I recently read an amazing book which has quite literally changed the way I think. Its kind of, ‘re-wired’ me.
One of the first important lessons it teaches in chapter 1, is to first find your own Inner Critic. We all have one. Your own personal voice of self-doubt. A voice which, if left unchecked, can actually serve to hold you back; in some folk, it can actually wind-up being super destructive. If your inner critic is particularly harsh, then it can make you feel quite miserable at times.
I think that our inner critics voice can be so ingrained in our thinking processes, that we don’t even realise its there. Just nit-picking away at our every move.
When you find it, it can be quite a revelation. (I found mine by the way, and she is a supreme bitch from hell)
Try to find yours today – Then, once you’ve isolated the voice, think of that voice as coming from a separate being. Give her/him a name if you like; maybe a hair colour even. Imagine your critic as a helpful, but sometimes quite rude friend! Then, try to begin to listen to the voice objectively.
The following is an excerpt, taken directly from the book Playing Big by Tara Morh.
Here are 11 ways to first find and distinguish the voice of your own Inner Critic:
- The voice is HARSH, MEAN or RUDE. When you hear a voice in your head saying harsh, mean or rude things that you would never intend to say to a person you love, then you’re hearing your inner critic.
- BINARY. The inner critic is a black and white thinker. You are awesome or you are pathetic. You are a fabulous friend or you are a terrible one. You are gorgous or you are ugly. When the inner critic speaks, there is usually no room for grey.
- Ostensibly, the voice of reason. This voice argues for what seems to be in your best interest, what is realistic and effective. For example. “if you go through with the book, you’ll ruin your reputation. Your work isn’t ready for that level of scrutiny. Better hold off for a while”
- The voice of “you aren’t ready yet” for women this voice often manifests as “you aren’t ready yet – you need more time to prepare” “you need another degree” “you need more experience”
- The voice of “you aren’t good at Maths/negotiating/technical stuff “etc.
- The voice of body-perfectionism. Another common expression of this voice is self-critical thoughts around body, weight, or ageing. “You aren’t attractive anymore” “Oh my god, look at your upper-arms” “you look fat in this” “you need to lose 10lbs by yesterday”
- The tape. The inner critic’s voice often feels like an audio tape that’s running automatically in your head, rather than like the thoughts you consciously author and generate. It may even feel as though the critics tape invades and interrupts your own thinking.
- A broken record. The inner critic will come up with a new line from time to time, but it also tends to rehash a few core narratives it has been repeating to you for decades.
- Irrational but persistent. Often we know what the fearful voice in our head says is irrational, it still has power over us.
- The one-two punch. The one-two punch goes like this. Let’s say first, the inner starts mumbling at you about how everyone in the room has it more together than you do. The critic then follows up with “what’s wrong with you?” or “Get a grip, get some perspective. Other people are more confident and relaxed … just look at Susan over there” in other words, the critic first attacks you with cynical thoughts, and then shames you for thinking those thoughts. That’s the one-two punch.
- The inner critic may take inspiration from critical people in your life. You may hear echoes of a critical parent, a sibling, or a boss in your inner critics voice. Or you may hear echoes of the ethos of major cultural forces such as your religion or company.