Mindfulness Counselling – Releasing the Inner Critic

 Mindfulness Counselling - Releasing the Inner Critic - image  on https://glynissherwood.com


by Glynis Sherwood MEd

People come to counselling because they are in pain.  Sometimes this pain has to do with external events that are causing them extreme difficulty or challenges.  But just as frequently, I find their hurting is either caused or intensified by how they view themselves.  Usually this view is less than charitable.


I frequently meet very lovely and wonderful people who can’t see their own beauty, and by default put themselves at the end of their own line in life.   Whether they realize it or not, there is a harsh inner critic that has taken up residence in their minds.  This inner critic needs to be revealed and evicted.  But not evicted harshly, as through a show of force, but gently through release. Gently evicting this inner critic takes skill, practice and patience, as it took up residence a long time ago – usually in childhood – and has falsely convinced us that it is an essential part of who we are.


Negative beliefs about ourselves tend to take root when we are young, impressionable and vulnerable.  These harsh beliefs convince us that we are not good enough or lovable enough.  Often quite unintentionally, those with the best intentions – our parents, our schools or other institutions responsible for raising us had a hand in shaping our negative view of ourselves.  Unfortunately, adults who have doubts or fears about themselves, and the world, have a tendency to pass these insecurities down to the next generation.  However, that doesn’t mean that the inner critic is destined to run your life any longer.


The Gift of Mindfulness


I believe that learning to accept, love and care deeply for oneself is the key to success in psychotherapy and life.  This involves being very gentle and attentive to oneself, but also being firm about keeping yourself a top priority in your own life.  The practice of self acceptance, especially during times of personal challenge, is an important discipline.  It requires the cultivation of empathy towards oneself.  The Buddha said “Without loving ourselves, how can we love the world?”  Loving ourselves, and our world, are essential to happiness and peace of mind.


From Buddhist traditions the west has gained a familiarity with helpful practices like meditation.  From that tradition western people have also gained knowledge of ‘Mindfulness’.  Mindfulness is an attitude of awareness of being in the moment – from a place of self acceptance – without being overly attached to that investment.


How to Harness Mindfulness to Release Negative Thinking


When the inner critic arises, we can rely on mindfulness to reclaim our peace of mind and compassion towards ourselves.  Here are some steps to guide you:

  1.  The first step is to be aware of any harsh attitudes towards oneself.
  2. The next step is to observe these attitudes from a distance – a 100 foot view – that helps us detach and gain perspective.
  3. The third step is to just view these beliefs as transitory thoughts that we don’t have to buy into, and to let them ‘slide off’ of us.
  4. The fourth step is to return to a compassionate view of oneself, over and over again as necessary in response to the inner critic.

This practice can be learned in counselling or as part of a stand alone meditation routine.

The Psychological Benefits of Mindfulness


Mindfulness teaches us that by caring for our hearts, we attend to the maintenance of our souls – our essential being.  It introduces self-compassion as an option we can exercise anytime negative or hurtful thinking arises.  We can then choose to love and see ourselves as essentially good, in spite of the thinking.  Mindfulness helps us to detach from destructive inner criticism by framing this criticism as just thoughts that we don’t have to believe in.  In other words, we no longer have to accept that our negative thinking is the truth.  We can then view negativity as merely a construction of our minds.  This has a cumulative, freeing and calming effect over time.


By learning to love ourselves more through observing but detaching from negative internal monologues, we are then more free to love others and the world, because being loving becomes second nature.  We are then more able to attract and receive love in our lives.  Fortunately, through this ripple effect, we also become more capable of forming and following a vision for our lives that honors ourselves and leads to a greater sense of happiness and fulfillment.  My clients tell me – and I also believe – that these are the key ingredients that create happiness and fulfillment in life.


Want to learn more about Mindfulness Counselling can help you feel more content and at ease in your life?  Contact Glynis to Request an Appointment.  

Counselling is available by Video worldwide.


Glynis Sherwood – MEd, Canadian Certified Counsellor, Registered Clinical Counsellor, and Certified Addictions Counsellor, specializes in recovery from Low Self Esteem, Family Scapegoating, Chronic Anxiety & Grief, and Relationship Addiction.   I look forward to hearing from you and helping you achieve the life you want and deserve!