Interrupting your Inner Critic


Part 2: Coaching your Inner Critic

Once you have identified your inner critic and decided that it has taken over too much of your thinking, the next step is to interrupt it. Breaking the cycle takes practice so patience and repetition are essential to making progress.


Here’s how this might work. First, you recognize that your inner critic is active. It is offering unkind judgments about something you or someone else is doing. There are several options to try at this point to find the ones that work best for you.

  • You can question your inner critic. Consider what, if anything, is true about what the critic has to say. Then, consider more generous alternatives to the critic’s commentary. What else might be true about the situation?

  • Walk away from the situation that is provoking your inner critic and do something else for a while.

  • Spend time journaling to discover or acknowledge what else is possible.

Each of these techniques require you to pause. They take your attention away from the immediate situation and give you an opportunity to consider other options and make a more conscious choice. Building your skill at finding opportunities to pause or interrupt your inner critic will increase self-awareness and reduce reactive responses — a boost to emotional intelligence.


By creating a habit of interrupting your inner critic, you will understand what sets your inner critic in motion and begin to create a new pattern of response. You will find yourself in a more compassionate mindset, giving you a broader range of choices of actions or responses to a particular situation. Reflection and self-awareness will give the inner critic less fodder and over time, it can become a much quieter, less intrusive thinking pattern.


For more reading on the power of reflection and how it leads to better outcomes, I recommend Kevin Cashman’s The Pause Principle. Other related, helpful resources include:

This post was originally published on Medium.com.