Are your self-critical voices running your life? Learn how to develop the mindset to stop the behavior now.
It doesn’t matter where you are or what you’re doing. If you tend to be self-critical of yourself, even the best day is ruined. The inner critic is a universal source of angst. This post will explore the mindset that heals self-criticism, according to our experience at the iNLP Center.
Think of your inner critic as a part of you that’s looking for trouble. And it’s expert at finding the negative side of any situation.
• If you do well, it’s still not good enough.
• If something can go wrong it will.
• If you’re in a beautiful setting, then you probably don’t deserve to be there.
• If you speak up, you’ll sound stupid.
• If you relax, something bad will happen.
• If you say no, people will hate you.
These are the ramblings of the inner critic. It can take the best day, the greatest opportunity or an average evening and turn it into a living nightmare.
While that self-critical voice is wreaking havoc in our mind, most of us try to ignore it or distract ourselves, or override the inner voice with positive affirmations. If these tactics don’t work for you, then consider the following mindset.
If you become curious about your inner critic, you may want to learn more about it. What does it want, really? What’s behind the barrage of negativity? What if you allowed it to just keep talking? Would it go on forever?
Try this little experiment: First, get curious about your inner critic. What makes it tick? Then, consciously listen to the sound of the critical voice in your mind. Listen with curiosity! Whenever it finishes a sentence, then talk back to it. Mentally repeat what it says in the “I” voice, then follow with “and…”
Inner Critic: You’re going to fail miserably.
You: I understand. I am going to fail miserably, and…?
Inner Critic: And you’ll never recover!
You: OK, and I’ll never recover, and….?
Inner Critic: Because you’re unworthy of success.
You: I get it. I am unworthy of success, and….?
What typically happens after several rounds of this kind of inner dialog? The inner critics does one of two things: 1) It disappears (quiet) or 2) It begins to offer encouragement or positive remarks.
In a matter of minutes, you can turn your inner critic around! No need to ignore it. No need to distract yourself and no need to get upset. Just become curious, listen consciously and talk back to yourself per the above guidelines. Simple!
Mike Bundrant is co-founder of the iNLP Center, which offers an NLP Practitioner Certification which includes our 6-course Personal Development Program. He’s also author of Your Achilles Eel: Discover and Overcome the Hidden Cause of Negative Emotions, Bad Decisions and Self-Sabotage.