This is a BIG topic, and I am only going to scrape the surface. So here goes...
It always makes us feel better when we know we are not alone. I am 99% sure I can say that the majority of you also struggle with your 'inner critic' and that it's not just me with a little voice inside my head saying 'mean' things to myself at times, finding ways to convince me to procrastinate or want to take the 'well trodden path' on particular parts of life.
Having recently just launched my new business 'Mindchat' I have had a lovely inner critic sitting inside my head, saying things like "what are you doing now", "people will think your mad", "no one will like the products you make" "are you actually any good at writing" "you don't know enough for this" and the list goes on and on!
Now, sensible entrepreneurial me, knows that I am capable of doing what needs to be done, and more. I have stickability, commitment, dedication and passion, and all of my clients have thanked me for the writing work I have done for them, and used it extensively...but the inner critic inside of me STILL says 'I don't think so'.
I know I am not alone! I know many of you also have that little voice gnawing away at your hopes and dreams! Attacking you before you have even taken your leap or done whatever it is that you plan to do that is out of your comfort zone. Having the judgement of yourself weighing you down, let a lone worrying about the judgement of others, is really not a nice place to begin!
Imagine a culture where we could support and love ourselves unconditionally, see our own strengths for what they are and know our weaknesses were challenges, placed their to help us become better in different areas. Yet instead, we doubt ourselves so much at times and let that inner critic win - telling us we are not good enough, not clever enough, not the right size, shape or 'type of person' for that.
New Zealand and Australia suffer badly from a term called 'Tall Poppy Syndrome'.
This is is a culture where people of high status are resented, attacked, cut down or criticised because they have been classified as better than their peers. This is similar to begrudgery, resentment or envy of the success of a peer. (Thank you Wikipedia)
It's such a shame that a culture that is always described as so kind, friendly, warm and helpful, also finds itself in the thick of Tall Poppy Syndrome. I'm not going to delve into anything personal regarding that, but I can say I have seen my fair share and it's hurtful and heartbreaking. However, it does give you a thicker skin and more determination (if you are strong enough) on the other hand it can start to wear a person down and bring on feelings of anxiety, stress and self doubt.
I do hope that next time you may think 'unsupportive' thoughts towards another person, that you are capable of 'catching yourself' before they consume you and suggest offering a more 'supportive' approach to that person. It doesn't mean you need to lie and say anything to them, it's just a way of providing yourself with a kinder sense of wellbeing as well...which in turn will hopefully rub off on your own inner critic, and you can catch yourself before letting yourself down again, by listening to 'mean inner critic voice'.
Listening to your inner critic seems to be such an easy option at time. It fills our veins with fear, and makes us believe we cannot achieve. I would love to find and hear about ways that people have been able to ignore their inner critic, and continue on to succeed. (Please comment below)
It's also important to have some form of fear, as they say 'if it was easy, everyone would be doing it' BUT there needs to be a point where you switch off that voice, and start PROMOTING YOURSELF, TO YOURSELF!
I see it with my children, they even say it out loud (what an adult may now keep locked inside their head) that they are not good enough, not cool enough, not wise enough to join in, or to participate in something relevant in their lives. I have been doing my research and have found a few important ways that we can all learn to handle our inner critic front on:
Some tips for avoiding that inner critic:
So what I would like to propose is that we all delve more into the idea of 'DGAF' - one of my favourite podcast presenters Amanda Boley delves into this further on her shows.
DGAF is the art of learning I 'Don't give a f***' and being able to continue on your merry way, completing what was an outstanding idea and seeing it through to the very end. I am my own worst enemy when it comes to this, but maybe creating a little more awareness around it will help. A snowball effect maybe? One positive thought leads into another, and another, and before you know it we are all singing each others praises, and thinking our own, and Tall poppy syndrome 'be gone'!
We also spend so much time worrying about what others think - who cares what others think. We can get so stuck in our heads with worry, worry, worry - when we could invest that time and energy into being productive and nailing the task at hand. It's like a cycle that doesn't give in:
New idea/plan/lifestyle change -> start to make progress -> inner critic sets in -> fear takes over -> start to doubt ourselves and talk ourselves out of it -> new idea -> start to make progress -> inner critic sets in...and we give up.
Don't let that inner critic take over! How about breaking the cycle and trying this on for size:
New idea/plan/lifestyle change -> start to make progress -> inner critic sets in -> fear takes over -> start to doubt ourselves and talk ourselves out of it -> FIND NEW HEAD SPACE AND PERSEVERE -> reap the rewards -> wonder why you ever doubted yourself.
Procrastination is another form of listening to that inner critic. I often use eating, tidying or exercising as a way of procrastinating, when that inner critic is starting to get too loud in my head, I try to switch it off by procrastinating as I am actually starting to doubt myself. I'm sure there are many other procrastination examples you can think of, but again the moral of the story is to trust yourself. Stick with your gut. Own it! You have got this. If you want to do it, then do it, and don't listen to your inner critic, or the non supportive people in your world (who no doubt have their own inner critic sirens going off, due to your ability to make sh*t happen)
I think it's also really important to recap how far you have come. Take a look at where you were at a few weeks, months or even years ago, and see how better things are now, or how much closer you are to the light at the end of the tunnel. Keep going, sometimes it's scary to face our fears head on...but you only regret the things you didn't do right?!
Stand up to yourself, don't be your worst enemy. Be your number one support person! If you have no faith in yourself then who else will?
Trust your dreams, trust your ambitions, passion and commitment. If you are going to give it 100% then you have nothing to loose. It doesn't always mean you will come first place, but it does mean you gave it your all, and you have NOTHING to criticise yourself about, nor does anyone else.
Be your number 1 supporter. You are worth it!
(Trying hard here to not apologise if any of that sounded like a rant. LOL)
By Jess Eastwood