Do you struggle with a critical inner voice?
Are you too judgmental with yourself and others?
When I started sharing my writing back in 2007, I had a whirlwind of negativity wreaking havoc in my head.
I didn’t know enough. My english wasn’t good enough. The list goes on and on.
But that didn’t stop me.
I challenged those thoughts, and I discovered something that surprised me.
What is an Inner Critic?
It’s not an entity. There is no green hobbit sitting inside your head with an ‘inner critic’ hat on.
It’s just a label for a group of judgmental and critical thoughts.
It can feel like the inner critic is this little person living in your head, but if you see it for what it truly is, you see that it’s a thought, or multiple thoughts.
And you have an attachment to those thoughts because you believe them. If you didn’t believe the inner critic, it would hold no power over you.
The moment you stop taking your thoughts so seriously, that’s the moment your life will change.
So how do you tame, or overcome, the inner critic?
3 Steps to Overcoming Your Inner Critic – Video
Below is the video version of this post. However, the article and video are different from each other, so it’s beneficial to read/watch both.
1. Stop & Notice
Pay attention to when your inner critic rears its imaginary head.
When a thought arrives, watch it. You don’t have to give it power just because it comes in.
I still have an inner critic. While writing this, I have the occasional thought that says that something is wrong. But it doesn’t affect me in the way it used to, because I’ve challenged it so many times (more on this in step #2).
The first step is to become aware that critical thoughts are swirling in your head.
If you aren’t aware, then you’re completely identified with the inner critic, and you most likely believe everything it says.
But when you shift your perspective to observing, you see that thoughts come and go, and you don’t have to entertain every single one.
So notice when a thought comes in. Notice also your wanting to do something about it.
2. Look for the Evidence
I broke the vicious cycle by challenging my thoughts.
Let’s take an example. A thought might say: “Hey, this article isn’t good enough. You don’t make any sense. Who do you think you are?”
One reaction could’ve been: “Oh yeah, you’re right. I’m going to give up. I’m a worthless nobody.”
A better way would be to challenge the thought and go: “That’s interesting. Where’s the evidence that this article isn’t good enough? I won’t know until I publish, right? And besides, I’m learning. The only way to get better is by writing more.”
Remember, challenging your thoughts is a practice. I’ve been doing this for well over a decade now. The result? Having more fun doing what I love.
3. Embrace Your Inner Rascal
So you become aware that you’re experiencing a critical thought. Then you notice if it’s true, you look for the evidence.
Finally, you embrace your inner rascal. You could even use the inner critic against itself by being critical of the critical thoughts.
When I say being critical, what I mean is that you investigate. You poke holes in the arguments of your inner critic.
You have to be a bit adventurous to do this, because when you challenge a thought or belief, it feels dangerous. It feels like your survival is at stake.
The more you do this, the more energized you become, because you realize that you can challenge any thought, any belief. And you can begin to do what you love.
A Non-Critical Takeaway
Don’t take this too seriously. Play with this. Dance with your inner critic.
You hold all the power here.
You create your experience by the thoughts and beliefs you choose to entertain.
This life is a journey of creation. So enjoy both what you want, and what you don’t want. It’s there to help you grow and dive deeper into who you really are.
All the best,
P.S. If you’d like to learn how to become more compassionate toward yourself, I invite you to check out my book Follow Your Heart: 21 Days to a Happier, More Fulfilling Life.