Who is your inner critic?

Another week smashed? Or, did your inner critic give you some harsh words to stop you doing something that pushed you out of your comfort zone? If you don’t know about your inner critic, well today you’re in luck, as we’re going to look into who this little devil is and why they decide to get all judgey and put the fear in to you.

Firstly though, did you try any of the tips to manage your anxiety in the moment that I took you through in last week’s blog? For anyone that missed these little nuggets, find out ways you can distract yourself, ground yourself and more here. I found myself using my worry journal before bed this week. I quit my job recently and finished my notice period last Friday. It’s taken a long time to realise what I want to do with my life and how important a sense of fulfilment is to my career.

I’m now on my way to carving out a portfolio career (basically a mash up of the things I love or I’m good at) that allows me to use the PR skills I’ve built up over the years to help a big charity. I now have one day a week to build my own business helping others realise their purpose, potential and achieve their ambitions. At the same time I’m keeping this blog going and thinking of ways to add to it, so if there’s anything you’d like to hear more of or would be interested in such as audio versions of the blog so you haven’t got read my waffle, I’m all ears!

I’m such a big ball of nervous excitement and have an action list that goes on for pages, which inevitably causes anxiety to rear its ugly head. Hence, the little worry journal gem that has helped me get my worries down on to paper and out of my head. I do take my own advice and definitely need it on occasion.

I don’t think I’ll ever shed anxiety, it’s always going to be there in the background as I put a lot of pressure on myself to achieve. But, I have, and am, learning to manage it. You can too.

Who is the inner critic?

So, let’s introduce the inner critic. Who and what is your inner critic I hear you ask? Or, guess that you’re asking! You know when you hear those voices in your head…don’t be shy we all have voices going around in our head constantly. This voice however, is the one that is a pretty neggy, nervous or even down right mean. It’s the voice that leaves you feeling guilty, ashamed, worthless, inadequate, scared… All quite dark! Do you know the one I’m talking about now?

It’s the voice that pipes up when you’re asked to do a presentation at work…”You’ll never be able to do it”. Or the one that makes you feel crap as you get ready for a night out…”You look awful, your hair is a mess.” She or he is a bit of a bitch to be honest! A bully at times.

So, where does this inner critic come from? There are different psychological theories behind it, but the one that resonates with me more is that deep down your inner critic is trying to protect you, but is going about it all the wrong way! They don’t want to see you get hurt, humiliated or scared. As with a lot of our emotions and behaviours, the inner critic stems from our early life, when we experienced or witnessed hurtful attitudes that we’ve since adopted.

As you can probably already tell, everything I’ve delved into with you so far dovetails in to one another. The unhelpful thinking styles, your inner critic…it’s all interwoven.

So, what can you do about this neggy person that holds you back or makes you feel bad about yourself?

Who does it sound like?

When you hear your inner critic, does it remind you of anyone? When you’re told you’re not good enough, is that a horrible school teacher you had that knocked your confidence? Is it a parent or old friend…? Pay attention to when and how they pipe up in your everyday life and you’ll start to hear whose real voice this is from your past experiences. Understanding more about where the voice stems from will help you to dissociate yourself from their words. You’re not the person you were then, their words can’t hold you back or bring you down anymore. You know what’s right for you.

Name it

Yep, giving the inner critic a name and personalising he/she puts a step in between you and your inner critic. You realise it’s not your voice holding you back, but this inner critic. Mine is called Libby, after Libby from Sabrina The Teenage Witch (ha!) – she seems like a nasty person, but deep down she’s struggling with some insecurities herself.

Sabrina The Teenage Witch, Libby

write to it

Stick with me here…it’s another time when writing down your thoughts helps clear your mind and rid you of negative feelings. If you could stand in front of your inner critic what would you say to them? I wrote a letter to Libby about 18 months ago, after reading one of my FAVOURITE self-help books – Playing Book, by Tara Mohr. Side note – I am planning on popping some book reviews on to the blog soon, watch this space! It did feel a bit weird, I’m not going to lie. I told Libby I was grateful for her worrying about me taking the leap in to anything new, but I appreciated she was protecting me in her own way. It did actually help to address my inner critic and understand why she pipes up when I’m feeling unsure about myself.

question it

As simple as asking your inner critic:

  • So what?
  • Who cares?
  • Why not?
  • Does it really matter?

There are some more fabulous tips from some recognisable faces in this BBC article, if you need more motivation and inspiration.

When you can identify your inner critic, question it or stop it in its tracks, you slowly take away their power and take back control. You’ll become much more aware of when it’s your inner critic’s voice in your head making you feel bad or stopping you from moving out of your comfort zone.

weekly task

You’ve guessed it…give the above a try when you hear that neggy inner critic running around in your head. Stop she/he in their tracks and give them some tough love! You’re slowly working up an arsenal of tools to manage your anxiety, boost your confidence and have days that are that bit brighter. Hope it’s helping you lovelies.

Until next time.

Kirsty x

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