Our Inner Critic

How are you?! Last time we connected I encouraged you to start living life in the front row and offered a few tips to help make life a bit more meaningful. Since writing to you, I have been making more of an effort to chase after my own dreams and do you know what I’ve noticed? That darn inner critic keeps trying to interfere. “What on earth are you doing?” “Are you crazy….you can’t do this!” “What if you fail?” “Who do you think you are?” These are just a few of the “regulars” that come up pretty consistently. Does anyone else relate or is it just me?

 To be perfectly honest, my inner critic has been my Achilles Heel my entire life and more often than not, it’s won. It’s something that I’ve battled silently for years because somehow I believed I was the only one who struggled with such a thing and felt I was different. Perhaps it’s silly but only recently have I come to recognize it’s something we ALL experience and it shows up in different shapes and sizes.

So, here’s the truth. That inner critic of ours isn’t going anywhere..and do you know why? Because our brains are hard-wired for survival. Not happiness. SURVIVAL. The inner critic is there to simply protect us from any perceived threat or potential danger and it will cause all kinds of fear to ensure you run away. You’ll start to create stories as to why something can’t be done, you’ll justify all day long why it can’t work out, you’ll give up before you even start because it’s safer. I don’t say this to cause doom and gloom. Quite the contrary! I tell you this so you can separate yourself from it. You are NOT the little voice in your head and you certainly don’t have to listen to it. Stop fighting this pointless battle and start making some preemptive strikes of your own! 

Tip #1: Affirmations. Henry Ford once said, “whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right either way.” If we each have an internal dialogue going on all day every-day, don’t you think it’s wise we make it a point to set some time aside (preferably in the AM) each day to practice speaking kindly to ourselves? This isn’t some kind of fru-fru, let’s hug a tree kind of thing. It’s meant to remind ourselves of who we truly are and what you want. I keep a list of affirmations on my phone in addition to a few written statements on my mirror.  I say them OUT LOUD with emotion every morning and it takes a whole 2 minutes (if that) to complete. Feeling skeptical? I dare you to try it out.

Tip #2: Feel the fear and do it anyway. If you want to do something but are allowing fear to get in the way because of the limitless “what if” questions, I challenge you to take one simple action each day to move you there. Just DO something.  By taking action, you’ll see that the perceived threat wasn’t a reality and the fear will no longer hold power over you. Follow Amelia Aerhart’s counsel: “the most effective way to do it, is to do it.” 

Tip #3 Change the story. You’re the author of your life so why choose to focus on a (false) story you’ve been telling yourself that A: hasn’t done you any good and B: has probably made you feel lousy. Remember, you are NOT that inner voice. Evaluate your core belief about yourself and how it developed. Life isn’t always going to be rose colored glasses but I appreciate Hal Elrod’s view who once expressed that although we don’t have control over what happens to us, we can choose the perspective and life lesson we are to gain from it. If you don’t like your story, write a new one (literally).

I hope you find these tips helpful and for those who go to battle with your inner critic each day, I encourage you to at least try one of the suggestions I gave you. Yes, it can feel uncomfortable or strange but different doesn’t always mean bad. In fact, in this case I would suggest different could be very good. Trust me, for a girl who once suffered greatly because of my devoted trust to my inner critic, I can tell you it’s worth taking the risk. And as always, feel free to reach out if you’d like to talk more about it.

Until next time!