Your Inner Critic Is a Loving Liar

A client and I were having a celebration on our call this week. She had accomplished a feat that, before, would have been nearly impossible because her inner critic ruled the roost.

For years, she believed the lies:

“You don’t have anything of value to offer.”8742707669_49ffbc0673_z

“No one cares what you have to say.”

“Go ahead. Put yourself out there. Prepare to be ridiculed.”

Through our work together, she came to realize that those lies were not meant to beat her up. Her inner critic was actually trying to protect her.

Many books, teachers, and “gurus” will tell you to pay no mind to that voice. To suffocate it with silence. In my experience, that’s going about it all wrong.

When you rally the support of your inner critic and engage it like a creative partner, you can move mountains. She’s just a scared – and clever – little child.

Do something outside of her comfort zone and she’ll sound the warning bells in an effort to keep you right where you are. And she’ll change up the language of those sirens to be sure to get your attention in the quickest and most effective way. She’ll strategically grab your most vulnerable thoughts, at that moment.

If your prominent fear is of what others will say, that’s where she’ll focus. She’ll bring up thoughts like “What will people think?” “Who do you think you are?” “They’re gonna come for you.”

Because that’s where your fear currently exists, those lies have the greatest chance of stopping you in your tracks.

Maybe next time you’re thinking more about failure. The script changes.

“You can’t do that.”

“You don’t know the first thing about this.”

“You wouldn’t even know where to begin.”

Ha! She’s got you again.

She really doesn’t want you to stay stuck. She just wants to be sure she’ll be safe with you as you move forward. She’s just frightened.

The most effective way to respond to that voice is with love and compassion. Instead of giving in to her fears, try reassuring her.

“I know it feels scary, but let’s just take one small step and see how it goes.”

“You don’t have to worry about any backlash. I’ll handle that.”

“You go play. I’ve got this.”

When fear prevents you from taking action, you’re essentially telling your inner critic that she’s right; that it’s best to stay stuck. You validate her blocking beliefs and you continue running on the hamster wheel of your life.

It’s time to change that.

So, here’s your challenge for this week:

When your inner critic rises up, practice responding with empathy, love, and compassion. Instead of taking her words as truth and validating the lies, kill it with kindness and understanding.

Even if you remember to do it just one time out of 10, you will have begun to lay a healthy foundation. You’ll have shown her that you hear her; that she matters; that you’ll take care of her.

Doing so quiets the resistance and the fear, and turns your “inner critic” to mush.

Give it a go, and let me know what you think. Join the conversation in the comments.

Until next week, keep taking those steps to Live Out Loud!

4 replies
  1. Jan
    Jan says:

    When I rememeber. I stop believing 90% of my thoughts.
    Thank you for the idea of playing with my little one. What a fun approach, cute Kerri.

    Reply
    • Kerri
      Kerri says:

      That’s the trickiest part, isn’t it, Jan — the remembering? I say if you remember even 1 time out of 10, you’re on the road of creating a new healthy habit. And oh yeah, the more you let your little one off the hook when it comes to adult responsibilities, the safer she feels safer to team up with you on life’s adventures! Thanks for joining the conversation. <3

      Reply
  2. Kate
    Kate says:

    This hit home. I work for family and my brother is my boss. For weeks I built up courage to have a meeting with him as he is hard to talk to. I wanted to ask for a raise along with several office issues I needed to discuss. After broaching the two subjects, he told me that he was pondering taking away my paid vacation and holiday time, which I opposed. I told him that I work very hard, and he replied that I am good at what I do, and that I should be happy right where I am. Then he got up, told me that our meeting was done, and walked out. He refuses to talk to me as to why. My inner critic is telling me I never should have asked for that raise, and from now on to play it safe and don’t bring it up again. I came home that night and cried for hours. I am so hurt by this.

    Reply
    • Kerri
      Kerri says:

      That must have been incredibly painful, Kate. I’m so sorry to hear that you were treated that way. It’s tricky working for family — I’ve done it, too. It can make things complicated because most conversations are layered with history.

      If you think of your inner critic as a hurt little girl, naturally she’d react that way — blaming it on herself. Children are egocentric — they can only see life through the lens of “me”. Little Kate needs you — grown up Kate — to love her up, reassure her, and let her know that from here forward, you’ll have those difficult conversations instead of her.

      Oftentimes when we’re meeting with our boss (whether family or not) or some other authority figure, we forget to remind our Little One to go play and get our grown up self into the driver’s seat. The more we remember whose job is whose, the stronger our inner partnership becomes.

      You did the absolute right thing by speaking up for yourself and asking for what you want, need, and deserve. Perhaps with some extra self love you could consider a conversation with your brother about how you feel about the way the meeting went down. So the conversation at that point wouldn’t be about the raise, etc, and instead about how you felt disrespected and dismissed.

      For now, love up that Little One, reminding her that she matters, and that you’ll always have her back.

      Sending you a big hug,
      Kerri

      Reply

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