It is easy to become constrained by a fear of being judged, either by others or our own inner critic. Fostering a childlike curiosity, venturing out into the world with a spirit of adventure and a willingness to experiment, can help to create more breathing space. Here we offer three top tips for turning down the volume on the inner critic by drawing on our capacity for discovery.
#1 Try giving your inner critic a silly voice
Experiment by giving your inner critic a silly voice and see what happens. Perhaps imagine them speaking in a really high pitched tone or make them talk r e a l l y s l o w l y. It is much harder to take the inner critic seriously when it sounds comical.
#2 Do some Heuristic Research
This is basically about giving yourself permission to try something different and see what happens. For example, perhaps you always listen to the same type of music? Give yourself permission to be curious and try something new. The great thing about heuristic research is that this isn’t about a pressure to discover your new favourite track. It is simply about exploring, seeing what works and observing how you feel as you engage with something different or a different way of doing things. If you don’t like what you find then remember this is a valid result – you have discovered something about yourself and conducted a great little experiment.
Of course, this could be seen as a fancy way of stepping outside of your comfort zone. But somehow I find that it can be much easier to do this if you imagine yourself as a researcher boldly adventuring into the unknown! Take the pressure off yourself to achieve a particular outcome and you might be surprised what happens!
If you wanted to learn more about heuristic research then Moustakas’ book is a good starting point. You can probably borrow it from your local library if you enquire. It outlines the different stages of the heuristic research process. My favourite is incubation, whereby a planted seed undergoes “silent nourishment, support, and care” towards a creative outcome. Delightful.
#3 Prepare for your adventure
Experiments and adventures can sometimes be a bit scary. Be kind to yourself and prepare. Do you need a map or a companion? Perhaps you need some kind of nourishment to sustain you on your road of discovery? Don’t be afraid to ask for help. People often want to be supportive but don’t always know what supportive would look like to you. Let them know what would make a difference. If it’s hard to talk to others about what you need then how about giving yourself a bit more creative freedom and writing a letter?
We would love to know what helps you take a curious, rather than critical, approach to the world. Let us know below!