Give Your Inner Critic a Break

BeGentleFor the second week in a row I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy, someone I admire, sharing their unique view of spirituality and mindfulness. This time it was Sarah McLean, founder of the McLean Meditation Institute in Sedona, Hay House Author and friend.

She was sharing some of the motivation, experiences and insights that influenced her latest book ‘The Power of Attention’. I was reminded once again why I have always been so inspired by her methods for teaching and leading meditation. It is always based in self-care and compassion.

Just hearing her speak again was a reminder that a meditation practice is not about getting it right or perfecting it. It is about how meditation is a gift that we give ourselves. It is about taking care of ourselves. Meditation has many scientifically based benefits…, and it shifts our resourcefulness as we navigate the rest of our lives. It does this by helping us respond to whatever life throws our way, versus just reacting to it.

It made me realize when I think of Intentional Living and the principal “Take Care of Yourself” – I always seem to focus on things such as the food we consume, exercise, rest, and/or minimizing stressful situations. Even though I think of meditation as a great way to de-stress, I leave out the part about being more self-loving. Self supportive. Especially when it comes to those pesky internal messages or criticisms.

I was reminded once again how critical and harsh the messages I give myself can be. How my expectations, for how and what I do, seem so high, and the self-judgments so quick. Most of us, I believe, are harder on ourselves than we would ever be on someone else.

The awareness of this was demonstrated simply by Sarah laying out her five guiding principles of meditation. The first of which was something such as “your mind WILL wander during meditation”. How freeing! She said… “we will have random thoughts…, we’re human”.

I made me think about how many times during meditation I actually chided myself for “not doing it right”. For feeling like how I was doing it.., wasn’t good enough”.

To be clear, I know this about meditation. It is not the first time I’ve heard it. Yet hearing it once again, helped me to see in the simplest terms how hard I can be on myself. And if I am being harsh or judgmental about how I meditate… what kind of messages am I sending myself about everyday events, choices or circumstances?

This week I am focusing on ‘taking care of myself’… starting with being more loving and supportive with internal messages I direct at myself! It’s time for all of us to give the inner critic a break!

With Light, Love, and Laughter


  1. Thank you for this Charles. I often find myself critical of my ‘inability’ to meditate like some of the others in class. My mind is racing at times, wondering long long its been, why I am not in the ‘Zone’. Understanding that this is normal, allows me the freedom to get back to center, and and the more I practice my meditations, the more I will be able to relax into it.

    • I agree Linda with exactly what you’ve shared! I love the idea of “relaxing into it”. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Meditation as self-care! I love this concept, because I know by caring for myself I can show up better and bolder in service to creating a more loving world. This is very motivating to me. Thank you Charles for sharing Sarah’s work, and helping me see things with new eyes.

    • Thanks for taking it to the next level for me Michelle! Not only does it help to de-stress and calm the body and mind.., it can help me sow up in a bolder way! Love it!

  3. Beautiful Insight, Charles! Thank you for sharing. I believe there’s a child in everyone of us and being kind and loving to ourselves comes foremost. That same energy radiates outwards to everyone around us. The first thing I do every morning even before coffee is meditate. It starts the day in an awesome way!.

    • What a great way to think of it Donna! Thanks for sharing your insights and practice!

  4. Wonderful Charles! Yes, I too had that experience with Sarah, in fact, she and her mindful self compassion helped inspire the “Effort Less Mandala”. Meditation is a gift to be opened and enjoyed, not a hurdle to leap over day after day. Thanks for the reminder!

    • I love your description Vikki! “To be opened and enjoyed, not a hurdle…”! I’m sure she loves knowing she is the inspiration behind one of your beautiful mandalas!


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