Defeating your Inner Critic – 8/4 meeting

Last Thursday Steve shared with us his most current presentation,

 “ Defeating your Inner Critic “

Steve began by sharing his definition of your inner critic. Does this inner voice dictate your daily actions, and use hurtful judgments about your abilities and your worth? If so, this may be your inner critic talking. Normally your inner critic is formed from painful experiences you may have had when you were younger. 

Maybe this inner voice tells you; 

1) that good outcomes only happen because of good luck, and maybe bad outcomes mean that you are not good enough?

2) your date didn’t go well because you’re not interesting, and who wants to be with you anyway?

3) You will never be good enough, no matter what you do.

This inner voice has a harshness, which we only seem to use on ourselves. This inner voice doesn’t offer to us the kindness and consideration that we would normally give to our best friend. Usually our inner critic does not motivate us. A voice of encouragement motivates us. Self-compassion motivates us. This inner critic may be holding you back from moving forward.

So, how do we fight off this inner critic?  The key may be curiosity. We can embrace curiosity, since it loves to notice everything. If you use curiosity, you can look more non-judgmentally at your inner critic, and ask questions like;

-how did this voice develop?

– when did this inner critic start?

– When did this inner critic come out, and when does it go away?

– Does this inner critic serve a purpose? 

Can an inner critic be helpful? 

Some believe that an inner critic can be used to avoid an embarrassing situation. But it could also encourage you to move forward and succeed.

As an example, I had a situation about two years ago, where I decided on a whim to join my church choir. Now realizing at the time that I have had no previous singing experience, in a choir or elsewhere, my inner critic came into play. That inner voice was telling me, “ you fool, why would you join a choir? You can’t sing! What are you thinking? “ Thankfully, I didn’t listen to my inner critic. Today I am still a part of my church choir, and enjoying every minute.

And I learn something new every time I sing. 

Unfortunately the inner critic never really disappears.  But there are things you can do that will teach your inner voice to be kinder, more like a coach rather than a critic. 

1) try to identify your inner critic…see if you can figure out what your inner critic is telling you. Remember that this is not your real point of view.

2) try using humor to cope with your inner critic. Try imagining your inner critic’s voice as that of an animated character you cannot stand.

3) acknowledge and accept your inner critic..accept that your inner critic will not disappear, however we can change how we react to it. Maybe try and come up with different coping techniques to change how you feel when your inner critic surfaces.

Coping techniques for your inner critic;

Meditation…try meditation to be more mindful. Usually meditation will help you to become more mindful, and recognize your negative thoughts before you invest too much time in them.

Don’t compare yourself to others..easier said than done, but try to stop looking outward, and look inward. Instead of comparing yourself to others, try only comparing yourself to the old you. Don’t give any time to comparing yourself to others, which your inner critic thrives on. Just focus inward and how you can improve you!

Self-compassion..try to remember that we are not perfect, and accept that.

Remember try to be kind to yourself if you feel you have failed or during a difficult time. Practicing self-compassion will help to build your confidence.

Self-gratitude journal…so every day, try writing down one thing about yourself that you’re grateful for. This is actually positive self-talk, or even a form of self-compassion. If you tend to compliment others, shouldn’t you also compliment yourself?

Don’t ignore your instinct….remember your initial thoughts about a situation are probably correct.  Don’t second guess yourself. Learn to trust your own instincts!

Positive affirmations to quiet your inner critic:

Love myself at all times…when you try and practice self-love, you will become more accepting of yourself, and your inner critic will probably come out less.

I am my best friend..The old saying “ treat yourself as you would want others to treat you “ applies here.

I learn from my mistakes..with this one, try and not focus on a mistake you may have made. Rather than letting your inner critic beat you up on this one, just try and learn from your mistakes and move on.

I am doing my best..this is an important one to use against your inner critic. All throughout life, this one will remind you that you are doing your best, and there’s nothing more you can do.

I am not perfect…no matter how hard we try, we won’t make it through life without making mistakes. Remember you are not perfect. Try and use this affirmation often, and add your own message..something like “ I’m not perfect, and I’m doing the best that I can! “ 

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