Deflating your Inner Critic in 1, 2, 3

Inner Critic

I write about Inner Critic (IC) a lot. Most of the time it’s indirectly but let’s bring that little devil out into the light today shall we?

What is an Inner Critic?

It’s a negative voice in your head telling you: 

  • You’re not doing enough
  • You’re not good enough
  • You better not speak up because you might look dumb
  • You better play your life/career/relationship safe because of all the possible negative what-ifs that may happen if you don’t
  • You better not show any weakness

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Your IC says:

  • You need to live up, and ideally exceed, an unrealistic standard. A standard that you ironically never achieve because your IC always moves the bar an inch out of reach
  • You better try harder and get that project perfect like literally everyone else or you’re a loser
  • You need to give more of yourself to others to earn their acceptance, respect or love

The bad news: We all have this voice.

The really good news: We can do something about it!

Why do you have this shitty voice?

Your IC is basically a ghost voice from waaaaay back when. Think parents, teachers, or other people who played a significant role in your life when you were little. These people simply wanted to keep you safe and make sure you fit in to society.

“Karen, you need to get all A’s! You’re a very smart girl.”

What Karen heard with her seven year old mind:

“I need to be perfect. That’s the only way.”

How Karen’s mind still plays that past programming as an adult:

“I am not going to try for that promotion because what if I don’t get it? Failure is not OK.”

How your mind sees your IC

Your subconscious mind is like a ginormous mainframe computer and it stores all your past experiences and emotions, especially the negative and fear-based stuff, how you perceived them waaaaaay back when as a child.  

It doesn't distinguish between real or imagined and so when you are thinking something today that has the same scary emotion as when you were seven it cautions you to fear it. 

This doesn't help you as an adult and that's why you need to take back your power and deflate that devil!

Deflate your IC in 1, 2, 3!

#1 Bring him or her into the light!

Recognize when she’s talking and what she’s saying. Hint: She'll always make you feel like shit and question your ability or worth.

#2 Ask yourself better questions like:

  • Do I have to think that? What’s a better way to move through this situation? 
  • What if doing my best was enough? What does it mean to do my best? 
  • What is a time I was out of my comfort zone and succeeded? How could that work like that for me in this situation?

#3 Take action on your better answers!

You’re IC hates when you take action because it threatens her existence which is exactly why you must do it. 

 

Here's an example of the three steps in action:

What if I speak up about my money saving idea at the annual meeting and everyone thinks it's dumb? I would be mortified.

(This is where the voice is loud and where we typically stall out.)

Ahhhh, I just used a negative 'what-if', that's just my Inner Critic talking. She's trying to keep me safe from possible ridicule.

Is my idea really dumb? No! I've been going over the steps in my head and I absolutely think we can save $50,000!

How can I present it in a way that is well thought out and well received?

I will call my best friend, she will support me and I know she'll have great ideas. 

I am calling her right now!

Remember: Your IC is the devil and you're not. You are a very capable, talented, and smart adult who can tell her or him to go to hell.

Three Profound Groundhog Day Life Lessons

Einstein and insanity

Groundhog Day was Friday and it's one of my holiday faves!

Have you seen the movie? It’s a classic (according to me)!  And a very strong metaphor for life as it turns out. 

Bill Murray has a bad attitude and is full of himself.  Me, me, me. What does the world owe ME? Poor me, I have to cover the Groundhog Day story. I have to stay in this cute Bed and Breakfast. Whaaa!  I have to get along with my co-workers who are nice and helpful. Boooohoooo! Why does bad stuff always happen to me?! How did I deserve this?! Great. I’m stuck in Groundhog Day! 

I have never officially counted how long he stays stuck but what I do know is that he doesn’t get unstuck until he frees up his mind to start thinking better thoughts about life. 

At first he takes advantage of this new ‘power’ by attempting to control people around him. Two thumbs up for his creative scheme to have his way with Nancy Taylor ;) He then experiments with law-breaking and reckless activities.  Flapjacks anyone? 

He begins to notice the town and its people in a new light. He also sees his choices bring him temporary gratifications yet still do not fill his heart with anything of value. He finally resolves to the fact that since he is indeed stuck in Groundhog Day, and has exhausted all other efforts, he might as well give up trying to control his course, use his ‘power’ for good, and ultimately change his thoughts about the situation. 

Bill starts helping people in the town – giving money and food to the poor, surprising a young newlywed couple with Monster Truck tickets, and helping little old ladies who cannot help themselves. He also starts living! He learns piano, takes up ice sculpting, and replaces the sarcasm in his weather forecasting monologue with funny and inspirational information.   He becomes a pillar in Punxsutawney, PA simply by being a nice and caring person who lives a healthy, rewarding, and productive life! 

Nothing changed in the town or the people in it. However, it was only after he changed his thoughts that the town truly transformed in his eyes.  

And that, my friends, is how he was able to wake one morning to February 3rd (February 5th in our case), the next glorious day of his happy and rewarding life! 

Here's three profound Groundhog Day life lessons:

1. You literally have the power to wake up on any given day and choose to focus on different thoughts and experience a different world.

2. You're stuck here, living life and you choose to be miserable or happy in it. The effort is the same. The outcome is very different.

3. Figuring out what makes you come alive and then going out and doing it positively impacts you and all of the people you touch with your gifts. 

If you’re stuck in Groundhog Day and want out, let's chat. I have one one-on-one slot open that will change your everything.