You know that “voice” or feeling that sweeps in to tell you, “I am not good enough”, “Why are you even trying?” or “I am not going to be able to do it!”…Well, welcome to that inner critic that can come in to ruin your day.
This inner critic can end up undermining you and your capabilities because it is trying to protect you in a lot of ways, so that you don’t feel like a failure. It also tries to keep you from feeling bad about something.
This inner critic partly stems from our core beliefs about ourselves. I have talked about how our core beliefs play such a role in how we are and how we show up in life. If we believe that we aren’t worthy or we are “bad,” this seeps into this inner critic, and it is like it just won’t go away.
We can feel sometimes feel like our life and actions come from a place of fear. And anything driven or coming from a place of fear doesn’t work. Living in fear self-sabotages us and the inner critic sweeps back in to confirm what we have believed to be true is true. (Which, by the way is SO not true!).
When you do something well, the inner critic thinks you did just an “ok” job, not giving yourself the credit you actually deserve! And it does not allow for growth in life. You are stuck in this negative place.
When I struggled with my eating disorder, there was a constant inner critic that had an opinion on everything I did. Nothing was good enough, and I was not good enough. It kept me on a hamster wheel of sorts, feeling like I could not be anything but “bad at things” so don't even try at all.
Luckily, throughout my recovery, I’ve found some ways to help silence that inner critic:
Don’t mix it up with being realistic.
For example, if you don’t study for a test and then do not get the grade you wanted. Next time, study, and then whatever grade you get, at least you know you studied and tried your best.
That is the difference between being realistic and letting your inner critic run the show.
Recognize your self-sabotaging behavior.
Recognize and acknowledge it, because if you just push it away, you aren’t able to be proactive in all of this. Then distance yourself from this “inner critic” as if you are detached from it and looking at the situation from an outsider’s perspective. By doing this, you can give it a name or feeling. See if there is a lesson in the situation you can take away from it.
One exercise I learned in the Hungry for Happiness Certification Program that really helps, is to think, “Would I talk to my 5-year-old self or child this way?” Most of the time, the answer to that is a NO. Instead, feel compassion for yourself. Give yourself some grace, because feeling like you can’t do anything right won’t allow space for the actual great things you are doing.
I still can have an inner critic at times, but the difference now is I can see it and recognize it. I do not beat myself up, which has also continued to help me throughout my journey. I’ve been able to understand that I’m not a horrible failure at the core of my being. It was the beliefs I had held onto that made me feel that way at times. So, I can distance myself from the situation and be objective about things now.
I hope this helps you see a different perspective on what is the actual truth and what is that inner critic talking to you. It has helped me feel good about my accomplishments and be proud of myself and all the hard work I have done to recover and grow in life.
This guest post was written by one of our Certified Coaches, Erin Reiland. Check out all the great work she is doing in the world by checking her out on Instagram @erin_reiland_love or by visiting her website!