Belonging starts with self-acceptance … Believing that you’re enough is what gives you the courage to be authentic. â€“ Brene Brown, research professor in social work
Who do you give more airtime to; your “Inner Champion” or your “Inner Critic”
A client of mine, let’s call her Jane had this struggle with her inner village. A pompous voice that always kept telling her that she will fail miserably when speaking in front of crowds.
If you look at Jane, she is an individual who exudes confidence in whatever she does in her other aspects of life. She has ventured out into many challenges in her work and personal life. However, in whatever she does she feels she is an underachiever and she can do better. She expects herself to always do better.
As far as public speaking was concerned, her inner critic dominated her and controlled her actions to her detriment.
As we engage with the world, many times we internalize the voices of our significant others, voices that encourage, voices that criticize, empowering voices, supportive voices, cautious voices, loving voices. And there is our voice of our own inner village that encourages and champions us in our endeavors and other times criticizes us and undermines our potential. The voice of the inner critique is one that loves to break us, stroke us and doubt ourselves. She falsifies your ego by justifying why you don’t want to do something.
When I asked Jane how long she has dealt with her critical inner village, she said “12 years.” And she was giving attention to it for 12 years.
She mentioned that her inner village always liked to bully her, tease her, remind her of all things that could go wrong if she had to speak in front of a crowd, how bad she was when she spoke, how her body language, facial expressions, and the way she spoke was improper. This inner village was almost always with her and spoke to her loud to discourage her. When she was dominated by her inner critic, if she happened to hear anything from her personal relationships, she found herself further vulnerable and in a flight or fight mode, though she never displayed it.
She came to me at a time when she realized that a strategy of trying to shut herself from this voice of the inner critic didn’t work. She realized that the situation was becoming worse. She couldn’t run away from herself. She had to face her inner demons, deal with them and overcome them.
So how does one recognize their inner critic, accept it, learn to deal with it and move on with life without this demon stopping you from living your life.
Questions you need to ask yourself
- Are you able to identify the inner critique v/s the real voice? Many times we are not able to distinguish between caution and preparation which is speaking to you from that of the inner critic. Jane found out whilst talking to me that when her inner critic talked to her, her energy levels drop, and she got into a vicious circle of negativity.
- Where does this inner critic come from ? Many times it could be from a childhood experience or a significant other criticizing you every time that you start believing you are no good. Your fear becomes your thought, feeling and you not acting in a way that you desire. If could also be from our own expectations we have set for ourselves.
- Do you understand the purpose of this inner critic ? Once you do, you can choose to use it to your advantage. Buddy up with it and if it is one that expects you to improve every time as was the case with Jane, ask yourself what and how can you improve and do it.
- Are you ignoring it and fighting with it or are you saying ok let me take an overview of what is reality and what is just a fear ? Never allow that voice of your inner village to sap your confidence and become your biggest obstacle.
- So what ? Break away from the negative thoughts by telling yourself how in the negative situation that your inner critic presents, you make a positive possible statement.
Empower yourself with your ability. Ask yourself empowering questions to forge ahead and conquer your fears. Inner village is one we have to live our entire life with. However don’t allow it to stop you from growing, learning and taking on new challenges.
Jane now recognizes her inner critic, she has befriended it, and she did her public speaking to a crowd outside her comfort zone and she felt good about it. She tells me she was not 100% satisfied but she considers that she takes her dissatisfaction as a stepping stone to make healthy improvements. She has controlled and tamed her inner critic in that she doesn’t allow it to disturb her peace of mind or spoil her innate goodness.
What are you doing to keep a check on your inner critic?
Have you discovered freedom from being able to manage your inner critic?
I would love to hear….