A couple of times this week people have said to me "You are your own worst critic" when I have judged myself harshly or discounted any sense of achievement or being good at something. But I will let you into a secret - one thing I am absolutely brilliant at, is being a complete bitch to myself!
Whether is is how I look, what I am wearing, what I have said (even just to the Amazon delivery driver who I think I need to consider as my "significant other" right now!!) and what I am doing, my inner critic has a really loud voice and I've needed to tell her to shhh even more over the last few months!
Does this sound familiar? We all have a 'self talk' that can be far from kind, mine is judgemental, sarcastic, belittling and a downright nuisance. In all honesty, she has also held me back in situations, such as applying for jobs, speaking up in meetings, reaching out to people and I am pretty certain you have your own judgey know-it-all in your head too. We all do. Sometimes they are so overwhelming it results in depression or anxiety, sometimes it holds us back and sometimes it just stops us from experiencing real happiness.
Our inner critic is a vast repository of masses of messages, words, actions, clues and behaviours that we have been exposed to over our lives, referred to in Transactional Analysis as our Controlling or Critical Parent. (Berne, 1961). And yeah some of them are from our parents, and their parents, but they come from others too, partners, parental figures and hey, they really cut to the core of our thoughts and feelings.
So what is yours wittering on about now? Where is is getting too loud and getting in your way? Most of all how can you shhhh it or reduce it's impact?
Well firstly, be aware of it, notice when it is kicking in, and call it out, here's my harshest critic along to make me feel rubbish about something I have done, or to prevent me from doing something that could be fab for me.
When I say call it out - really call it out, I like to play a game of "Facts v Assumptions" with my clients who are struggling with that critical voice. Write down everything that the little ratbag is saying about the situation on your mind. Mark each statement up as a fact or an assumption - bet that the majority are assumptions. So if it is saying no one liked your presentation, ask it to prove it, in many situations there will be no a shred of evidence to back the nasty little shrew's opinion up!
You can also give it a name - separate it from your lovely voice, I have a client who calls hers snippy voice. It isn't you, its jumbled together parts of stuff, that put together are really often wrong.
Finally, find a better advisor! Look at what you can do, have done, did achieve, make a daily or weekly list of achievements, the stuff you did, accomplished, succeeded in.
Yes, everything, my list last week included wearing a bra 5 days out of 7, washing my hair every other day and remembering to put the bin out! It also included tiling my bathroom floor which was really hard, but I did it, ON MY OWN!
If you want some help shhing your inner critic, or helping you find your brilliance, acknowledging your superpowers and achieving more with less stress, then book a call today and let's get started!