In an earlier post I referred to your inner critic and how there are ways to manage it and dissuade it from overpowering your awesome ideas, actions and dreams.
What do I mean by your inner critic? I describe it as the doubt that arises when you have the opportunity to put yourself out there. It may be a vocal inner critic, with loud thoughts that it shares, or it may be quiet and simply do enough to hold you back, all in the aim of saving you from doing something silly.
It’s really easy to think of our inner critic as helpful, a cautious friend on our shoulder luring us back from the edge of embarrassment or failure. Alas, more often than not your inner critic is actually selling you short, keeping you in your comfort zone of ‘maybe not today’ or ‘maybe it’s not for me’.
Well, in a similar vein to my post on SFD, it’s time to get it out there, to meet your inner critic.
What does your inner critic sound like? How old are they? What do they wear? Who is he/she? Yup, it can be a guy or a gal. Andrea from Project Self refers to hers as Nev, as in Neville. If you want to read a great example of what conversations with your inner critic might be like, check out some of her posts.
Ask these questions to create a clear picture of your inner critic. Once you have this firmly in your mind, pick a name for him/her. You may not even need to think about this, it may be obvious that it is Sandy, or Sheila or Sebastian or Fred.
Next time your inner critic starts doubting on you, welcome him/her like an old friend that has come over for a cup of tea way too late at night/early in the morning. Give them a hug, have a cup of tea, then kindly show your inner critic the way out, reminding him/her that ‘you got this’. Then continue on with whatever awesome thing it is that you were doing.
And if there’s a knock at the door? Ha! Yes, it’s not that easy. But now, the next steps are up to you. Everyone treats their inner critic in a different way. Sometimes mine packs up and ships out for a while (hair straighteners and all, as well as persistent, Daphne is high-maintenance*!) then all of a sudden she’s back and I don’t know where on earth she found the spare key! I do my best to greet her with compassion, understand her point of view and then politely reaffirm that I know what I’m doing (that’s both for her and for me).
Naming your inner critic is not a cure-all, but it creates a two-way conversation. As you get to know your inner critic you’ll come to know how he/she responds, what gets him/her all fired up and what will get him/her packing their bags. Along with this you’ll decide how you want to work with them, you’ll know if they do, on occasion, have a valid point.
So, who is your inner critic?
Check out this article for tips on how to silence your inner-critic from a few inner-critic savvy women.
*Daphne in her cartoon form.