Fighting the Inner Critic vs. Embracing the True Self – An Introduction

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one’s self.

– Benjamin Franklin

Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.”

– Henry David Thoreau

I can teach anybody how to get what they want out of life. The problem is that I can’t find anybody who can tell me what they want.”

– Mark Twain

A couple nights ago, during a bout of insomnia, I noted that I had had one of those “Woe is me” days. Realizing how uncommon these days had become, I got on the blog just to attempt to straighten out my thoughts.

I realized that my old enemy, my “Inner Critic”, had established itself in my head once again. I have had epic battles of the mind with this cruel manifestation of my subconscious. Just when I had thought I had slayed the dragon of insecurity and self-doubt, he roars back.

Well fortunately, with the help of others, I have learned some techniques that have been very effective in silencing this “Inner Asshole with the Megaphone”. This voice that prevents us from ever revealing our True Self. The voice that doesn’t let us pursue our passions out of fear of failure or rejection. The voice that creates an image, an ideal that we never cease trying to portray.

Long story short…through my ramblings and disconnected thoughts of 2 nights ago, I have a 3 part series planned:

  1. Introduction (…& a poem)
  2. Defining the “Inner Critic” and “True self; how they function; how they developed; what they are?
  3. Dealing with the “Inner Critic” and accepting your “True Self” – effective strategies for silencing

After reading that little list, I feel like this could be FAR too much content for just 3 posts…so OF COURSE I reserve the right to extend this out a little further.

[***EDIT – 6/16/12 – Already expanded the series 5 posts***]

Now to Kick-Start this series, how about a poem?? (Bold words are mine) Also, I want to note that this is the second time I’ve used this poem on my site. The previous post can be found here.

Please Hear What I’m Not Saying

Don’t be fooled by me.

Don’t be fooled by the face I wear.

For I wear a mask, a thousand masks, masks that I’m afraid to take off,

and none of them is me.

Pretending is an art that’s second nature with me,

but don’t be fooled.

For God’s sake don’t be fooled.

I give you the impression that I’m secure,

that all is sunny and unruffled with me, within as well as without,

that confidence is my name and coolness my game,

that the water’s calm and I’m in command,

and that I need no one.

But don’t believe me.

My surface may seem smooth but my surface is my mask,

ever-varying and ever-concealing.

Beneath lies no complacence.

Beneath lies confusion and fear and aloneness.

But I hide this. I don’t want anybody to know it.


I panic at the thought of my weakness and fear being exposed.

That’s why I frantically create a mask to hide behind,

a nonchalant sophisticated facade,

to help me pretend,

to shield me from the glance that knows.

But such a glance is precisely my salvation. My only hope and I know it.

That is, if it’s followed by acceptance,

if it’s followed by love.

It’s the only thing that can liberate me from myself,

from my own self-built prison walls,

from the barriers I so painstakingly erect.

It’s the only thing that will assure me of what I can’t assure myself,

that I’m really worth something.

But I don’t tell you this. I don’t dare. I’m afraid to.

I’m afraid your glance will not be followed by acceptance,

will not be followed by love.

I’m afraid you’ll think less of me, that you’ll laugh,

and your laugh would kill me.

I’m afraid that deep-down I’m nothing, that I’m just no good,

and that you will see this and reject me.


So I play my game, my desperate pretending game,

with a facade of assurance without

and a trembling child within.

So begins the glittering but empty parade of masks,

and my life becomes a front.

I idly chatter to you in the suave tones surface talk.

I tell you everything that’s really nothing,

and nothing of what’s everything,

of what’s crying within me.

So when I’m going through my routine,

do not be fooled by what I’m saying.

Please listen carefully and try to hear what I’m not saying,

what I’d like to be able to say,

what for survival I need to say,

but what I can’t say.


I don’t like to hide.

I don’t like to play superficial phony games.

I want to stop playing them.

I want to be genuine and spontaneous and me,

but you’ve got to help me.

You’ve got to hold out your hand

even when that’s the last thing I seem to want.

Only you can wipe away from my eyes the blank stare of the breathing dead.

Only you can call me into aliveness.

Each time you’re kind and gentle and encouraging,

each time you try to understand because you really care,

my heart begins to grow wings,

very small wings,

very feeble wings,

but wings!

With your power to touch me into feeling

you can breathe life into me.

I want you to know that.

I want you to know how important you are to me,

how you can be a creator – a honest-to-God creator –

of the person that is me

if you choose to.

You alone can break down the wall behind which I tremble,

you alone can remove my mask,

you alone can release me from my shadow-world of panic and uncertainty,

from my lonely prison,

if you choose to.

Please choose to. Do not pass me by.

It will not be easy for you.


A long conviction of worthlessness builds strong walls.

The nearer you approach to me

the blinder I may strike back.

It’s irrational, but despite what the books say about man,

often I am irrational.

I fight against the very thing that I cry out for.

But I am told that love is stronger than strong walls,

and in this lies my hope.

Please try to beat down those walls

with firm hands

but with gentle hands

for a child is very sensitive.


Who am I, you may wonder?

I am someone you know very well.

For I am every man you meet

and I am every woman you meet.

– Charles C. Finn

I hope this poem resonated with you as much as it did in myself. As I continue the next several posts, the goal I encourage you to have in mind – the habit you should strive to change, the lines in the 3rd Stanza, “I tell you everything that’s really nothing, and nothing of what’s everything“.

This is all of us, and everyone we know. Historically it has served a purpose in survival, but at what cost?…

Moving forward in this series of posts, I leave you with a final quote to ponder…

Ego is simply an idea of who you are that you carry around with you.”

– Wayne Dyer


7 comments on “Fighting the Inner Critic vs. Embracing the True Self – An Introduction

  1. Good Topic!!!!!!!!!!!

    “People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself. But the self is not something one finds, it is something one creates.” – Thomas Szasz

  2. This is an interesting place to hang out Troy! THank you for dropping by my site and commenting! I look forward to your series because it strikes all of us at one or more times in our lives. Thank you for sharing!

  3. The poem is beautiful. That inner critic guy (gal in my case) is one difficult piece of work to wrangle. I look forward to following your journey.

    • At least you are aware of it’s presence! That’s all that is needed to get started in dealing with it.

      Going through my life with these thoughts & opinions screaming at me all day, it nearly drove me crazy!

  4. I arrived at your site by accident. I’m glad that I did.

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