Beliefnet
Ending Self-Sabotage

inner criticOn your path of spiritual growth, it’s important to know what you’re up against.

A nearly universal obstacle to inner peace and productivity is the inner critic. The inner critic doesn’t care who you are or what you have done. It is only interested in tearing you down. When you make a mistake, it criticizes you. When you succeed, it criticizes. When you’re doing nothing at all, it criticizes you!

If you recognize the symptoms of the inner critic, you’ll know the cause. Then, you can pour your efforts into a solution that works for you. Remember, a well-defined problem seeks it own solution.

Here are five signs to look for….

1. You believe you are immune to self-criticism.

This is odd, but it is a near sure sign that your inner critic is silently taking a toll on your psyche. Denial of the inner critic is often a sign that it is winning, especially if you aren’t happy. So many of us simply don’t want to admit that we are  hard on ourselves. In the meantime, the inner critic is whispering away.

People who don’t get trapped by their inner critic are usually open to the fact that they can be hard on themselves. How can this be true? Self-criticism is a universal phenomenon. Everyone is affected. Moving beyond it requires consciously dealing with it.

 2. You can’t keep a quiet mind.

When you pray, meditate or merely attempt to sit quietly, your inner critic sees this as an opportunity to launch an attack. You might be whispering to yourself:

You can’t do this.
You’re  not worthy.
You’re wasting time again.

3. You compare yourself unfavorably to others.

Everyone compares themselves to others. If you consistently feel less than others, however, the comparison is fueled by your inner critic. Reasonably, we all know that unfavorable self-comparisons aren’t valid. Everyone operating under unique circumstances and the comparisons don’t really make sense.

The inner critic isn’t interested in making sense, however. It’s interested in criticizing. The success of others is as good an opportunity as any to take a shot at your self-esteem.

The moral of the story? Your inner critic is real. If you see yourself at all in this post, then consider making your next personal growth project one that confronts the ubiquitous nature of the inner critic. When you’ve achieved peace of mind (and you can) you’ll be so glad you did.

Mike Bundrant is author of Your Achilles Eel: Discover and Overcome the Hidden Cause of Negative Emotions, Bad Decisions and Self-Sabotage. This book is written from the perspective of the inner critic and leads to uncommon healing insights.