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Turn Your Inner Critic Into Your Inner Coach

by Gwenn Bonnell

We all know by watching a toddler that we are born with no limits. It seems the smaller (and younger) we are, the more invincible we feel.

Toddlers believe so much in themselves that they keep trying to stand tall no matter how often they fall. They think they can climb on anything. Nothing is too “scary” for them to touch (or taste).

When you were a toddler, there was no stopping you! The words “no” and “can’t” were not in your dictionary. No matter how huge the challenge, you happily kept trying until you were successful… and kept eagerly addressing the next barrier.

So what happened? Bit by bit, your sense of invincibility was conditioned out of you by well-meaning parents, family members, friends, teachers, even religious mentors.

The words “You can’t do that…” became almost a mantra from those who loved you and wanted to keep you safe.

“You can’t climb the tree that high…”
“You can’t ride your bike that far…”
“You can’t make money without working hard…”
“You can’t get serious with that girl/boy…”
”You can’t leave the table until you eat all the food on your plate…”

Sure, their intentions were good… but you are probably still trying to clear that “I can’t” talk from inside your head.

“I can’t quit my boring job and start over in a career that excites me…”
“I can’t go to college at this age…”
“I can’t be a millionaire…”
”I can’t find the perfect mate…”
“I can’t lose weight…”

Do you want to imprint that same “I can’t” energy in your child?

I know, and you know, that as a parent, teacher, relative, or mentor, you are simply trying to motivate the child you love to do something for their own good. You really want them to get the benefit of the better behavior.

The problem arises when you relate only the “don’t” part of the behavior and not the “do” part.

Usually, we react out of fear… fear that they will fall out of the tree, get hurt crossing the street, be disappointed, grow up too fast, or have low self-esteem.

Unfortunately, we sometimes deliver (and they only hear) half the message.

You might say, “What’s wrong with you? You know this is dangerous. How many times have I told you not to climb that tree? You know you can fall and break your neck. Now you are grounded… until you realize how stupid you were acting.”

Our real message is, “I love you enough to keep you safe… and that is why I am teaching you this. I don’t want you to fall out of the tree. I want you to stay healthy and happy so you will be around and grow up into a healthy and happy adult.”

How can you program yourself to react with the real message, the message that empowers you and your children?

Train yourself to complete this four-step reaction process, and communicate all four phases to your child:

Your first reaction is ANGER. The energy of anger is a powerful energy because it keeps us (and them) safe: I am angry that you climbed up so high in that tree.

Next, recognize this reaction is coming from FEAR: I am afraid that you will get hurt or worse.

Give them a SOLUTION: I want you to wear sneakers, have someone with you, and pay more attention to which branches are weak or strong as you step on them when you climb that tree.

Give them the REASON why you are so concerned – because you LOVE them: I love you so much and I want you to stay safe so we can have fun together. You deserve to have fun and adventure in life, as long as you keep yourself safe. Do you understand?

Wouldn’t you love to hear this message as a child? Then practice this four-step process until you easily give this sort of message to the child in your life.

How do you practice? With yourself, of course! Make a list of all the “can’t” messages you received as a child. Then address each message one by one. Spend a minute or so rewriting the message you received.

Probably the message you received was the “Anger” message. And it stopped there. Now is your chance to complete the cycle. Translate the “Anger” message into the “Fear” counterpart, then into the “Solution” and “Reason/Love” stage.

Practice changing the inner “anger” message (I can’t stand my job) and the “fear” message, (I am afraid I won’t be able to support myself) into a “solution” message (The happier I am with my career the more motivated I am to go the extra mile) and the “reason/love” message (When I love my job my best talents will show through, I will perform way better than I am now, and my compensation will improve as well)!

Once you understand energetically what you were really receiving through these “Can’t” messages (they really were based in love, after all) you will stop beating yourself up, holding yourself back, and staying stuck in fear.

And turn that inner critic into an inner coach – for yourself and for any child you interact with!

Love & light,


Gwenn Bonnell is an International Energy Coach & Trainer and the author of many programs that teach you how to use EFT and Energy Medicine to boost your energy, improve your health, remove your blocks to success, reduce stress and bring zest back into your life...

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