The Inner Critic.
Everyone has one, right? That harsh inner voice that criticizes, judges or berates you. The one that gives you a hard time or says you are a failure, that you’re not good enough or successful enough and the voice that makes you feel stupid if you make a mistake. The inner critic can wear you down and make you feel depressed or anxious; it can also damage your self esteem and affect your feelings of self worth. So why do we have this voice inside us?
The Inner Critic is a sub-personality within our ego. The ego has many different characters, such as the Inner Child, the Rebel etc. The Inner Critic’s persona has usually formed from our early conditioning by ‘absorbing’ other people’s projections, fears and limitations. We have also ‘swallowed’ their judgements, beliefs and negative comments, known as introjects and made them the reality of the Inner Critic. We don’t like this ‘negative’ part of ourself; and so we see it as an enemy in terms of our personal growth.
But from a personal development perspective, the Inner Critic can be useful in terms of self-awareness and personal growth. You are going to have to do a decluttering and detox process from all the negative beliefs and thoughts that the Inner Critic has accumulated over the years.
One of the ways to do this is to write down some of the statements from your Inner Critic in a journal. Then read back what has been written and ask yourself when have you heard these things being said before? Whose voices are you actually hearing? Was it your teacher from school who called you stupid or a boss that said you were a failure or not good enough? Was it a judgement about your behaviour from your parents, or a comment about your looks from a jealous friend? Becoming aware of whose voices are in there can help you to discern where and when these critiques began.
Next, check out the ‘reality’ or validity of these negative thoughts or beliefs. E.g. if I’m stupid, how is it that I ended up getting my degree? If I’m such a failure, how do I get a good performance related bonus every year? This will help you to challenge your Inner Critic from a place of empowerment rather than disempowerment.
Then when you have recognised that many of these thoughts and beliefs are simply not true - that are based on other people’s opinions and projections, you can start to instil new positive thoughts and beliefs instead through positive affirmations or EFT (Tapping) as well as developing more self-love.
The Inner Critic has been a prominent figure in your mind for a long time; so it may take a little time before this sub-personality takes a back seat. It will also take some inner work and self awareness but the results will be worth it! And remember, you can always work with a therapist if you need some extra help and support.