We all have an inner critic. It’s the voice that pipes up at the most inconvenient times to make us question what we are doing and how we are doing it. This inner critic has it out for us, especially when we are trying our hardest to give ourselves grace and have self-compassion.

When we find something we don’t like about ourselves or do something we view as a failure, that inner critic is the first to jump in and confirm our fears. In an ideal situation, we would all just be able to say “get out of here” to that inner critic and it would magically disappear to never return. However, it is human nature to have an inner critic, so simply banishing it is probably not going to happen. What we can do is treat our inner critic as a frenemy.

Frenemy (n.) a person with whom one is friendly, despite a fundamental dislike or rivalry.

It may seem counter intuitive to treat your inner voice as a frenemy instead of an enemy. If something is trying to sabotage you, it would make the most sense to just try to rid your life of that thing, right? Not in this case. We can learn a lot from our inner critic.

We don’t want our inner critic to be part of our life, but since it is, we can use it to our advantage. We can befriend it to hear what it is saying. Once we know what our inner critic is saying, we can flip the switch and treat it like the enemy it is. We can look that inner critic straight in the eye and say, “You are wrong, and I’m not going to let you win.” Another benefit of treating our inner voice as a frenemy is that we can start to recognize when our inner voice is trying to sabotage us and head it off before it does any damage.

In a lot of ways, having compassion for others can be easier than having self-compassion. We are our own worst critic, and unfortunately we carry that critic with us. But, with a little effort, we can learn how best to manage our inner critic – the frenemy that we didn’t ask for, but that we have anyway. 

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