I always say that I don’t believe your inner critic can be silenced, but I do think it can be quietened.
All of my 1:1 coaching programmes have a session in them around your Inner Critic and it’s actually a theme that comes up a lot throughout the sessions I do with my clients. A lot of the time, we’re held back by the things we tell ourselves and it takes a lot to get out of the habit of that.
So let me start by telling you why it’s so important.
All the things you do on a day to day basis – driving to work, brushing your teeth, making a cup of tea, logging on to your computer – these are things you probably do on autopilot. You don’t even have to think about them because your brain has stored how you do that.
Now, in the same way your actions can run on autopilot, the things you believe can do the same thing. You might make a mistake at work and think ‘I’m awful at my job. I shouldn’t be relied upon for this. I’m clearly not good enough.’
And unless you catch yourself, that belief system that you’ve built up over many years can become your default thinking pattern. So the moment you make that mistake, your brain automatically thinks ‘I’m not good enough’ because you’ve told yourself that same thing over and over again. That repetition has meant that your brain runs that thought on autopilot.
This can actually be quite emotional for my clients when they realise that they’ve been telling themselves these awful things for years & years. They don’t realise until we confront it in our sessions and I use some different techniques to help them realise what thoughts are holding them back.
If you know that you always beat yourself up when you do something wrong or you have that Sunday night dread before work the next day, there may well be some deep-rooted beliefs holding you back.
So the first step to turning down your inner critic is to:
Identify what thoughts you’re having about yourself
It’s not always easy to do this and sometimes it helps to chat to a coach to find your limiting beliefs. But try to catch yourself and what you’re saying to yourself. Your brain is wired to think negatively so you may well be telling yourself things that are negative, that are unkind and that may well be untrue.
So your next step is to get curious
And you might want to journal with this one. Remember, my free ebook is still available if you want some journaling prompts to really get you thinking about this sort of stuff.
Ask yourself: Why are you saying these things? Where has this come from?
Because it’s likely come from stuff you were told as a child or something you’ve learned to accept as truth. But the great thing about your brain is that you can change your thinking patterns. You don’t have to be stuck in the negative thinking patterns you’ve known for years. You have the ability to change it.
And the way you do that is through catching yourself making those negative remarks and swapping them for more positive ones
This sounds really simple but actually, it takes a lot of practice. Imagine you’ve been driving the same route for years and now you have to take one you’re unfamiliar with. It’s kind of like that – your brain isn’t familiar with this new way of thinking and it’s only with repetition that it’ll become more adept at naturally thinking that way.
So affirmations are a great way to start – a great way to get your mind focusing on the positive things you want to tell yourself. There are a few rules with affirmations, you can’t just pluck them out of thin air and that’s why I develop personalised affirmations with most of my clients, whether I’m doing a programme with them or whether I’m doing a one-hour Confidence Booster session.
But reinforcing those positive beliefs is essential to turn that inner critic down and bring out that cheerleader that you know is inside you.