What is your inner critic?
Your inner critic is the voice inside of your head that tells you that you are not good enough, not worthy, not attractive and all of those negative concepts you conceptualised from very early on. Luckily, your inner critic is NOT reality…but it is something that whilst sometimes being very negative, actually guides you in times to bring the moral and value constructs you wish in your life. It might use phrases like, “You should”, “What is stopping you from doing this?!” or “You are not as attractive as they are.” It might even sound like someone you know, like an overly critical parent, teacher or sibling. It is significantly different for each of us with regards to frequency and what our self-talk includes.
Your inner critic and self-esteem
Your inner critic can have a profound effect on your self-esteem. It is an internal enemy that can sometimes take away positive feelings about ourselves and can undermine our performance at school or work. We may even start a cycle of self-doubt, self-denial, distrust of ourselves and others, and eventually the cycle may even lead to substance abuse. It’s not all bad though! Your inner critic can actually help us on our path of boundaries and what constitutes positive or negative behaviour. As mentioned before, it can help keep us aligned with our goals, values and morals.
Coping techniques to banish the negative aspect of our inner critic
- Awareness. Once we are aware of something we can begin work on trying to change it. Try to question what it is telling you. Many of us do not realise when the inner critic is in our heads. We often go about subconsciously living with it and not realising the effect it has on us. Identify the voice of your inner critic and the triggers. Can you give your inner critic a name? Giving something a name means that we can correspond the feelings associated with it with something that actually exists so we have even more power to make our inner critic positive!
- Your inner critic keeps you safe, analyse what it is asking of you and what changes you may need to make in your life.
- Positive affirmations are positive statements and they can change how you feel about yourself and some of these may include: ★I trust my inner wisdom and intuition.
★ I breathe in calmness and breathe out nervousness.
★I choose to see the light that I am to this world.
★I forgive myself, for we all make mistakes.
- Reframing is a method rooted in cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). This is very crucial at using this critic to work with you and not against you. For example, your inner critic might tell you, “She is way more attractive than you are!” So you can tell your inner critic, “Whilst she has attractive qualities, so do I and these include…..”
- Self-acceptance… ask yourself “What do I accept about myself and what do I want to accept more about myself?”