READ ME: Dealing with your inner critic

Do you have an inner critic? That little voice….that tells you…

”You couldn’t possibly do that?”

“Just who do you think you are?”

“That was rubbish…someone else would have done a much better job of that'“

And other similar equally sound questions?

I feel like we all do to a lesser extent or in my case a greater extent.

Sometimes my inner critic is a barely audible voice that I can sense somewhere in the distance whereas other times its bellowing and very much there to the point that its hard to hear anything else.

I’m a very logical person which is often a great thing as usually I am a very good problem solver but silencing my inner critic is something I have always struggled it and I’m still always trying to think of logical practical ways to deal with her.

To me and especially this year what I’ve tried to do is just throw myself into things….Afraid of Public speaking? Do it 50 times and then see how you feel. Never run your own event? Run 10 and then talk to me about it…..In short… keep doing….and your inner critic will be silenced.

I’ve very much taken to the old adage of “Practice makes perfect” but over the course of 2018 I’ve realised there is unfortunately a little bit more to it than that.

My logical brain unfortunately just doesnt want to cooperate with my emotional brain. The act of “doing” unfortunately does not equal “feeling”.

I seem to have managed to bypass the whole point of actually achieving these things….taking pride in what I have achieved in order to build my self confidence and self esteem and in turn helping to reduce the amount of airtime the inner critic gets.

My inner critic has managed to actually bypass the feeling proud part by immediately going to…..”Oh sure everyone could do that”, or a version of “Sure someone else could have done that way better than me”. It's that immediate voice that comes in and effectively silences you into actually acknowledging that achievement whether it be big or small.

And honestly it’s left me feeling very demotivated and burnout out because if you can’t take pride in anything you’ve actually achieved really…. whats the point? How are you supposed to feel motivated? How are you actually supposed to build your self esteem and self confidence without getting completely burnout in the meantime?

I’ve realised that as much as I’ve achieved over 2018 I can’t keep going with the idea of trying to achieve in order to build my own self esteem and self confidence because ultimately it will lead me to burnout.

I have to find a way of acknowledging that inner critic and also acknowledging my achievements along the way. In short I guess I have to learn to enjoy the journey rather than waiting for that day where I suddenly feel worthy and my emotional brain actually catches up with my logical brain.

Of course my logical brain wants a solution so I’ll be implementing a few things to help me deal with my inner critic. I’d also love to know what you guys do to help deal with it?

Honestly I guess with most things I need to become more consistent with looking after that inner critic so here are a few tips I’m going to implement to help me with that (that may help you too).

  1. I am acutely aware of my inner critic but some of us aren’t. Firstly recognise her/him. Give her a name if it helps. Recognise when she is taking over your thoughts/your day/your week….Journal about it (if it helps). I’m now starting to keep a diary purely dedicated to this area of my life as I feel it is something I really need to address at this time.

  2. When you achieve something and you have that initial high before the inner critic has had time to chime in….acknowledge it. Write down or voice memo exactly how you feel at that point in time. It will allow you to reflect on it when perhaps the inner critic is taking up a bit more space that it should be. Listening back to a voice memo of how you feel after you’ve achieved something and you feel good about both yourself and what you have achieved can be a powerful way of silencing that inner critic.

  3. Talk to someone about it. Sometimes when the inner critics voice is loud it can feel like its the only thing happening your brain at that time. Get it out…chat to a friend or a loved one about how you are feeling. Chances are you won’t feel half as bad afterwards and even saying those words that you hear your inner critic say out loud can stop giving power to them. By just saying them out loud to another person can make them seem so silly, insignificant and most importantly completely untrue!!

My inner critic is something I constantly struggle with but in a way even realising (even though it took nearly the whole of 2018!!) that I can’t just “do” all the time to get rid of her.

I do in fact just need to sit with her, acknowledge her and then tell her that maybe just in fact everything she has to say about me …might not actually be true.

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Lauren Healy