A Mindful Look at the Critical Mind

Who has a critical mind ? It is an intrinsic part of the human mind. Certainly, the critical mind is rooted in survival. The critical mind is looking out for what is wrong, and how to correct it. It tends to express itself through a voice that is criticizing ourself and others. Criticism can become intrusive and provoke self doubt and anxiety. The critical mind could take too much of our time and attention, in an effort to protect us and some times direct us. It is not, however; meant to be a driving force.

So how is this useful ? The balanced use of the critical mind can involve a blend of awareness and partnering in a light hearted way. If we take the critical mind too seriously, it can impact confidence, and it can lean towards judgement.

Setting boundaries and creating a workable partnership alongside the critical voice is a stance I have been practicing. When I frame the critical voice as an aspect of myself, and I acknowledge it is there, while accepting it has a drive to protect me, I can shift the dynamic by inviting the critical mind to sit beside me. With this I clearly affirm that my core, choice making, operational self, is in the drivers seat. I visualize the critical voice as sitting beside me. You can give yours a name if you like.

From this framework and practice, we can more objectively partner with the critical mind. Once that has been established, and practiced, it can open up more space for practicing self-compassion for the variety of different ways of thinking and feeling.

The ongoing opportunity becomes remembering everything we do is a practice, not a perfect. If we subscribe to the belief that we can or should be perfect, then our growth becomes stunted and we are limited in flexibility, compassion, self acceptance and humility. The critical mind can easily take a high horse stance; sitting beside the critical voice in a light hearted way will lighten your load and may even brighten your day. Each day is another opportunity to breathe, to be present, and to practice compassion and mindfulness.

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