Saturday, October 20, 2007

Goal: Kill the critic

Two days into my blogging, and I'm already behind. Not because I don't find the time to write, or that I get busy doing something else and forget, but because my internal critic keeps telling me that I have nothing of any importance to write. The same critic who tells me that anything I create is crap, that nobody would want it, that any idea I have for success is really going to be the source of my downfall. So I continue to make little items and keep them to myself. Or get an idea for a terribly cool new approach to my art, but at the first experiment fails my internal critic starts laughing at me and teasing, "I told you so, I told you so!"

So as I think about my goals for my blog, my Etsy site, and my SU business, I'm scratching all my previous notes about promoting my products, telling friends/family, creating focus, blah, blah, blah. That's all sideline. My real goal is to kill my internal critic. Shut that bitch up once and for all. Send her screaming to her grave while I let my internal artist out of her box and give her crayons, or paints, or glitter, or anything else her heart desires. And see what she does.

So, anyone know a good hit man?


Denise Felton said...

Great entry, Annie. We all have those pesky internal critics, constantly predicting our doom. Mine focuses primarily on ridicule. Maybe we don't have to kill them. Maybe we just have to find a way to make friends with them. I'll be thinking about that all day.

Debbie said...


I am so proud that you now have a have alot of talent to offer...Debbie

Lisa Bylander said...

You want I should take her out? I know a guy who knows a guy...badabing, badabang we'll get rid of that critic bitch...

Michael said...

this is an old post, so i doubt that anyone still checks. but on an off chance, I will share some of my insight on this matter.

The internal critic is an aspect of our psyche that extends far beyond just art projects and creative expression. It has its roots in our earliest childhood experiences and then develops into a full blown persona as we reach maturity. I like to look at it as our conditioned insanity. Everyone has this, and therefore, everyone is insane. It's just a matter of recognizing the degree to which it controls our lives.

The first thing to remember about this is that you are no less worthy or beautiful for having an internal critic. The critics fuel is negativity, "you are unworthy, you are a mess, no one loves you" etc. The most fundamental realization about this is that if we were to go and look for where this critic actually exists, we wouldn't find it anywhere. It is just a voice, a matter of opinion within our own minds.

What makes this matter tricky, is that we have identified with this voice for so long as actually being ourself! We hear that internal critic come out, and we respond to it as though it is true and as though it is actually us speaking. Practices like meditation help to create an internal space in which the critic can easily arise and slowly, the practitioner can drop his reactivity to the content.

The goal here is to stop adding fuel to the fire. For example, when the voice of the critic arises and says, "you are nothing, this is terrible, why don't you just quit now" there are a number of ways we can respond. We have been conditioned to react to that voice immediately and either fight it or believe it. But both of those approaches are still fueling the process and treating it as though it is both real and true. When those judgments can arise, and that expression is seen in the moment simply as a passing voice with no inherit reality or truth, then there is no reactivity to it, and its content can not take hold. In these moments of insight, when the critic is seen to be nonexistent, that is when it becomes mortally wounded. That is the beginning of the end of its existence. It doesn't mean that the rest of the process is an easy skip through the park. But it does mean that eventually and inevitably, the whole thing will unravel.

Taking this one step further, it is clear that often the critic arises with strong emotional content, and that is what makes the experience difficult. So instead of just hearing a voice, we actually feel inside of us that we are nothing, that we are unworthy. The trick here is to get to a space where we can allow those emotions to exist as they are, simply because they are there and unavoidable, but not get overrun by them. Something magical happens when we can truly experience an emotion that we have been fearing or turning from and we don't indulge in it. In a moment of what I would call grace, something arises from beneath or beyond these emotions and uproots them leaving only the cool breeze of self love and appreciation in its wake.

That is all for now.

I have said a lot here, and if you have any questions, you can email me at and I will be happy to help further.