3 Ways To Deal With Your Inner Critic
Before I uploaded my first post on this blog, I had a lot of inner struggle like a battle in my mind as to whether to post it or not, and this is because of something called the 'inner critic'.
Now when we hear of this we usually associate it with a very bad or unpleasant emotion but that's not entirely what it is.
So what is it? What is the inner critic?
First, to criticise means to evaluate or analyse someone or something to make a positive or negative conclusion.
The inner critic refers to an inner voice that judges, criticises, or demeans a person whether or not the self-criticism is objectively justified.
It’s important to point out that your inner critic can be helpful. In what way?
1. Re-evaluation: It helps you check your level of preparedness for something you're about to do. It prevents you from walking into and encountering many avoidable dangers and unpleasant experiences.
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2. Self-reflection: It makes us introspective and helps us identify when we’re out of alignment with purpose. This makes us create personal standards and makes us accountable.
3. It creates the drive to improve: It points out our mistakes and limitations and this propels us to improve on those areas, so we won't make those mistakes again.
4. It makes more conscious of what we’re doing or not doing so we don't waste time on the non essentials.
The inner critic is usually only a perspective. It may not always be right, but it’s often worth listening to what that voice says.
Its existence itself isn’t problematic; what’s problematic is its management.
The nature of our inner critic’s feedback is almost always negative and comes out in a harsh and unsupportive manner. But it’s impossible to consciously suppress internal thoughts and emotions. Resisting them will only make them stronger, leading to a more violent and furious reaction. So instead, the aim is to listen, understand and act. But the action here is what we want to address.
When managed wrongly, it leads to:
1. Feelings of sadness, insecurity and disappointment.
2. Reduced self-confidence and self-esteem.
3. Having a poor attitude and being critical towards others.
4. Reluctance to challenge ourselves or take new risks.
5. Having a fear of failure or mistakes
How to effectively manage the inner critic:
1. Focus on the situation, not you: When the voice comes, think about the situation or circumstance that surrounded it. Then try to identify the specific areas that made you feel that way or evoked the unpleasant thought. Then think of what you could have done to prevent that unpleasant situation that had happened, then come up with strategies to prevent them from happening again. These strategies could involve improving on certain aspects of yourself like your speech, dressing, or your manner of approach or comportment. But if there is nothing you could have done, then it wasn't your fault and you should let it go and not sweat over it.
2. Do the “Advice a Friend” exercise: In this exercise, imagine a friend is saying things their inner critic says about themselves. By allowing ourselves to think how we’d respond to them being self-critical, we can say the same things to our inner critic. Be your own friend, have self love, be compassionate on yourself. Only someone with low self esteem and low self worth will find it difficult to accept this. And so if this is you, then focus on developing your confidence and self esteem as this will go a long way in helping you deal with your inner critic.
3. Positive affirmations: Affirmations are positive brief phrases or statements repeated frequently, used to challenge negative or unhelpful thoughts or encourage positive thoughts and build self esteem. Words have power.
In conclusion, break out from that negative mindset, go into the world and make an exceptional change, in your specific area of the world system, a change that would not be erased by the tides and waves of this ever dynamic world.