Taming Your Inner Critic

by Lesley Moore

Our inner critic. We have all heard that voice before. It’s that conversation in your head as you rush out the door in the morning:

I should bring my umbrella.

I don’t have time to get it.

It’s going to rain.

It doesn’t look like rain.

It’ll rain if I don’t bring it.

Until this moment, you may not have even noticed that voice that often sabotages your efforts. Part of the reason is because it has simply been with you for so long; you don’t hear it as a voice, but a part of who you are. Yet once you learn to hear it for what it is, not for how it transforms you, you can also learn how to tame it.

It is often referred to as our inner critic because if you listen, you will see that it criticizes much of what you try to do. It is always there, although sometimes it is so chronic that we actually hear it as an extension of ourselves. That critic is merely our fears, worries and anxieties trying to find their way to the surface. Whether we allow it to rise above ground level or not, is our choice.

The most common question I hear from clients is: How do I make it stop?

That’s the difficult part, because you can’t make it stop. As long as you have thoughts in your head, your inner critic will have the spirit to continue unloading on you. What you can learn to do, though, is tame it so you can move forward and accomplish your goals, in spite of what that voice has to say about it.

Lets look at the example of giving a presentation at work. Even if you are feeling prepared and confident, your inner critic will begin hammering away, trying to sabotage your confidence but don’t cave in.

Here are some things you can do to tame your voice.

1- Listen to what the voice is saying (You’re not prepared. You’re going to forget what to say).

2- Confidently (aloud or silently) say the opposite of what your voice is saying (I am prepared and totally capable of this). Even if you aren’t sure, say it. It will quiet the voice.

3- Create a mental picture of how you will look and feel during the presentation.

4- Visualize the accomplishment you will feel when it is completed.

Being prepared for the voice will create a distraction, while having some easy mantras to say, will create a positive and empowering voice to listen to. So bring on the critics and do your stuff anyway!

Lesley Moore is President and Owner of LifeScope, Life and Executive Coaching. She specializes in working with individuals in transition, empowering them to create a life they love and with professionals to help them bridge the gap between expectation and performance. She is a Freelance Writer and co-author of: 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life. Lesley graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in Journalism and has studied coaching through the Mentor Coach Program, which is recognized by the International Coach Federation.

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