I bet you’ve heard that voice or felt that judge inside you…the one that says things like, “No, I can’t,” “I’m not good enough,” “I’m such a failure, loser, [fill-in-blank],” “Who do I think I am anyway?” etc. That’s the inner critic we all have.
Where does this inner critic come from, what purpose does it serve, and, most importantly, how do we manage it? To answer these questions, I’ve included two short videos below, along with a summary for the answer to each question.
Where does our inner critic come from?
Our inner critic is a composite of negative messages we’ve internalized mostly by the time we were 5 years old, when we didn’t have the sophistication or capacity to filter and make sense of what was said or done to us. These messages form the subconscious programming that runs our lives automatically 95% or more of the time, including telling us we can’t, we aren’t good enough, etc.
What purpose does our inner critic serve?
Our inner critic’s sole purpose is to keep us safe. For survival reasons, our brain is wired to have a negativity bias, such that we’re always ready to either fight or run for safety. Because of this negativity bias, we’re 5 times as sensitive to negative and potentially threatening situations than positive experiences that aren’t connected to survival. That’s why, whenever the idea of doing something new or that which stretches our comfort, our inner critic stands ready to stop us from venturing into such uncharted and risky territory.
How can we manage our inner critic?
Neuroscience research shows that we can counteract the negativity bias and establish new neuropathways through consciousness-raising practices. In the following video, I talk about 5 specific tactics to manage our inner critic:
- Stop the automatic negative talk by asking: Why not? Who’s talking? Is that really true?
- Adopt a “power move” that shifts your energy into the state of “Yes, I can!”
- Identify where the “I can’t” fear is most intense in your body. Cradle that fear like a crying baby, sending it love and comfort.
- Celebrate progress and success to furnish evidence that not only are you safe, but you’re doing well.
- Connect to your “why” and your passion for what you (would like to) do. In that space, there’s no room for your inner critic.
Our inner critic is essentially a confused and scared 5-year-old (or even younger) who tries to sound adult to do its job to protect us. Therefore, it doesn’t need to be stuffed down or destroyed—it can’t be done anyway. Rather, we just need to be mindful of not letting it run our lives—just like we wouldn’t want a 5-year-old to be driving us around!
Would love for you to share your thoughts in the comment box below, especially if you have strategies and tactics that work well for you in managing your inner critic.
P. S. Have some great news to share…
My book, REACH Your Dreams: Five Steps to be a Conscious Creator in Your Life, is honored by Aspire Magazine as one of their November “Top 10 Inspiring Books”! Ten inspiring books dedicated to inspiring, empowering and supporting you on your journey. You’ll find empowering books on Gratitude, Love, Faith, Relationships, Self-Discovery, Resiliency & more. Aspire Magazine is on a mission to inspire women around the world! To see the full Top Ten list, click here.
If you’re new here, welcome! I invite you to subscribe to my blog via email or RSS feed. Simply look for the “Subscribe & Connect” box below.