There is an inner critic in all of us that affects our attitude and how we think of ourselves.
This inner critic wants the best for us, but can often come through as harsh and critical.
What is Your Inner Critic?
Our inner critic is the negative voice that criticises us when we do something that’s in conflict with our values or intentions.
For example, we may set an intention to eat better in order to achieve a certain health goal. When we eat something that’s not healthy or fail to exercise, our inner critic can trigger thoughts such as, “You’re lazy” or “You can’t be trusted to do what you say you’ll do.”
Even though our inner critic’s true intention may be to remind us to stay committed to our goal, it uses criticism as the vehicle to keep us on track.
The Power of Your Inner Critic
Ignoring or pretending we don’t have an inner critic will not serve us. If we try to resist our inner critic, it will have more power over us.
Not being able to deal with or silence our inner critic can result in:
- Feelings of sadness, insecurity and disappointment.
- Lower self-confidence and self-esteem.
- Having a poor attitude and being critical of others.
- Reluctance to challenge ourselves or take new risks.
- Having a fear of failure.
We have to learn to co-exist with our inner critic, as it’s highly unlikely we’ll be able to silence it fully.
The Benefits of Having an Inner Critic
On the positive side, there are benefits to having an inner critic. These include:
- Having a high personal standard.
- Being able to hold ourselves more accountable.
- Having more drive to improve whenever we make a mistake.
- Being able to identify when we’re out of alignment with who we want to be.
- Being more conscious of what we’re doing or not doing.
5 Ways to Deal With Your Inner Critic in Order to Have More Success
Knowing how to turn our inner critic into a voice that’s useful can help us achieve more success. Here are five ways to deal with our inner critic and refocus on taking new actions.
- Identify when and why your inner critic shows up. We have to pay more attention to what triggers off our inner critic. We may have certain habits or behaviours that causes our inner voice to want to be heard. By having this awareness, we can change our behaviours or focus on developing new habits that will serve us more.
- Question the accuracy of your inner critic. We have to be willing to challenge our inner critic as it may not always be accurate. Depending on our conditioning and environments, we may have been accepting our inner critic without assessing whether what’s coming through is accurate or not.
- Do the “Advice to a Friend” exercise. In this exercise, imagine a friend is saying things our inner critic says, about themselves. By allowing ourselves to think how we’d respond to them being self-critical, we can say the same things to our inner critic.
- Create a turnaround statement. This is about shifting the voice from negative to positive. For example, if our inner critic says, “I never do anything right,” we can change it to something like, “Even though I make mistakes, I always learn from them and do better next time.” It’s highly beneficial to get into the habit of writing down our turnaround statements and refer back to them as often as we’d like.
- Commit to taking one new action. Whenever our inner critic comes up, a question we can ask is, “What is one action I can take today that can help me moving forward?” Examples of actions can include asking for feedback, speaking to someone and getting their advice, or journalling about a certain experience.
We all make mistakes and let ourselves down from time to time. That’s what being human is. The key is to not allow ourselves to be in an unhealthy or negative emotional state for extended periods of time. Whenever our inner critic comes through, we can use it as a trigger to do something positive.
By being able to deal with our inner critic, we can fuel our motivation and keep making progress to create the success we want.
Action Step: Give yourself some time to reflect on how and when does your inner critic show up. Pay attention to what’s happening or what you’re doing. Decide how you can use your inner critic to achieve a positive result and get into the habit of practicing positive self-talk.
Question: What are other ways we can deal with or overcome our inner critic and achieve more success?