Updated: Dec 17, 2019
Are these things you can identify with?
How many times have you been in a room full of people and felt overwhelmed with fear and anxiety, convinced that everyone else is most certainly judging you?
How many times have you sabotaged yourself, just when you thought things are finally looking up?
And how many times have you looked in the mirror and told yourself that you are you fat, stupid ugly, unloveable and worthless?
Every one of these scenarios are examples of your Inner Critic at work - we all have our own pet name for our inner critic, it helps to name it up - mine is the little devil on my shoulder what is yours?
Comment your inner critics name below .....
If your inner critic doesn’t have a name, name it up right now and tell us below ....
You see way to many beautiful amazing girls and women – just like you are living their lives paralysed by fear. They’re being held hostage by there inner critic, who rules thier whole existence with an iron fist and an acid tongue they end up paralysed by comparison, stifled by self criticism, and desperate to be loved.
I should know. I was one of those.
It has taken me a long time to figure it out – via pretty spectacular visit with my Rockbottom – but here’s what I now know to be the truth.
You don’t need to be tracked by that fear based voice inside your head –
That one that constantly hisses that you’re worthless and not good enough.
You don’t need to live life always worrying what other people think of you.
And you don’t need to live your life constantly seeking permission approval and acceptance from others.
Deep down, I know you know this too. You’re a smart and savvy woman with a yearning for something more, a deep desire to change this path of negativity in your life.
Whose voice is it, anyway?
Who is saying these things inside your head? Most people will say, ‘Me’. But who does it remind you of? Is it someone from your past?
Sometimes the critical voice reminds you of your father, your mother, a particular teacher, a bully, or a previous boss… But whoever it is, you are allowing them to live rent-free inside your head, often giving you no value and preventing you from being happy, confident or moving forward in strength.
Maybe people in our past had their own problems and felt the need to criticise us as a way of exerting power and control. But sometimes we take on these beliefs as our own, and they limit us. Recognising this is the first step to doing something about it. This is a key step towards managing your inner critic.
Ignorance isn’t bliss
Some people try to ignore their inner critic; but they often find that the voice gets louder, or recurs more often, so this isn’t a great solution. That critical self-talk may seem automatic, unconscious and out of your control; but you can manage your inner critic.
In ‘When Your Toughest Conversations Are the Ones You Have with Yourself’, Erica Ariel Fox says,
“leaders whose gravitas runs deep don’t run away from this struggle. The ones who make it to the top learn to deal with the universal voice of self-doubt head on.”
Tips to manage your inner critic
Demonstrate self-leadership in the following ways – to address, challenge, or silence that inner critic.
1. Acknowledge it.
Ok... Notice when it’s happening.
Erica Ariel Fox (Harvard Business Review) says,
“The negative voice in your head wants something. It wants to be heard. It needs something, too: a bit of compassion and friendly reassurance. When you provide these, the conversations with yourself start to go a lot better. Instead of silencing or denying that inner voice, respond to it.”
2. Soothe it.
Sometimes that critical voice is just like an anxious child who needs reassurance. OK, so maybe you could have put more preparation into that presentation – but telling your inner critic ‘It’s fine. I know my stuff and have enough experience to deal with it on the hoof’ can quieten that critical voice.
3. Learn from it.
It’s not always a bad thing. Sometimes, your inner critic has a fair point, so you might even want to agree with it – but do not dwell on the negativity or let it get you down. Your inner critic can even be helpful to you. In ‘How to Manage Your Inner Critic’ (HBR), Susan David says, ‘Your inner critic has evolved to help you set and meet high expectations. If you’re open to it (which is not the same as believing everything it tells you) then you can learn from it. Like a good coach, your inner critic reminds you that knowledge and capability are important. Ask it: “How will you help me achieve success in the task ahead?”’
If it’s so critical – seek its advice for the future and learn from it. We can all use constructive feedback.
4. Challenge it.
You can choose to engage with that negative voice by challenging it, taking a reality check, contradicting it or using counter-arguments. For example, in my client’s case, when she hears herself say, ‘You could have handled that better!’ she could say something like, ‘I did my best and it was good enough. That’s all that matters,’ or ‘My Chair thought it went really well! I’ll take that.”
If you find that your inner critic argues back, and you end up in conflict with yourself at length, try something different.
5. Change the voice.
These are a few techniques from Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP). They might sound a bit strange, but seriously, try them. They work.
Turn the volume down on the critical voice or negative self-talk. Imagine you have a dial to turn, or a sliding volume control. Picture yourself turning down the volume of that voice, so it gets lower and lower, until you can’t hear it at all.
Send the voice far away. We often sense the voice as being very close – inside our head, at our ear, or on our shoulder. Imagine you take that voice and float it away like a cloud, or shoot it far away, like a bullet – as far away as possible. Send it to another universe if you like – where it won’t bother you. If you notice that critical voice (that maybe reminds you of a stern parent) – change the sound of the voice. For example, make it squeaky, like Minnie Mouse, or someone who’s been sucking in helium. Make it so ridiculous that you can’t take it seriously.
6. Practise mindfulness.
Instead of worrying about what you’ve done or said in the past – or getting anxious about something in the future, fill your mind and all your senses with only what is in the present moment. Get completely absorbed in what you’re doing now – whether that’s concentrating on work, meditating, or enjoying a walk.
7. Manage your inner critic.
These are just a few ways to manage your inner critic. Of course there are many more. What is important to remember is that taking action to address these gremlins is a first step in the right direction whether you set out to challenge, soothe, learn from, reframe, discard, or change those critical voices…all as part of positively and proactively managing what you pay attention to.
You know deep in your heart there is a more inspiring love filled way to live and you know that it doesn’t have to be the same old battle inside yourself day in, day out.
My passion is to hold your hand through my platforms, show you what is truly possible, and guide you back to your truth there is no sugar coating, no fantasies, no judgement, just plenty of real-life strategies and hardcore wisdom.
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Let’s start looking at life through the lens of th Big Picture and begin to create new positive dialogues and Stories of self acceptance and love!
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