
  2. Attempting to do so creates inner conflict, the opposite of inner peace.
  3. It also makes you dumber by ignoring information. Think of a company who ignores feedback from angry customers.
  4. Inner violence tends to be projected outwards. How will you deal with outer critics if you kill your inner ones?
  5. Most people are already trying to kill, get rid of, ignore, or make wrong or bad parts of themselves they don’t like. Encouraging people to do so is more of the same. It’s literally criticizing yourself for engaging in self-criticism.
  6. Luckily, There are more useful things you can do with automatic inner criticizing like Core Transformation, or work with auditory submodalities, that can preserve the positive intentions of these unwanted parts of you. These methods involve self-compassion as well as sophisticated ways to change the tone of the message without killing the messenger.
  7. If you do it the inclusive way, you become more whole, and smarter too.

Now you might say, “but Duff, that’s just a headline! Obviously they don’t encourage people to actually kill off parts of themselves. It’s just a metaphor.” It is indeed a metaphor, however our metaphors are not meaningless. It’s been my experience that people don’t accidentally talk about psychological self-harm: the violence is part of the deep structure of their map of reality.

We can change this, but it takes good methods, and the time and effort to apply them.

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