Our inner critic is powerful.

It's the voice that speaks up to tell us we're not doing a good job, we don’t measure up, or we need to try harder. And it's so convincing that its opinions can seem like fact.

Learning to recognize the voice of our inner critic is a powerful step in the direction of self-care, but just as important is understanding what it's trying to do. Our inner critic trying to save us from failure, embarrassment, and poor performance. It's heart is in the right place, in other words.

When we're mired in self-criticism, it's worth having a conversation with our inner critic: "I know you're trying to help, but this is too much. Can you dial it back a bit, please?"

We may be surprised at how willing our inner critic is to listen.