How to make friends with your inner critic 

happy woman with glitter, take the credit, 2020, emotional intelligenceHave you noticed that you have two different voices inside you? One that is supportive and nurturing and one that is critical and a can be a little negative. Making friends with your inner critic is an essential part of the self-development journey and mastering this will help you to create more balance, joy and success.

The fact is we all have an inner critic. It’s that little voice that tends to kick in when we are trying to do something new or out of our comfort zone. Quite often that voice is telling you that you can’t do something, or it will never work. It’s trying to keep you safe but in that keeping you from moving forwards.

The thing is you can’t get rid of your inner critic and this can actually be counterproductive as the more you resist what is coming up, the harder it can be for you to recognise and reframe those thoughts that might be popping into you head.

When I was in the corporate world, my inner critic told me that it wasn’t possible to change the job I was no longer happy in and that I should stay on the course I was on because that was what I had chosen. It was telling me to play it safe, keep my head down and continue.

Of course, it didn’t end there. When I did change my job, it told me that I had been an idiot, that I had thrown an amazing career away and that I was basically not going to be able to make a success of my life. All pretty damning stuff.

When I set up my business and I was in that initial growth phase my inner critic showed up to tell me “No one wants to work with you, everyone is judging you and you are going to fail”. Again, the impact was great. Inner critics can be the most debilitating of all voices. The niggling voice you can’t get rid of, that is always with you. It’s the voice that wakes you up in the middle of the night. The voice that makes you anxious and overwhelmed. It stops you from taking action. Inner critics often feed off the outside world, past experiences, family, friends, creating a story of what is to come, a story that limits you. The projection of other people’s fears on you, weighing you down and making you doubt yourself too. So important to remember that the inner critic is just a voice and any voice can be silenced. 

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The good news is that there are steps you can take to reframe that critical voice and create a better relationship with it so that you don’t get side-tracked whenever it shows up. Think of it as making friends with your inner critic 

5 Tips to help you to make friends with your inner critic

  • Get to know your inner critic – there will likely be a pattern of negative self-talk behind your inner critic. Listen to what they are saying, make a note of what is coming up for you and when so you can see if there is a pattern and work out what might be holding you back
  • Surround yourself with people who encourage you rather than feed your inner critic i.e. people who help you to reinforce positive thoughts about yourself. This will help you to focus on building your self-esteem and confidence
  • Do work every day to bring more positivity in, do more of what you love, create a gratitude practice, journal. Focus on create a success mindset.
  • Keep a compliments diary and use it to capture compliments or nice things people have said about you – refer back to it when your inner critic starts to speak up that little bit more 
  • Recognise that through action we learn and grow. Accept that we will make mistakes, make wrong decisions, but we will learn, and we will grow.

One final note on making friends with your inner critic – keep going. It might not feel easy at times but take it one step at a time and remember it’s all about making friends with those negative thoughts rather than trying to cover them up or push them to the back of your mind.

About the author

Fiona MossFiona Moss is a Career and Business Coach and Founder of the ‘You First’ podcast. Through her 1:1 and group coaching programmes, she supports women who find themselves stuck in an unfulfilling job, to transition to a career which provides them with more purpose and fulfilment.

Her mission is to normalise ‘starting again’ as an adult, helping her clients to create a life that they love – rather than staying stuck in a career, and life, they hate. For many of her clients that means leaving the corporate world and launching their first business. Fiona’s vision for 2022 is to help 100 women to uncover their dream career.

Fiona is currently based in Lima, Peru and one of her specialist topics is all about creating a location independent lifestyle.

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