Taking control of our inner critic

By Alice Johnsen

LEADING psychotherapist Julia Samuel was talking recently about self-acceptance being a precursor to self-love. She also made reference to that critical voice we all know so well. Her point I wanted to share was based on the true theory that we all focus on bits of us – characteristics and physical attributes – that we’d all like to change. Samuel was suggesting that instead of feeding our inner critic we should consciously turn our attention to the parts of our bodies or characteristics that we do like.

This links with a thought I have been talking about recently on my Instagram page – @alicejohnsencoaching if you want to follow me there. Can we change how we react to things or people in our life, and can we control or change our emotions? I would define an emotion as an instinctive or intuitive feeling and there perhaps lies the nugget. It is an instinct, so to change how we feel or react, we need to change that instinct. Knowing this, you will not be surprised when I tell you while we can change how we feel about things, it is a slow change. It is a constant re-training of our minds to think about something in a new way. That is possible – but it takes time. Years.

Robert Kiyosaki, an American entrepreneur and businessman, says you should ‘learn to use your emotions to think, not to think with your emotions’. This links us back to the division in our brains between logical and emotional thinking. When we are under stress the emotional side of our brain takes over from the more sustainable logical side.

So maybe the thread here is that if you can focus more on your positives and quieten down that inner critic in your mind, you will find it easier to remain logical and calmer in all your thinking? Surely it will also help fight those feelings of imposter syndrome I wrote about recently?

That’s the thing. Everything to do with mental health and well-being is linked, which means any steps you take to improve one aspect of your life will naturally start supporting other areas too. That’s why the small steps I talk about so regularly are the key to just feeling a whole lot better about your life.

Alice Johnsen is a life coach based (07961 080513;

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