Most of us have experienced it - that unhelpful, sabotaging, ‘negative little voice in our head’. Its sole purpose seems to be to crush our confidence, hurl criticisms at us and undermine our best efforts.
There’s rich work to be done in understanding what drives our inner critic. Why it's there in the first place. Insight is good. But what’s also needed is understanding how to manage this expert self-esteem stealer.
Do you want to quiet your inner critic once and for all and move on with your life?
Start by asking yourself these three questions:
Smart, conscientious, focussed on making a positive difference.
And gutted when she received an evaluation for a piece of her work that was lower than she was used to receiving.
Forget all the great work and great feedback she’d had previously for other work. All her inner critic was interested in was this feedback for this work. Which it immediately and disapprovingly labelled ‘bad’ and which it triumphantly used as evidence for what it had always known: she wasn’t up to this job (why did she ever think she was?)
A litany of critical, belittling and undermining opinions followed – all delivered as facts.
Catherine’s inner critic showed up as a dramatic, black and white thinker. A judge and juror in one, ignoring past evidence, painting the bleakest, scariest picture it could regarding her talents and career prospects.
Like all inner critics, it suppressed and distorted the truth.
What if her best friend had received that feedback - would she have said the same things to her friend that her inner critic had said to her? Of course not.
All those damning judgements presented as ‘facts’ - what evidence was there to counter such negativity? What about the results from her past work, for instance? What had she done well, to make the evaluation as high as it was?
And what, precisely, needed to happen for the evaluation to be higher - what did she need to work on? (Could she do that?)
You see, inner critics aren't interested in the whole story, or moving forwards. They positively avoid understanding the bigger picture. Just meanly focus on finding fault and keeping you stuck.
There’s a legend, often attributed to the Cherokee Indians, about a grandfather with two wolves fighting over the good and bad thoughts within him. When his grandson asks which wolf wins, the grandfather answers, ‘whichever he chooses to feed’.
For Catherine, one wolf was her inner critic.
The other wolf was her true self: smart, conscientious and focussed on making a positive difference. The one with a more measured and nuanced appraisal of the feedback she’d received. A more objective, fair one.
Which wolf would you choose to feed?
Are you struggling with your inner critic? Would you like support to quiet it once and for all and move on with your life? I’m here and ready to help.