Much has been written about the inner critic and yet it is still here driving most of us up the wall. Given all of the work so many people do to heal and release themselves from the scourge of the inner critic, it is interesting that so far we humans have not been able to free ourselves. Why is that?
How Do We Get An Inner Critic?
The inner critic seems to be a universal form of human baggage created in our early years to get us to fit into the social world of our birth. Because it is dangerous to us to think our caretakers might not have our best interests at heart, we develop a facet of ourselves to “manage” our behavioral inclinations so that our actions do not get us punishment or worse, abandonment.
In addition, this inner critic provides a mechanism for transferring the values, ideas, traditions, rules, roles, expectations, etc of our social group to us as individuals, securing as a result, a willingness on the part of our social milieu to support us.
The inner critic is a form of protection so that we are not abandoned early in life, however, it also makes sure that our real and authentic self is hidden safely away so that it cannot be harmed by those in our world who are unfriendly toward our natural wholeness. As adults, we need to reclaim those parts of ourselves that have been neglected and rejected in order to reintegrate them into our functioning personality.
Different Kinds Of Inner Critics
When we talk about the inner critic we usually say, “the inner critic”. Suppose that we each have a different inner critic? Suppose we feel compatible with those who have inner critics like ours?
Have you ever gone home to discover that even if home was not a happy place, you felt a sense of home on the inside that seemed puzzling? I know I have and I believe that is because we have an inner energy that connects with the energies of our family that even if we have moved on through healing still shows up in a feeling of belonging. Our inner critic plays a role with the inner critics of others in our family of creating a sense of belonging. We will get messages about what is OK and what is not. These status messages are meant for our inner critic and often activate the wounded child within us.
Now suppose this same dynamic exists for everyone else? And suppose the inner critics of men and women are different, and that inner critic varies by the many ways in which we are different: religion, social and economic class, and type of work to cite a few examples.
Acceptance And Diversity
If we are to affirm and support diversity how do we handle the diverse inner critics in the world? This is not a small matter since each culture and social group has its own language, customs, and measures of respect, decency, and worthiness.
How can we create belonging, honor the supportive role of the inner critic, and also allow greater authenticity for each individual? Our ability to create a more egalitarian world will require that we find more ways to create acceptance and doing so for the inner critic is one important step toward workable diversity.