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MeditationFace Your Inner Critic

Face Your Inner Critic

When we embark on an uncomfortable journey, our inner critic usually comes along. In this meditation, Dora explains how we can familiarize ourselves with judgmental thoughts and learn how to work through them.

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Hi, and welcome to this new moment. So in our conversation, which if you haven't watched yet, I highly recommend, Thomas shared something extremely valuable, which was being able to notice where his discomfort was coming from. There's the physical discomfort he experienced while traveling and exploring many different places in the world. And then there was also the internal discomfort, usually found in his thoughts and feelings. And as I shared, sometimes those thoughts and feelings can be quite critical and judgmental. You may begin to notice how loud our inner critic can be when we attempt to step outside of our comfort zone. The good thing is the thoughts we think about ourselves oftentimes aren't true. Most of the time, they aren't even based in reality. However, it's the meaning that we give to those thoughts and the relationship that we have with them that can make them feel so real. Our inner critic is composed of different thoughts, feelings and perceptions that are judgmental in nature. The inner critic can also come from past experiences, like childhood. So it's easy to mistake that inner critic for who we are. What's interesting is its function is to keep us safe, to protect us. It's a defensive mechanism meant to help us survive. So when we embark on a journey of seeking discomfort, it's not unusual for this inner critic to come alive. Yet, when we sit with the mind and observe its patterns and tendencies, we can begin to create space between who we are and what we think. Mindfulness and meditation can help us to examine that relationship that we have to our thoughts with a sense of curiosity and begin to tame that inner critic. For instance, we may have failed at something, but this doesn't mean that we are a failure. In fact, there's much to learn from the things that we fail at. And over time, we may realize we haven't really failed at all. We've actually grown. So in this mindfulness exercise, we'll begin to familiarize ourselves with those judgmental thoughts and feelings and learn how to work through discomfort when it arises. So with that being said, take a moment to settle in and get comfortable. You can be sitting or lying down, whatever feels right for you, and the eyes can be open or closed for this practice. And just taking a moment here to notice sounds around you and your space, either nearby or further away. And then just taking some nice, big, deep breaths, breathing in through the nose and breathing out through the mouth, seeing if we can soften the body with each inhale and each exhale. Now returning the breath back to its natural rhythm and inviting you now to reflect on, when faced with a challenge or discomfort, what do you notice in your mind? What thoughts are present? Now noticing, what emotions do you experience when faced with a challenge? And what do you sense...


Duration8 min

About your teachers

  • A former Buddhist monk, Andy has guided people in meditation and mindfulness for 20 years. In his mission to make these practices accessible to all, he co-created the Headspace app in 2010.

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  • Eve is a mindfulness teacher, overseeing Headspace’s meditation curriculum. She is passionate about sharing meditation to help others feel less stressed and experience more compassion in their lives.

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  • As a meditation teacher, Dora encourages others to live, breathe, and be with the fullness of their experiences. She loves meditation’s power to create community and bring clarity to people’s minds.

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  • Kessonga has been an acupuncturists, therapist, and meditation teacher, working to bring mindfulness to the diverse populations of the world.

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  • Rosie Acosta has studied yoga and mindfulness for more than 20 years and taught for over a decade. Rosie’s mission is to help others overcome adversity and experience radical love.

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