22 Aug The Inner Critic
Have you met yours yet?
That voice inside your head that is never quite happy or satisfied with what you do? That endless monologue about how you should just do one more thing because it’s either not enough or not good enough?
We all have the same critic. They’re a part of who we are and known by many different names: Some call it the Judge, others their inner Voice, Censor and so on.
Whatever you call it, it’s not likely to go away soon.
As humans, and especially survivors, we are so used to hearing it, we forget it’s there and the impact it has.
It is very powerful and dictates what we do and how we view ourselves. It even has the power to stop us being what we want to be in this world, so it makes sense to not underestimate it – ever.
Unluckily for us, this ongoing inner dialogue just doesn’t end. Once we’re cognisant of it, it’s like an endless dance of ‘never good enough’ and ‘try harder’ sequences.
Not a place we want to visit, let alone live in.
Yet live in it we do.
We can tell when we’re there, as our mood changes, we become more anxious, less confident and unable to stop moving and achieving.
Think Rat on a Treadmill
Welcome to your Inner Critic
Maybe it’s time to take stock and see just where we are with it.
Unsurprisingly this part of us didn’t pop up last year or the year before that. It has been a part of our experience for as long as we can remember. It is both judge and jury and, in most cases, will usually find us lacking in some way and therefore not nearly good enough.
Through our survivor experience, the inner critic has reinforced repeatedly, how undeserving we are, how we aren’t good enough, and to stop expecting good things to happen, because they don’t for people like us. Ever.
But, if like me you’re ready to eradicate this unwanted pest once and for all, here’s a couple of steps that may help:
- Notice it’s there by observing yourself – your own behaviour, if its reflective of never enough or not good enough – The inner critic is alive and well in you.
- Challenge it by telling yourself what you feel good about today. It may be as simple as helping someone who needed it or finishing that report.
- Create a Mantra that works for you: I am Good enough, I am Kind, I love who I am. Simply put: the mind can’t focus on two opposing thoughts at the same time, so choose the one that uplifts you.
- Practise Kindness to Self – Sit down and watch that game or go and have an afternoon nap. Filling up with self-care does a lot to build self-esteem while minimising the critic a little.
- Check in with others: if you’re self-doubting, ask someone you trust what they think. Sometimes other perceptions help reinforce the ‘enoughness’ in us.
The inner Critic can’t live in an abyss. It’s just not possible, it needs to be fed, watered and held closely in order to thrive and survive.
By starving it of attention and light you create the opposite experience and cause an Inner Champion to appear.
That’s the voice we need in our lives, the one who loves and supports what we do. Who believes in who we are and promotes us generously.
Don’t hold back, you so deserve it.
It certainly seems time for your inner Champion to have a seat at the table.