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  • Writer's pictureConnie Leach

Are You Derailed by Your Inner Critic?

Everyone, young and old, has the voice of the critic in their heads. Sometime this voice can sound like and mimic a person in your life: a parent, a teacher, a colleague, a minister, or a friend. The critic often presents itself as a pessimistic, discouraging voice that is meant to control you by keeping you from taking risks. The critic wants to keep you playing small and afraid to venture out.

The critic uses many tricks and disguises in an attempt to control you. It is a master at mimicking and amplifying the voices of other people in your life who have tried to diminish you in the past. Here are four examples of the most common critics:

The Shamer:

The Shamer likes to use words like "should" and "must" over and over in an attempt to shame and control you. The Shamer's intent is to put unrealistic and unreasonable demands on you in an attempt to keep you from having fun and experiencing life.

This critic says things like, "You must go to the gym four times a week," or "You should be making more money." You are never good enough.

The Perfectionist:

The Perfectionist declares that you must do things perfectly or you will be disliked or rejected by others. The critic's pressure is so strong that you begin feeling anxious and have trouble getting started.

The Perfectionist's voice berates you so much that you find yourself avoiding difficult tasks and procrastinating. What you do is never good enough.

The Judger:

The Judger is relentless in comparing you to others in an attempt to make you feel inferior and unworthy. The Judger is constantly judging you about the way you look, how you act, and about the work you do. You never quite measure up to other's and this Critic loves to keep you feeling inferior to everyone else.

Notice when you're feeling envious or jealous of others. Listen for the Critic's voice.

The Liar:

The Liar tries to derail you by distorting the truth, causing you to feel confused and unsure of yourself. This Critic uses three different techniques:

1) Catastrophizing: The Liar tells you that situations are bigger and worse than they really are.

2) Filtering: The Liar wants you to focus on the negative things in your life, while ignoring or minimizing the positive.

3) Personalizing: The Liar wants you to believe that what others say and do is always about you when in reality, it has nothing to do with you.

Manage Your Critic:

Unfortunately, the voice of the critic is almost impossible to get rid of. But it can be muted. Use the following 3 steps to manage your Critic:

1) Notice when you're feeling down and unworthy and try to catch what the Critic is saying to you.

2) Name your Critic so you can easily call it out. "Hey, You Old Bat, you can't control me."

3) Create an Inner Mentor. Instead of listening to your inner critic's voice, you can create a more supportive and nurturing one. The Inner Mentor wants the best for you. It can be the voice of someone from history, a fictional character, or someone of your own creation. Nancy Drew, the famous fictional detective, has always been my positive inner guide.

What Nurturing Mentor will you choose? Draw a picture or find an illustration of your mentor. What will you call your mentor?

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