How To Know When Your Inner Critic is Talking | Lynne McLean Brown Life Coaching
We all have a part of us that doubts criticise and second guesses. We call that nasty inner voice our inner critic. Some of us have an inner critic that is noisy, persistent and ever-present. On the other hand, some of us have an inner critic that less constant and aggressive. It can be hard to know when our inner critic is talking, especially when we are used to hearing it regularly. Our inner critic wants to keep us quiet and small. It makes us doubt anything that will involve bravery, boldness and vulnerability. Knowing when your inner critic is giving you a hard time allows us to question those critical thoughts. Do you really want or need to stay quiet or small? After all, just because we have a thought about something, it doesn’t automatically make it true. So, how do we know when our inner critic is talking?
How Does Your Inner Critic Feel?
Our inner critic isn’t made up of encouragement, positivity or self-belief. In fact, our inner critics are made up of exactly the opposite of this. Every doubt, criticism or nasty comment you have ever received has fed and fuelled your inner critic. this means that thoughts that feel negative, forceful, shameful or stressful are more likely to come from your inner critic. If your thoughts leave you feeling inadequate, full of doubts and shame then chances are your inner critic is talking. It never feels good to hear that something negative about yourself whether that comes from an internal or external source. Noticing the thoughts that make you feel discouraged, and inadequate is a good way of spotting your inner critic in action.
What Will Everyone Think?
Our inner critic also likes to focus on where we feel vulnerable socially. None of us wants to be unfairly judged or ostracised. The fear of this shame and judgement is another source of fuel for our inner critics. If notice yourself thinking about others reactions and judgements it is a sign that your inner critic is talking. We often tend to group other people into a big general “everyone”. We tend to worry about what everyone will think or say about us. Worrying about other people’s reactions and opinions is another sign that your inner critic is around.
Know Your Re-occurring theme
Once you start paying attention to your inner critic you will begin to notice themes. Our Inner critics have stories or reoccurring themes. These are lots of individual thoughts that tell the same story. Whether it is that you are not good enough or no one really likes you the inner critic tells the same story in different ways. Your inner critic will show up in situations and tell you the same story in a slightly different way to fit your situation. When you do a presentation your inner critic will tell you no one was listening in keeping with that theme that no one really likes you. When you lose your temper with the kids, your inner critic will tell you that you messed up and strengthen that theme that you are not good enough.
Knowing your inner critic’s themes is a little like knowing your enemy. Understanding your inner critics' reoccurring themes helps you notice when that nasty inner voice is on the rampage again.
When Inner Critics Talks
Silencing you inner critic for good might be an unrealistic expectation. Ultimately all our inner critic wants is to keep us small and safe. Our inner critic doesn’t want us to take risks, be bold or brave and uses negativity to keep us in doubt and worry.
This is why it is important to get to know how our inner critic feels and talks. Knowing those stories and how we feel when the inner critic show up is an important tool. Knowing your inner critic helps you gain enough space to ignore or question those negative thoughts rather than believing them. You are not everything your inner critic says you are.
Originally published at https://www.lynnemcleanbrown.com on July 3, 2020.