This is an excerpt taken from a recent recording I did on how to Tame Your Inner Critic – as part of my Empower Yourself series – to help you to feel more confident, so the tone is informal and chatty. I do hope you find it useful…
Jess Baker here, Women’s Leadership Coach and Psychologist. And I just wanted to jump on here to quickly say why I’m focusing on the Inner Critic at the moment.
It’s actually fundamental to the empower yourself work that I do. Because I realised over the years that there are loads of reasons why we feel under confident, but actually it stems from stories we tell ourselves and the limiting beliefs that we hold about ourselves.
And the Inner Critic is at the very core of these limiting beliefs. So by tackling the Inner Critic itself, you’re uncovering all sorts of weird and wonderful things you think about yourself unconsciously, most of the time.
So I really want to encourage you to think about how your Inner Critic appears to you. What kind of thoughts you have?
Normally, it’s about things like should do, ought to have done. I should get to the gym more often. I want to lose five pounds. I should spend more time focusing on building my network of clients. Or whatever it is. Should do, ought to, should have done, et cetera.
“An endless stream of oughts and shoulds… I should get to the gym more often, I’m not good enough, I’m not clever enough…”
It will also say things like, I’m not good enough. Or I’m not clever enough. Or I’m never going to be as good as, whoever it is we are comparing ourself to. We tend to always compare ourselves unfavourably to others, by the way. And it will, sometimes it will be easier to notice when your Inner Critic has said something that has triggered you because your mood will change.
We’re also going to have a physiological reaction. You’re heart will beat faster or you will find it difficult to swallow, things like that. The other things, really. The fundamental fact about the Inner Critic is that you can manage it. It is never going to go away by itself.
It is never going to just turn off. But, you can take steps to overcome its impact that it has on you. And those impacts, by the way, include things like leaves you feeling frustrated, procrastinating. Maybe you experience the imposter syndrome: you’re not quite good enough to do what you want to do.
Maybe its stopping you from taking action, so maybe you want to connect with somebody but you’re afraid that they won’t respect you as much as you’d like them to. Maybe you want to step out of your comfort zone and go after your own goals and ambitions.
But for some reason, you’re holding yourself back. You’re telling yourself, don’t embarrass yourself. Don’t put yourself out there, because that’s a bit shameful, knowing what happened last time, et cetera.
You’re Inner Critic will try and stop you from being your best self, essentially. It doesn’t want to you feel empowered.
Here are three ways to help yourself in this situation is to firstly, tune into what your Inner Critic is saying and where it is from. Identify the themes. It’s actually not something that you originally thought yourself.
It’s something that you heard someone say to or about you, or in front of you. And it’s not true. It’s totally not true. What has happened is your brain has decided that it could be true. And over the years, you’ve come to believe it and act accordingly.
The second thing you can do is take the lid off. So, by that I mean share what your Inner Critic is saying to a very, pick someone who you really trust, not someone who you think might turn it against you, or use it against you in some way. But by sharing what your Inner Critic is saying, it’s kind of taking out the secrecy: Removing the secrecy and shame the Inner Critic wants you to feel. It wants you to feel ashamed. It wants you to feel small. It wants you to feel unworthy of love or respect.
The third thing, there’s a cognitive behavioural model that I won’t go into in detail here, but it is really useful, and in basic terms it is just every time you hear your Inner Critic saying something, look for evidence that disputes that. Find facts.
If your Inner Critic is saying, for example about this really pants presentation you did yesterday for that client. They’re not going to book you again, x, y, and z. What are the facts for you to believe that? Where is the evidence? Did anyone walk away? Did anyone tell you? Did they give you negative feedback? No.
So again, our Inner Critic likes to catastrophise and make us feel unworthy in some way, and reduce our self-esteem.
The additional thing you can do, of course, is join my next live round of Master Your Inner Critic ~ it’s a six week online course that starts on the 12th of February. And I’d love you to be there.
If you’re ready to get out of your own way, stop procrastinating, and have more confidence to go after the life you deserve to have, then this is for you.
The course is based on my 20 years of being a trained psychologist, and my personal experience of having had a critical mother. It includes lifetimes access and a closed supportive facebook group . . .Click the link below in the comments. See you in there! x