You're about to step to the start line with your amazing canine companion, your best buddy, and that voice starts...
"You're going to mess up...you can't do it...you always make mistakes!"
Ugh. The Inner Critic is back, hammering inside your head.
We all have that little voice inside our heads—the voice that says you can’t, that you aren’t good enough, that you should be afraid, and a multitude of other negative things.
Many people think they are flawed because they have this inner voice.
But that's not true.
In some people that voice is louder and in others it is quieter…but we all have it. In some ways, a loud inner critic is better, because it's easier to hear and deal with. The quiet inner critic is more of an insidious poisonous cloud.
One of the keys to being successful is to learn how to cope with this inner critic.
But believe it or not, it wasn't always there.
Let me explain.
You aren't born with an Inner Critic. Babies don’t have this voice.
This inner voice develops as we grow, over a long period of time.
Our early imprinting has a lot to do with how insistent that inner voice is, and whether the messages are positive or negative.
But even if we have super positive parents and authority figures around us when we are young, the negativity will start to creep in at some point because negatives have a stronger impact on us. (Presumably, from a biological perspective, negatives are more damaging to survival.)
We fail at things, or maybe grow up being told we are no good because we haven't met someone else's expectations (even if we are having lots of success). We may not live up to social norms and stereotypes about success.
And the Inner Critic gains momentum with each passing year, building in power with each negative experience.
That inner voice starts to act like a parrot and repeat those negative messages—messages like we aren't good enough or smart enough or athletic enough or pretty enough.
Then we compare ourselves to other people's highlight reel on social media and get further confirmation that everyone else is better than us.
How to outwit the Inner Critic
There's no doubt the negative voice is powerful—it strikes at your emotions, at incorrect negative beliefs you hold that give power to that negative thought.
And our environment certainly shapes what that inner voice says.
But, what about those who come out of poor situations to become incredibly successful?
Charlie Chaplin lived on the streets of London and twice was sent to workhouses before he was nine years old, only to become one of the preeminent actors of his day.
Or the opposite situation, those who have every opportunity and squander it away? (Tragically, the list is long.)
But my point is this—the simple but powerful realization that every successful person eventually comes to...
You can’t control everything that happens to you, but you can control your reaction (and actions) to those events—IF YOU CHOOSE TO.
So...no more “yeah, buts…”
Now, here's the good news.
Your inner critic is simply a habit of thinking. And one way of changing a habit is to interrupt the old habit, use a new trigger to initiate a new habit.
So let's start by interrupting that negative thought so you can build a powerful, positive emotion!
Simple proven strategies to defeat the Inner Critic
Negative Thought -> Interrupt -> New Trigger -> New Positive Thought Habit
The basic process is that simple.
But here are some ideas to implement this strategy, so you can silence the inner critic, and let your real voice—the voice that believes in you—be heard.
Every time a negative thought arises, use one of the following:
• Imagine your inner critic has a volume control or on/off switch. When the inner critic kicks in, see yourself flicking the switch to “off” or turning the volume down to zero and then blasting the positive voice.
• The spoken word is more powerful than the thought. When you hear the inner critic, say out loud, “Stop” or “NO” and then replace the negative thought with a spoken, empowering word or phrase, even something simple like “I CAN do this!” or “Bring it on!”
• Imagine the negative thought blowing up or vanishing in a puff or going up in flame and the positive thought leaping into its place.
• Think of picture, place, thing, or moment in time that reminds you of your strength, your abilities and your talents.
• Shake your head to reject the negative thought, and stand up tall and straight and look the problem in the eye, accepting the challenge.
With any of these strategies (and there are many more), make sure the positive replacement thought triggers an empowering emotion.
There may be times (lots of times) when you hear the inner critic but from today forward you won’t give the critic any power.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not talking about rose-coloured glasses here. But look at a situation objectively to learn where you can improve rather than beating yourself up. Assessing where you can improve is much different from telling yourself you are no good and not capable.
Silencing the critic means actively rejecting a habit of fear and negativity directed towards yourself— and developing the belief that you are capable of doing and achieving anything you set your mind to.
Remember: Interrupt -> Trigger -> New Thought Process
Are you in? Just try it for a week and you'll see.
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