Your inner critic is the little ‘person’ or ‘thing’ that resides within you that is responsible for a lot of the mind chatter and self talk that you may find yourself indulging in.
Our inner critic feeds from the beliefs that we hold about ourselves and the world. It reflects back to us a lot of stuff that it's been fed over the years and along with our subconscious mind, it builds up a picture of how things might be. Irrespective of how they actually are!
It tries to inform our behaviour and second guess what might happen. This comes out in an endless stream of talk that can feel overwhelming at times.
Your inner critic would rather put you off doing something than let you try. Not because it is being unhelpful but rather, it is feeding back everything that it has been fed as a given.
We all have it. Some admit to it, some don’t.
I’m not talking about hearing voices here - that is something very different. Rather, I refer to the little (or big) voice that pops up when you are venturing outside of your comfort zone. It sees itself as a voice of reason.
Your inner critic is a voice that feeds you options of uncertainty, negativity and warning.
And, believe it or not, your inner critic means no harm - it serves purely to protect you. To keep you safe.
One of the problems with listening too hard to our inner critic is that it can feed straight into the things that we feel defensive about. Because when we are feeling defensive, we look for things that we don’t want to hear. Things that tend to further validate our critical story. And our limiting beliefs.
So, what are we going to do with this critic that speaks so loudly and voluntarily, is to get to know a bit more about what’s going on.
We can of course ignore it and counteract it with positive affirmations, but I say pull up a chair and have a proper listen to what is actually being said. And then decide.
Because you may have always done the polite thing and listened, believed and obeyed.
And as well meaning as this critic is in trying to protect us, it generally doesn’t really fit with what we are doing. And it becomes a consistent noise that is a bit like an echo chamber.
So, a really useful exercise here is to catch the thoughts of your inner critic as they arise and write them down.
When you see them in front of you in black and white, you can ask yourself whether you actually agree with them. Whether they are relevant.
Now it may be at first glance that you do agree. But if you leave the words and come back to them, you will most likely start to see a pattern of thoughts emerging that aren’t actually very helpful.
Question them. Because you can. Remember they are thoughts. Not reality. And you aren’t your thoughts. Challenge them and whether they actually fit with what you are doing.
Quite often, it will be the words of someone that has been a critical influence in your life. This may be someone that operates from a negative platform that has continually warned of failure, bad luck, threat and danger. Or perhaps, someone that has judged you and consistently persuaded you that you are not good enough until you believe them.
It could also be your younger self. I know - weird right?
Remember, these are merely thoughts. They are not facts.
It’s a bit like in real life when you’ve got someone that keeps banging on about past stuff to validate a current story. And in the nicest possible way, there’s a lot of stuff that is in the past for a reason.
Once you start deal with the facts, life gets a whole lot easier.
Because when we let our inner critic take over, we are effectively consenting for it to keep on giving us more of the same. It's a bit like going back to someone who gives bad advice.
When we are able to see for ourselves that there is another way, we can starting changing our own story. We can start to see that our mind chatter relates to things that have already happened. And that they are not a benchmark to rely on for the things that we are going to do.
Applying old rules and thoughts to new situations takes the beauty away from the joy of experiencing new things. It stops us from doing things differently and it becomes incredibly frustrating and boring.
So if you want a different ending, you might want to think about changing up some of the unhelpful chatter that is dominating your thought process.
It's all completely possible.
If any of this resonates and you feel that coaching may be helpful, you can book a call with me to find out how I can support you.
My name is Nicky Kentisbeer and I am a Mindset & Confidence Coach.
I support women like you to work on your mindset and develop the confidence that you need to move beyond the challenges that are keeping you stuck, towards a place that you would much rather be.
I do this based on the belief that you have within you the most incredible resources and capabilities to find your own solutions - irrespective of your background or starting point. There is no barrier to entry.
Maybe you have a feeling of being stuck, going round in circles or living the same day over and over? Or you are finding that the way you approach problems and challenges always gives you the same result. And it’s not the one that you want.
The feeling of being stuck is incredibly disempowering because it brings about feelings of indecision, procrastination, overthinking and fear which in turn can affect our self-belief and confidence.
And if you stop to think about it, you may find that you fear success as much as you do failure. Sometimes staying stuck may feel like a safer place to be when the alternative means change and stepping outside of your comfort zone? There is nothing unusual here as we do all have a tendency to stand in our own way at times.
This may happen because you have lost sight of how resourceful you are. You may also allow old beliefs and stories to inform your response to what is going on for you currently. Yet, much of this narrative is historical and it is no longer relevant to your life now and the choices that you make.
As your coach, I can support you to understand and address the things that may be holding you back from achieving your goals.
Through 1-to-1 coaching sessions, we will explore what it is that you want and the steps that you need to take to get started. I will ask lots of questions! Questions that you may not have asked of yourself. It is through these questions that I invite you to look at things in different ways, from a different perspective and access your own solutions accordingly. I will invite you to look at old beliefs and the stories that you may be telling yourself about your abilities.
I do not teach nor tell you how things should be done. And there is no judgement. If this resonates with you, I invite you to book a free 30-minute call with me to discuss whether coaching would be the right approach for you to start turning your ideas and aspirations into action.