Silencing Your Inner Critic

There has been a lot of talk recently about the inner critic, that voice we all have that talks to us in a way we would never allow another person to talk to us. “You’re so stupid” “You can’t do anything right” “no wonder XYZ happened” “You’re so clumsy”… Many of us get into conversations with that inner critic and give them a lot of latitude.

Over the weekend I was thinking about this when I was talking to my daughter. I’m always really careful not to feed her inner critic, I use phrases like “that behaviour was really naughty” rather than “you are naughty” and it got me wondering why we can be so mindful with others, yet when it comes to our own wellbeing we can be so Lassez Faire.

I read a book quite some while ago now about taming the gremlins, and for a while I got into a great habit where I would thank my critic for their input, reframe the thought and turn it into a phrase with positive intent. It feels really clumsy to start but it is powerful in it’s simplicity.

This morning I had a bit of a nightmare, I have three different meetings scheduled and needed to be super organised. As I sat down to set up for my first meeting I realised a technical flaw which meant I couldn’t do what I needed to do. My initial reaction was full of inner critic but, after I’d rearranged what was needed I sat to reflect. Rather than “I’m so stupid, how could I be so disorganised” I *chose* to say “That is interesting, I clearly need to be more mindful in my preparation.” I’m still mortified I messed up and I won’t make that mistake again, but the main message here is I could have easily slipped into self deprecation and let the inner critic take control rather than acknowledging the learning and taking back control!

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