Most of us have that voice of self-doubt in our heads. The voice so loud it seems to know us more that we know ourselves.
The voice that tells you that you are not good enough…not skinny enough…not ready to apply for that role…stupid…not experienced enough…slow…you will never quiet make it…etc. etc.
At first you won’t recognize your inner critic because it has been a part of you for so many years.It has lived inside your head almost since you can remember.
This voice tends to be so harsh, almost too harsh you won’t repeat what it says to you to someone you love.
We all have a degree of the inner critic in our heads, some of us louder and harsher than others…
One way to recognize the inner critic is that it acts as a voice of reason, it tries to protect us from getting outside our comfort zone. It creates fear and always paint the worst case scenario.
Say for example you want to apply for that management role in your company; your inner critic will tell you that you are not ready, you don’t have enough experience, look at Jo Blogs he was able to do the job previously because he had experience in x, y, z… you won’t be able to do it…your inner critic will try to protect you from the humility of making a fool of yourself or fail in the new role.
It will trick you into thinking things like; you will get fired and the whole industry will know about it. You will never be employed again and you will be the talk of town!
If you want to start a new business, it’s even worse; the inner critic will say, oh Jesus whom are you kidding? You don’t have enough money…you have no experience…you are way too old, where will you get the time? Nobody will buy your products anyway… do you know anyone who has succeeded selling these products before?
Your inner critic will bring in statistics, real life examples and proof such as 99% of small business fail in their first year… It will also bring your past and say things like you have never been good with numbers; business is for people who were good in Maths in school and you were only in good in History, actually you weren’t even good in History…you weren’t good at anything at school!
It will use common tricks like; what if you fail? you will lose all your money and get into a big debt and become homeless… the list goes on and on.
Your inner critic wont shut up until you give up on the new idea!
These are just examples to show how easy we can get paralyzed by the fear that the inner critic threatens us with.
Same goes when you want to write a book, ask someone out, ask for a pay rise, reach out to an old friend, move countries, change career or embark on any new venture!
These fearful conversations will play in our heads over and over. The inner critic creates this fear in the name of protecting us from failing, keep us where we are…
So in the end we don’t apply for that role, we don’t write that book, we don’t start that business, we stay in the same role…we don’t progress….and then its 10,20,30 years later!
The more we allow the inner critic to make decisions for us the worse it gets.The louder and harsher the inner critic becomes, the harder it gets to quieten it.
However, if we take a moment to listen really hard within, we will recognize that there is also another voice deep inside of us, almost alongside the inner critic. This other voice is softer, quieter, calmer, gentler; I call this is the voice of our inner wisdom.
Instead of using fear, this voice pushes us to go for it. It encourages us to step away from the comfort zone.
It’s crucial that we become aware of what’s happening inside our minds, learn how to quieten the inner critic and tune into our inner wisdom.
If we don’t we will always feel stuck and will never take action…and we will never know our full potential.
Today, its not surprising to see so many of us unhappy with where we are in our lives, we are filled with so much fear and anxiety… this is because we allow the inner critic to take control.
Next time the inner critic knocks on your door don’t jump, instead, pause and listen close in, deep down there will be another voice of wisdom, go with that.
What is your inner critic stopping you achieve?
Share in the comments below.