We’ve all heard this before: “If you were to speak to a friend in the same way that you speak to yourself, would your friend be hurt or feel neglected?” Many times when I’ve heard this, I haven’t taken a moment to truly think about it.
The following practice is meant to help you quiet your inner critic - the one that criticizes YOU and OTHERS. This will help you create a more positive internal environment for yourself. After all, the voice that we hear the loudest and clearest is our very own!
Do you have three chairs in your apartment or home available? Place them together - facing one another in a small triangle. One chair is the "inner critic," another is the "target" of criticism, and one is the "compassionate observer."
Begin by sitting in the chair of the inner critic and criticizing the target (ie. you or another person). Then, move to the target's chair and respond with how those words of the inner critic make you feel. Go back and forth until you feel both roles have said what they need to say. Then, sit in the chair of the compassionate observer and offer loving wisdom about what you observed - what is true and what can be done as a resolution.
Finally, reflect on this exercise and realize that the wisdom of the compassionate observer is always available to you. In every moment that you sense your inner critic taking over, you can remember that you have the option to say and offer what is kind, compassionate and true - to others, yourself and even strangers.