“If you gave your inner genius as much credence as your inner critic, you would be light years ahead of where you now stand.”
– Alan Cohen
So my inner critic showed up today. Lucky me! Years ago it would have started a cycle of serious self doubt. Over time, I have learned to get curious about what it might have to offer in terms of helping me breakthrough career and life challenges. Did you know that we all have an inner critic or saboteur? Are you in tune with yours?
You will notice it as an inner voice that’s often critical, judgmental or disapproving. The job of the inner critic is to keep us comfortable and maintain the status quo in our lives. It disguises itself as protecting us when in fact it keeps us from moving forward in positive ways and getting what we truly want out of life.
The inner critic can also create stories about us that we tend to play over and over in our heads. This can cause us to turn inside ourselves, become avoidant or even withdraw completely. There is a cost to this rumination: Not being present to all that is in front of us.
It’s important to know that we can’t get rid of the inner critic altogether—it will always be with us. It’s neither good nor bad, it just IS. But starting with acknowledgement, we can learn to disarm it. The saboteur loses its power over us when we consciously go through the following process:
- Identify it for what it is: Get curious about why it’s present and what you might learn from it. “Oh, hello. I see you and recognize that you are here. What insights do you have for me? What do I need to be aware of? Thank you for watching out for me.”
- Notice your options in the situation: Choose a different perspective. Consciously move from: “I can’t, I’ll fail. I’m not set-up for success.This is hard. Why try?” To: “What if I am WILDLY successful? What are the possibilities from this place?” Often times a physical change of environment or scenery can help. A new view, a long walk, or a coffee break in the middle of hectic day. Then ask yourself: “What does it look like from this space?”
- Consciously choose what you really want at the time. Try this: “I want to ____. I will ____. I’m calling on my empowered self to ____. I will be successful. I know I can do this.”
To inquire further, ask your yourself the following questions:
- Who is your inner critic or saboteur?
- When does it show up?
- Can you give it a name?
- What might you say to it today?
- How might you see the situation differently?
Practice listening to the answers of these questions and continue to challenge the voice of your inner critic. Stand from a new perspective, and take back your power knowing that you are worthy and newly empowered.