© 2016 by Doris Helge, Ph.D.
Your inner critic is one of the most misunderstood parts of your personality. This part of ourselves that we struggle so hard to demolish is like a beautiful crystal hidden in a rock that is buried in sludge with a foul odor.
HOW DO WE DISCOVER OUR HIDDEN CRYSTAL?
To gain the unique benefits of our inner critic, we need to stop battling and judging it.
How can we do this when a nagging, negative voice berates us with a barrage of nasty comments like, “You’re not good enough!” “What’s wrong with you?” and “You’ll never succeed.”
Begin by understanding that your inner critic has your best interests in mind. It is also one of the hardest-working parts of your personality. You have a powerhouse of misdirected energy you can reprogram to produce the results you want.
Since you were a small child, your inner critic has labored nonstop on your behalf. When it hurls one insult after another, you perceive it as a robot programmed to destroy the foundation of your confidence, happiness and success.
In reality, it’s the most loyal employee you could hire. Of course, this misguided force in your internal organization desperately needs a new job description.
TIME FOR TRUTH: WHO REALLY CREATED YOUR INNER CRITIC?
Your inner critic wasn’t created by a wicked teacher or parent. You developed it. This was one of your most intelligent childhood decisions, although it was probably unconscious.
Why were you, as a wee lass or lad, so wise? You created and perfected a punitive internal voice as a protective shield against many forms of adult disapproval. Your inner guardian held you back with messages like, “You aren’t powerful enough to do what you want.”
Your inner critic kept you from doing dangerous things you had no business attempting. When you wanted to stand on a wobbly wooden stool trying to grab a cookie from a jar placed on a high shelf, out of your reach, you heard an internal voice screech, “Stop! You aren’t big enough! You’ll get in trouble!”
The results? You didn’t break your leg and you avoided punishment for accessing forbidden goodies.
As time passed, your negative voice gained too much control of your thinking. The backlash of your innocent decision to create an inner critic became destructive, like an avalanche born from a single snowball, casually thrown down a mountain ridge.
Your inner critic eventually prevented you from attempting worthwhile endeavors that would elevate your joy, skills and confidence.
Perhaps you are hesitant to state your point of view with confidence. Maybe you sometimes feel uncomfortable standing up for yourself when a situation requires assertiveness.
WHAT CAN MERYL STREEP TEACH YOU ABOUT YOUR INNER CRITIC?
Children have many limitations. Even though you’re grown up now, your confused, strong-willed inner critic has no understanding of your true capabilities.
Today, if your negative voice continues to thrash you with a barrage of dis-empowering comments and emotions, creating shame, anxiety or self-sabotage, your next step is to re-educate this extremely powerful part of yourself.
Otherwise, like a loyal soldier given incorrect orders to protect the royal palace from the queen, this misguided part of you will valiantly wield its mighty power in self-destructive ways. Your internal saboteur will consistently and passionately struggle to protect you from harm, disappointment, disapproval and failure.
It will hold you in check with one putdown after another. You’ll feel unworthy, helpless, fatigued and possibly even depressed until you give your inner critic a brand new job description.
Successful, happy people, from Olympic athletes to actors and CEOs, have discovered how to derive immense value from their internal censor. I interviewed many of these people when writing books like “Conquer Your Inner Critic.” I’ve also studied other interviews with famous people, like Meryl Streep. They clearly know how to embrace their inner critic and re-channel its remarkable persistence and energy in helpful ways.
TAKE STEPS TO GREATER CONFIDENCE, SUCCESS AND JOY
Begin with careful attention to your self-talk. Learn how to pose very specific, empowering questions to your inner critic and your subconscious mind.
Here’s just one example: When you hear a negative voice saying something like, “You can’t have what you want” or “You’ll fail”, give this hard-working part of yourself a new job description. Since your inner critic loves to work hard, challenge it with a bold new mission that will produce the positive results you want.
Notice what happens when you answer your inner critic’s comments in a constructive way, “Thanks for trying to protect me. I’m a grown-up now. It’s safe for me to own my personal power. Go search for specific ways I can meet my goal and report back to me.”
You may be surprised how diligently your inner critic will search for solutions. When you approach your inner critic with a firm, persistent approach that demonstrates you’re now consciously choosing your thoughts and actions, your inner critic will accept the new job description you assign it. Your new friend will labor nonstop with a new intention, delighting you with innovative solutions to your personal and professional challenges.
That’s Step One. Take advantage of the entire, proven series of “Conquer Your Inner Critic” Exercises until you totally calm your critic’s crippling voice. This is one of the most worthwhile life journeys you can take. You’ll love becoming the strong, confident person you’ve always been destined to become.
© 2016. Excerpted with permission from “Conquer Your Inner Critic” by Doris Helge, Ph.D. Receive a 50% discount on your first life coaching session at www.CoachingByDoris.com/coupon/ so you can totally transform your inner critic.