Reflection 5 of 6

Getting in touch with the inner critic

David February 14, 2023

The Inner Critic VoiceSaboteur perspective or inner leader perspective

We all have voices that echo inside our heads – some are helpful, and some are not. That hurtful voice is sometimes called the “inner critic” (Elliott, 1992), “impostor syndrome,” or “saboteur perspective.”

The negative thoughts that characterize self-critic can become problematic when we believe these thoughts to be true.  In these cases, the judging voice of the self-critic strongly influences our feelings and actions. A powerful way to reduce the effect of self-critical thoughts is by observing them.  Rather than being fully identified with negative, self-critical thoughts and believing them to be true, observation involves the ability to stand back and witness them.  This ability has been referred to as “reperceiving” (Shapiro, Carlson, Astin, & Freedman, 2006), “decentering” (Safran & Segal, 1990), and cognitive defusion (Hayes, 2011). This reflection was designed to take an observational stance and consider our inner critic from an outsider’s perspective.