“Taming the inner critic” journal exercise revisited.

PART 1:

With your dominant hand write all those nasty things your inner critic hacks away at you.

With your non-dominant hand, tell the inner critic off, tame it, write positive things about yourself.

This exercise allows those racing thoughts to purge out on paper with the hand you usually write with. Forcing yourself to write positive with your other hand, brings out the inner child who does not judge, allows you the time to slow down and concentrate. IT’S BRAIN GYM!

All you really need is the courage to be yourself. Your real value is rooted in who you are, not what you do. The only thing you need actually do is express your real self to the world.

~ Steve Pavlina, Personal Development for Smart People

PART 2:

Dance between taming the inner critic and it taming you. Allow it to guide you and also shut it up. Control it and let go. Be a bitch with it and befriend it. The critic has a life of its own, and needs its voice, but do not allow absolute power.

… Alas! though bards make verse sublime,
And lines to quote,
It takes a fool like me to rhyme
About a goat.

Robert William Service

PART 3:

Just sit in front of your journal and breathe. Now start drawing (or writing) without thought. Where does the journey take you if you release the obstacles the inner critic tries to place in your way?

PART 4:

Self-harm and inner critic exercise (with Jennifer Lyons).

Reflect on the reason we inflict pain on ourselves. Find a partner and sit and chat about your own versions of the inner critic. Chat about self-harm and what it means to you and hear and make note of how your partner expresses him or herself.

Numbing self… Am I alive? Am I real? Do I exist? Eliminate the pain by numbing self… The numbness becomes intolerable… Regain control by inflicting pain… Escapism… No one can see the pain on the inside, so make a physical manifestation… Invincibility… Regret… Shame. Guilt. Anger… Push those that care away as they don’t deserve to see your shame… The blame, shame game… Triggers and coping skills… The feelings are real…

Draw the human figure.

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Play with the image, cut it out. Glue it in your journal or on a board and process the inner critic around it.

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Jennifer processed with her usual full-on creative self. Always such a joy to watch.

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By Jennifer Lyons

It felt like I had to write for this process yet I also wanted to draw. This frustrated me initially. My writing within the piece reflects how I interpret how people see me. How I see my insides. I envision it uglier than what actually comes out. My perception is harsher.

– Jennifer Lyons

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