The Inner Critic is as unique as you and I. This internal voice brings you down, makes you feel unworthy and keeps you small! It’s negative, pessimistic, cynical and self-defeating. How did it get here, you may say? Through habitual mind patterns of established belief systems. Perhaps someone that you looked up to or admired, like a parent or teacher said something negative to you as a way to either protect you or motivate you. They may not have even intentionally done this critically, however, that’s how you received it.
This Inner Critic is common to all- no respecter of race, gender, age or nationality. We developed this critic as survival mechanism when we were younger to help prevent real or perceived threats. If left unchecked that constant nattering causes a lot of damage in our adult lives. It keeps you feeling hopeless and status quo preventing you from doing anything about your dreams, ideas or goals.
Your Inner Critic might sound like this:
“I’m not smart enough, attractive enough, interesting enough! That idea will never work- why even bother trying, who am I kidding, I’m a big phoney! I’m not ready, someone else has already done it, no one will listen!”
Sound familiar? Yup, that’s what it says. It feels like being wrapped up in a fog, lost and confused in a web of lies. This saboteur or enemy of our soul wants to keep us there because it feels protective. Maybe so, but it’s where restlessness and that feeling of being stuck lives.
How to confront the b*tchy inner talk track? Use my “5 Stone” approach to crush this Goliath. Some of these tactics seem silly, and honestly they do feel that way, but they work! And the feeling of overcoming that worthless inner critic is totally worth the slight feeling of awkwardness as you do these exercises:
- Invite it to “Tea”: Get to know it. Name it. Give it a personality. When did it first show up for you? Then change the conversation to something like this ( I’m using my own inner critic here): “Hey Dumb-Ass, thanks for showing up today to let me know that I’m stupid, but you know what? I’m actually smart because I don’t have to know that math problem I can use a calculator.”
- Mind: use your mind to create a new talk track. Like in Kintsugi, the ancient Japanese art form of repairing cracked pottery with gold, you rewire your negative thoughts (the cracks) with truthful positive thoughts (the gold) that speak to your identity such as “I am worthy, I am kind, I am an encourager, I am resourceful”. Attaching joy filled emotions to these words goes even further to creating new thought patterns.
- Body: use posturing to solidify these new thoughts by standing tall, hands on hips, chin up while you affirm yourself in an optimistic manner.
- Spirit: take time every day for solitude. Reflect, pray, meditate, be grateful, affirm at least 3 reasons why you are valuable (if you don’t know ask a few close friends who love you – they’ll tell you, then BELIEVE them)
- Inner Leader/Captain of your Soul: this is a mediation exercise to go deep within yourself to find the essence of who you are; where truth, compassion, wisdom and courage are found. Contact me to find out how we can do this together.
Points to remember:
- Give yourself lots of patience, grace and love. But don’t mistake patience for putting off confronting your inner critic.
- Your dreams, goals, ideas matter- to you, to your friends and to the world.
- You are worthy, valuable and loved.
- Step UP to your Inner Critic and Step INTO your Inner Leader
- Talk truth to yourself.
- Open up, be vulnerable, bring your fears into the light, share your junk
- Prepare a plan- have affirmations, power expressions, choose to do it scared.
- Don’t wait till you FEEL like doing something, that will rarely if not ever happen. Gain courage & do it scared. You’ll feel much more accomplished, even if it is momentarily painful.
Find out more at: www.beaconcoaching.ca or attend the “Crush Your Inner Critic” workshop on February 13, 7-8:30pm at the Main Street Bakehouse in Stouffville.
by Stéphanie Rourke Jackson, Beacon Coaching & Leadership, www.beaconcoaching.ca