If you’ve followed me for a while now, you already know where your inner critic comes from. Right, it comes from your past as a byproduct of your early socialization.
It humiliates and belittles you. Stops you from achieving your goals and living your dreams. Always toxic and loud.
Or is it?
Could your inner critical voice be caring and supportive, trying to help or warn you of any possible trouble?
Could it even become your friend?
Henneke, a writer, cartoonist, and the smart business owner of EnchantingMarketing.com, who helps bloggers and copywriters to write better and thrive, has proved it is possible.
And I agree.
Let’s see if I can convince you, as well.
Allow Your Inner Critic to Help
What if your inner critic is right?
Let’s say she keeps telling you you’re overworked and need to slow down.
Instead of silencing her, take a moment to reflect. Being a helper is in your nature. Saying “no” is not.
You work for two, saving your company money. Rush to the hospital after work to visit a friend. Spend weekends at your mother’s – her husband just passed away. And you never forget to prepare warm meals for your own family.
It turns out your inner voice is right – listen to her arguments. She’s worried. And if you don’t slow down, it could take a serious toll on your health.
Take a step back, think the situation through, and decide what to do to help lessen the demands on your time. For example:
- Ask your sister to take care of your mother’s paperwork.
- Invite others to step in and start visiting your friend, too.
- Order takeaway a couple of times a week.
- Tell your boss that, from now on, you’re only taking care of emergency cases.
Write it down and stick to your plan.
P.S. Need an accountability partner? Write me an email and I will be happy to assist. You can also send me a DM on Facebook or Instagram (links below the article).
She Is Nagging for a Reason
Have you ever regretted something you have done?
Maybe you told a friend that his jokes were dull as stale bread, or called your partner a jerk in the heat of an argument.
You didn’t mean to hurt their feelings, I know.
But you did, and your inner critic is nagging, “How could you? What kind of person are you?”
You’re good enough, but you may need to restore the peace.
Cool down first. Then pick up the phone or go to your partner.
All you need to say is, “I’m feeling so bad. I shouldn’t have said what I said. Please, forgive me.”
That’s it. No need to explain yourself – it rarely helps.
You’re doing great!
Not the End of the World
Let’s say you have overslept and are running late for an important meeting.
Your inner critic is right there chastising you:
“… careless … stupid … your boss must be furious.”
Ouch, I know.
But these are just words, not the reality. Here’s what you can do to prove it.
Pause for a moment and ask yourself a simple question: “Is it really that bad?” Like end-of-the-world bad?
Think of a friend who could’ve made the same mistake. If she asked you for advice, what would you tell her? (Stick to the truth.)
Would you say something like:
“Late for a meeting? The end of your career? After all those years of long hours, working weekends, and missed holidays? I really don’t think it’s such a disaster.”
Say it aloud to yourself.
Whatever it is, it isn’t the end of the world.
My inner critic uses every opportunity to stick a finger into an open wound. How about yours?
You forgot to get groceries on the way home from work, and she is right there: “Oh my goodness, you can’t remember anything! How can anybody trust you?”
So you shrink visibly in size, feeling incompetent and worthless. But hey, who said you must believe everything you hear?
Forgive yourself as you forgive others. It’s called self-compassion.
Say nice things to yourself like, “I figured out what was wrong with my freezer today. That was smart.” Or, “This hairstyle suits me well. I look pretty!” “People love my cooking. I deserve a star!”
Being kind to yourself is the secret.
Calm the Perfectionist Inside You
Do you want to do everything just perfect?
But you still keep making mistakes, giving your inner critic reasons to hiss, “You did it again! You can’t do anything right!”?
Well, everybody makes mistakes. So what? It’s not a big deal. You’re imperfect, just like the rest of us.
Besides, imperfection makes you unique.
So ask yourself a question: “Do I know the difference between good enough and perfect?”
It’s not an easy one to answer.
Let me help.
First, choose a task you want to accomplish: “I want to host a party next month.”
Next, think of the result you want to achieve: “It has to be perfect.”
Finally, ask yourself: “What is a perfect party?”
Is it an impeccably decorated dining room, perfectly cooked dinner or spotlessly clean bathrooms?
Or is it a cordial atmosphere? A relaxed hostess having a great time in spite of a thin sauce and a crooked cake?
That’s up to you.
Still need help?
Should You Always Trust Your Inner Critic?
The answer is no.
Don’t let your inner critic run the show, but do give her the benefit of the doubt.
Listen to what she has to say and decide for yourself what’s true and what isn’t.
Let’s say you want to change your career and she is buzzing in your brain’s ear: “Online business? You are crazy! What on earth are you thinking? What if nobody wants to read your blog? Do you know anything about online marketing? How are you going to make a living?”
You have to admit, she has a point.
So tell her: “You are right about uncertainty and my limitations – I must learn a lot. Thanks for reminding me about that marketing stuff. I’ll take a course. I’ll manage the pitfalls, don’t worry. And thanks for challenging me.”
Your inner critic may not always have the gentlest way with words or the sweetest tone of voice, but she cares about your wellbeing. If you let her, she can become a good friend.
Are you ready to shake her hand?
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Images by Henneke and Pixabay