One of the most powerful struggles that I consistently encounter in my personal development work is my inner critic. We all have an inner critic – that voice in your head that tells you that you’re not good enough/wealthy enough/thin enough/smart enough/fill-in-the-blank enough. If I were to tune into your mind for a moment, what would I hear you saying to yourself?
Is your inner critic disempowering, telling you that your goals are too hard to achieve, too time consuming, or too expensive?
Is your inner critic a raging bully, telling you that you’re fat, stupid, not worthy of your spouse’s love, or deserve to be alone forever?
If we let our inner critic rule our lives, we miss out on love, connection, success, happiness, and fulfillment. In other words, we miss out on LIFE. Don’t let that happen to you!! Instead, start practicing these 3 steps to manage that critical voice and get your groove back!
STEP 1: GET FAMILIAR WITH YOUR INNER CRITIC.
Awareness is half the battle here. If you’re going to change the way you speak to yourself, you need to open your eyes (and ears and mind) and really see what’s happening. So take a few minutes and ask yourself:
- In what areas of your life (career, relationships, body/appearance, work-life balance) are you the hardest on yourself?
- What does your inner critic specifically say to you?
Is this step fun? Heck no. But it’s essential if you want to learn how to manage the critic and learn a new way of being. Because you can’t clean things up if you can’t see where they’re messy.
So, do the exercise. I’ll wait.
STEP 2: UNCOVER THE BELIEFS THAT DRIVE YOUR INNER CRITIC.
So now you know what your inner-critic says to you. Now I want you to take a look at these statements and pull out the beliefs there. For example, does your inner critic constantly compare you to other women? Maybe you think:
- I’ll never be as successful as her. She just got promoted, while I will probably still be earning the same crap salary in the same crap job 10 years from now.
- Why are other women happier than me and have their s*&^ together, while I struggle through each day looking and feeling like I’ve been shot out of a cannon?
The underlying belief here might be “I’m not good enough or smart enough to have success,” or “I don’t deserve success.” It’s a common belief, but it CAN BE MANAGED. Which takes me to the final step.
STEP 3: CHALLENGE THOSE BELIEFS.
The truth is this: the beliefs you just uncovered are not based on fact. They were created somewhere along the way. The reality of your life is based on what you intensely believe to be true about yourself. If you truly believe you are not good enough, then you will walk around feeling crappy most of the time. So when you interact with other people, you probably lash out, people-please, try to manipulate and control conversations and situations, and generally feel angry and resentful. Not a good look on anyone. But you have the power to choose different behaviors.
So summon up some courage (not the liquid kind), and do this exercise:
- List your beliefs on a piece of paper. Look at them. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
- Ask yourself:
- What if this belief wasn’t true?
- If this belief wasn’t true, how would I show up differently in ____ part of my life?
- If this belief wasn’t true, what different decisions would I make in my life?
If you want to improve the quality of your life, start by changing the way that you communicate with yourself. I can’t think of a better place to start!