How To Silence Your Inner Critic / 9 | John-Paul Flintoff

John-Paul Flintoff

How To Silence Your Inner Critic / 9

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We've spent quite some time looking into the inner critic.

It's good work – but not something to spend too long on.

You've seen the impact of your critical thoughts – how they affect you, and how strongly.

Now I invite you to argue back with you inner critic.

If it helps, think of somebody you admire or love, and imagine that person is beside you now, offering support against your beastly inner critic.

If they were arguing FOR you, against your inner critic, what might they say?

Don't worry: answers don’t always come easily.

Let them come in their own time. Don't force anything. And don't resist.

It took me years to understand that there was even such a thing as RESISTANCE

It's a horrible thing. It turns your life into a struggle, when it really needn't be.

It gets in the way of experiences and opportunities that can be truly delightful…

One thing I resisted doing all my life was praying. 

I wasn't brought up that way, and as I grew up I persuaded myself that people who prayed must be very stupid. 

I was trying to win an argument about theology, and missing out on something.

I still don't have a formal religious belief, but I've spent a lot of time trying things out…

And (leaving aside any theological debate about God, which is quite a big thing to leave aside, but bear with me), I've come to see the practical effect of prayer:

It changes the person who does the praying.

When you actually get down on your knees, as I did with some Muslim friends, you really understand what submission means. 

And just uttering a generalised wish, like “May all beings be well” (a well known Buddhist sutra, addressed not to God, as such, but to something outside ourselves) you can find yourself invoking a gentler intelligence inside yourself. 

The writer Anne Lamott suggests that all prayer amounts, in essence, to saying one of the following:


Say these words as often as you can.

It will help you to silence your inner critic.

That wraps up this mini course.

Please let me know what you think. Not because I'm feeling needy (!), but because it's good to know:

a) what works well, and

b) what could be even better.

Now, I think you are ready for coaching.

Just fill in this form, to get a sense of what you might like to achieve with your life.

A copy of what you write will be sent to you when you've finished. I will see it too. But nobody else.