The Inner Critic Exercise

THE CRITIC: that part of us or others, that criticizes us.

Common critics we have discovered: the productivity critic that criticizes us for not accomplishing enough. The innovative critic that speak up when we try something new. Now we suffer from the new age critic. It tells us we are eating an impure diet, focusing on the wrong goals, following the wrong spiritual path, or wearing the wrong crystals, etc. This can be a complex critic to deal with. It is well meaning but may come across in an overbearing, rigid manner. 

We have all been criticized at some point in our lives. Since the critic often appears when we want to change and grow, we need to get to know this dreamfigure. Dreamfigures form parts of ourselves that we develop through our personal or collective histories. We can be identified or unidentified with these personalities, for example, the critic dreamfigure. Many of us suffer through the workings of this figure. We often experience being a victim of criticism. 

In dreambody theory, the victim is often our primary process. Our secondary process (that which happens to us) is the criticism. When we learn to engage the critic, we can learn more about the critic process. 

The ordinary world critic is the inner voice that tells you,  "You can't do this or that. This idea is dumb; it will never work. Studying dreambody is a waste; what possible use could it be?" 

The dream world critic manifests body symptoms like a headache or a sudden mood such as depression or anger. E.g. You are excited about a change or new development in your life and suddenly you have a headache, asthma attack or slip into a counter productive mood.

Do This! 

Exercise 43 • Transforming the Inner Critic

Create a six panel cartoon strip using a grid with six equal squares (three in the top row, three in the bottom row) and number them. Is your critic already telling you that you can't draw? Use stick figures if you need to, so you can get around the inner voice that says you have no artistic talent (the drawing critic). 

In the first panel, draw yourself doing something you really want to do. In the next panel draw what might stop you. It may be a face, a voice, a big hand etc. The more you clarify the appearance of the critic the more you will learn about the critical part of your nature. In the third panel, draw the critic in complete control. In the fourth and fifth panel create some form of resolution with the critic. You may want to strike a deal. You may want to banish or kill the critic. It's up to you. Experiment and do whatever works for you now. 

In the last panel illustrate your desired resolution of the situation. Perhaps you and the critic are friends. Perhaps the critic has shrunk to an insignificant size. This is a good exercise for getting in touch with and working with, the parts of us that resist change.

from Pathways to Healing, a Guide to Herbs, Ayurveda, Dreambody and Shamanism by Don Ollsin

Do This!

Exercise 44 • Your critic exercise

Review the cartoon you did in Exercise 43.  Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What kind of limits are you imposing on yourself?

  • Remember, argue for your limits and they are yours!

  • Record your critic experience: