With resolutions in full swing, or not. Let's open up and meet one of the most pervasive enemy soldiers. This enemy to the nation gets in your head and screws with all your thinking, all your plans, all your confidence. This enemy is loud, abrasive, unwelcome, and, 99 percent of the time, completely wrong.
It’s like living with the ultimate roommate from hell - one that, for many, is impossible to evict.
Meet: The Inner Critic.
This critic is not exclusive to you, it's non discriminating in all of us, more hidden in some than others. The Inner Critic knows your shame, your insecurities, your triggers.
In fact, it is the loud spokesperson for shame.
Time and time again, this critic sends us in downward spirals of negative self-talk and self-sabotage. Even though you may understand intellectually that the Inner Critic is wrong, on an emotional level, it can often feel that it’s speaking a deep truth.
Here are a few real examples of Inner Critic voices that I've come across with some ideas on how that voice can be conquered:
Danny: Nobody wants me here. They all know that I don’t fit in, but they’re being polite.
Eric: I’m an idiot. I’m going to screw this up, like I’ve screwed up everything else.
Patrick: What’s the point of working on anything, because I have a baseline level where my life is at, and I’m always going to end up right back there.
How many out there have a version of:
"I’m not good enough (or smart enough or successful enough or good-looking enough)."
"If people knew the real me, they wouldn’t like me."
"I’m not worthy. I don't deserve these things I want (or have)."
(And the opposite: I deserve to have the best of everything, because I'm better than everyone else.)
This inner critic, through constant repetition and brainwashing, creates made up stories that we tell ourselves about our lives and those around us. The strength of these distorted visions/stories dictates how your life will manifest itself.
The Inner critic loves to “be right” -- and it will do anything to be right, even if it means harming our career, our relationships, and our selves. Long story short, we end up literally living a lie.
But before we dive deeper into the Inner Critic, and how we can break out of the mental prison it keeps us in... Let’s get to the foundation of things.
What is the Inner Critic really?
The Inner Critic is noted as having much to do with your Inner Parents. It's the most negative side of your parents (caretakers or early authority figures) who raised you. Because a cut penetrates a lot deeper than a pat on the back. Especially when you're a child and you don't have any idea of how your brain can wire your experience.
The architecture of your brain was literally formed through your early interactions with them and the world surrounding you. Whatever beliefs, expectations, disappointments, criticisms, punishments, and even praise they’ve had about you, all were bricks that led to the formation of your inner critic.
Also, whatever they didn’t say, but you observed: If a parent is never around, for whatever reason, it can lead to the Inner Critic screaming: You don’t matter! If a parent abandons you or the family, it can lead to the Inner Critic slapping you with: Everyone you love will eventually leave you, so don’t depend on anyone. The unspoken can even be ten times more powerful than the spoken, especially when a parent says one thing, then behaves another way.
It can also work in reverse. If your parents used the relationships to over attach to you because of their loneliness, or give their lives meaning because they feel nothing else within themselves of value. This can all get tricky really fast as we can see.
And while your childhood may have seemed completely normal; what is normal anyways? Your brain doesn't conceive of a normal. It's wired through its experiences. As the saying goes, "what's normal for one is insane to another". Even if you think nothing is wrong in this moment, next time you hear your Inner Critic, know that it's a sign that there’s some digging to do to find out where that voice came from. And eliminate it.
Because I promise you: It’s not yours.
Here's a quick story I came across.
Art's parents were ruthless...
Critical, unforgiving, and had high expectations for him.
As you can guess, they were disappointed by their son’s “failures” – small mistakes any child would make as part of growing up - and they let him know how they felt.
His shame morphed into feelings of inferiority around authority figures.
And this feeling of inferiority became part of his personal identity.
Because these deep-rooted beliefs shape our behaviors, Art carried out this story in his day-to-day life.
And he did so for over thirty years, always feeling insecure whenever he was around people he perceived as being “more valuable” than he was.
The dangerous thing is: Even if your beliefs don’t serve you, they become intimately tied to who you are.
They can become your identity.
Thankfully, there’s hope.
You don't have to live life believing a lie that doesn’t serve you in any way whatsoever.
You can silence your Inner Critic, free yourself from mental prison, and replace your Inner Critic with an…
A good friend of mine Denise Jacobs(in the middle) who is in the mastermind group I attend has authored a book for this very purpose. Her book Banish Your Inner Critic is a valuable resource towards freeing yourself from yourself.
Go ahead. Click on it, open it up, take it in, and release your inner freedom. Here's to your wellness.
Track Of The Day - Help - The Beatles