For years and years I worked against my inner critic. I tried to silence it. I got angry with it. I was hostile with it. I read numerous books and articles on it. Yet still…it continued to sabotage me, hinder my progress and ultimately, became the enemy.
Looking back now, I can see how all that I was doing, was giving the inner critic more power. It became louder. It became angrier and more hostile with me!
Years later and I am finally in a position where my inner critical voice now serves me. It works with me. It is no longer hostile or angry, in fact, I would go as far as to say, it is now a ‘friend’.
Today I would like to share the 7 key steps, which I repeated over and over again, to finally bring my inner critic under control.
Before I share these, I would like to share the words of Dr Wayne Dyer: ‘loving people live in a loving world, hostile people live in a hostile world – same world’
I can honestly say, I have experienced both these worlds. You can view my full story at https://www.jazzpitt.com/about/ – thankfully today, I live in a loving world.
The second point I would like to make is this….the typical stuff just doesn’t seem to work for me. My journey from my own personal breakdown and suicidal thoughts, was one I had to navigate myself. I tried and tested things. I experimented with myself. Some things helped me move forward, others didn’t. Today I am a certified Life Coach, helping professionals to reignite and prioritise their happiness. My unique Coaching style comes from the things that personally worked for me, not from books, not from my training but from my own personal journey. I am utterly grateful to see the results this is delivering to my Clients. In the past, I have often read statements and headings that use words like ‘banish’ your inner critic, ‘silence’ your inner critic, ‘let go’ of your inner critic.
Trust me, I tried to ‘banish, silence and let go’…..none of these worked. Why? Because my inner critic simply wanted to heard. The more I tried to banish it, silence it, shut it down, the more it took control. At one point I was a absolute slave to it.
So, here are the 7 steps I still practice today, to keep my relationship with my inner critic, as one that serves me. These 7 steps were practiced consistently over a long period of time to develop new habits and embrace a new mindset….I truly hope they do the same for you.
1)Notice – Start allowing yourself to notice at what points in your life, you inner critic is showing up. Maybe it is with work/career? Maybe it shows up around social occasions? Maybe it shows up when you get new ideas or begin new projects?
2)Value – Acknowledge that this voice is here to serve to you. Accept that it is trying to bring you some value. Whenever the inner critic shows up, it is letting you know that whatever situation it is showing up in, it is one that matters to you. It indicates how much you want this. It gives you insight into your own passion to drive to succeed in this.
3)Listen…then question – So now that you have noticed the voice and you acknowledge that it is letting you know ‘this really matters’ to you, question it. How true is this inner critic? What evidence is there to back up what it is saying? I actually kept a journal where I would list all evidence to back up my inner critic. Needless to say, I ended up telling my inner critic of all that I had achieved in my past. My focus would shift from evidence to back it up, to evidenced achievements I could challenge it with.
4)Change the dialogue – If your inner critic says ‘what if it doesn’t work’, we can reply with ‘what if it does!’ This point has so many benefits. If we allow ourselves to look at what success would look like, we begin to visualise and feel all that we will experience if it does work! What we focus on grows, this point allows us to focus on the success rather than the failure. This is extremely important in adopting a positive mindset.
5)Let go of ‘perfection’ – Give yourself permission to do your best. It doesn’t need to be perfect. What is ‘perfect’ anyway? My perfect will be different to your perfect. ‘Perfect’ hinders progress, not only that but with me, it stopped me trying anything! I can’t begin to list the number of projects/ideas that I picked up and dropped within a few weeks over the years, all because I was not perfect. Finally deciding my best was good enough was how I finally rose up from the depths I had experienced.
6)Acceptance – You are not the only one with an inner critic. We ALL have an inner critic. ‘Its main evolutionary purpose isn’t to suck the life out of you and make the world seem blacker than tar. It’s simply to help you conform and, subsequently, have a better chance at survival’ Wanda Thibodeaux
7)Face the fear – Talk to your inner critic. Let it know that you are not striving for perfection, you are striving to do your best….then do it anyway. Let it know that you are learning, experimenting and growing…then do it anyway. I am a mother to my 12 year old son. My son is a typical 12 year old which means that in today’s world, he is going on 16! He faces his inner critic on a regular basis. As with most 12 year olds, they have not yet ‘befriended’ their inner critic. When he begins listening to the doubts of his inner critic, I challenge him with a loving and compassionate tone. It is the same tone I use with my own inner critic. My inner critic is a fearful child that just wants me to survive. If we respond to this fearful child as a supportive adult, we will embrace the inner critic with compassion and diminish its power in sabotaging ourselves but increase its power in serving us.
I truly hope these 7 steps help you in embracing your inner critic so it no longer holds you back, as it did me for so many years. Don’t shrink to suit and fit your inner critic. EXPAND so your inner critic comes with you and learns a few things along the way 🙂
Much happiness to you.