5 Ways To Control
Your Inner Critic
The inner critic is the voice in our heads that can be judgmental, demeaning and often results in poor self-esteem and confidence. Our worst enemy can come from within. The inner critic is the voice that will always find fault with everything we do and loves to win every battle and ultimately the war. The voice in our heads controls the way we see the world, the thoughts we have about what is happening around us. When our inner voice is an inner critic, our thoughts about the person we are causes the way we feel about ourselves.
Most of us are all too familiar with those annoying, constant thoughts that seem to arise every time we decide to push ourselves and make a change. Pushing ourselves through the barrier we have struggled against for years – our inner voice, often leads to further self-doubt and the reason most of us stop trying to evolve into the person we want to be.
Even though we need to experience a level of self-doubt as we venture into the unknown, how much is too much and how do we control the inner critic enough to move forward?
Let’s begin by defining “self-image” – the idea one has of one’s abilities, appearance, and personality.
IDEA: – is just a mental picture, an illusion sometimes of what we think we are. An idea is neither right or wrong but all too often we decide that if the idea is a negative one, it must be right. Our mind searches for evidence to prove that idea we have about ourselves is correct.
Image you are the ‘Boss’ and your mind is your computer. It’s job is to do whatever you program it to do – and to do it fast and efficiently. That’s its job!!! If you have the idea that you are not capable of earning more money than you are currently earning, you have programmed your mind to find you evidence to prove that this is true. If you have the idea that you will never lose weight because you were told as a child that you would always be overweight, your mind will search everywhere to prove that this idea is the right one.
Self-image is decided by US!!! Self-image is not determined by what other people say or do as they are not the ones programming our minds. We are. We decide if we want to believe what other people say. We decide what our self-image looks like, behaves like and feels like.
5 Ways To Control Your Inner Critic
What you focus on becomes reality
When you wake every day, look in the mirror & describe how this makes you feel. Write this down without questioning. The answer is what you are focusing on and this is what is real.
Be Kind to yourself
Accept what you see BUT just for today. Tell yourself it is only today that my self-image is the way it is. Tomorrow it will be different. Today I will accept and I will not beat myself up about it because I have the power.
The Damaging Belief System
Identify the thoughts behind the emotions. Write them down. These thoughts often arise from long standing beliefs. Now change that thought just a little more each day until you truly believe it.
Other people's opinions are none of your business
Give yourself permission to be judged because people will anyway. Write down one thing you dislike about yourself & give yourself permission to not judge it today ONLY. The only opinion about you that matters is yours!
Every new stage or new challenge in life will bring up self-doubt. The only way to push through changes and move into a new stage of life is to feel self-doubt – an emotion that will teach you just how strong you really are.
#1 What you focus on becomes reality
The brain is like a computer. It likes to be efficient and correct. The brain has to process over 60,000 thoughts every single day and the only efficient way it can do this is through the RAC system – like the gatekeeper to the conscious mind. This system determines what is important and what’s not by filtering information that you focus on. What you focus on is what is sent to the conscious mind.
The Thought Cycle – The thought cycle is a guide on how we process all the information our brains receive every single day. In the centre of the thought cycle I like to call LIFE. This is where all the facts sit – anything that we can all agree on. Anything that involves your past, other people, experiences, circumstances – basically anything outside of you.
Thoughts – are how we perceive everything inside the circle. It is our way to deciding what everything means. There is no right or wrong but the thoughts we we have by choice.
Emotions – emotions are caused by the thoughts in our head. We choose the thoughts, therefore we choose how we feel.
Behaviour – the actions we take ( or actions we do not take) are directly related to how we are feeling. In other words, our behaviour is influenced by our emotions.
Outcome – this is the results we see from our behaviour. The actions we take (or don’t take) gives us the results we see in our life. The results try to always PROVE the initial thought was correct.
#2 The Damaging Belief System
What is a belief? A belief is a feeling about what something should mean in life. Beliefs are often created by life experiences and this what supports truth behind the belief. Beliefs are built on evidence, whether it is factual evidence or simply the perception of what you believe to be true.
EG: If you see yourself as overweight and not worthy to have the body you really want, then this belief will govern all your actions (or lack of actions) you take in life.
The Fat Belief System:
This negative belief system often starts with evidence from childhood. Some ways to identify it is by what was taught in the family about body image, was dieting allowed, were there family members constantly dieting etc. The good news is it is simply a thought you continue to have and we now realise we have total control of our thoughts. Remember, the brain is constantly searching for proof to sustain the belief. This belief system never empowers you – removes all control.
How to change a belief that is no longer serving you?
1. Write down the original belief and where it started.
2. Break this belief down into smaller beliefs that can be changed. (Often tackling this belief as a whole is too challenging)
3. Understand the pain/pleasure principle. If you can associate enough pain with yourself by continuing to believe this belief, you will start to empower yourself to change it.
4. Create doubt. When doubt is placed on a belief, it loses its strength. Ask yourself why am I thinking this? How will I feel if I no longer choose to believe this? Begin to build evidence to support these questions. Remember, the brain searches for proof to support every thought – give the brain reason to doubt this thought.
5. What would you have to do to change the belief? Start making small changes until you believe it.
that a belief is not serving you and change it.
#3 Be Kind To Yourself
How often do you judge yourself for saying something or not saying something?
How often do you start a new diet and when your cravings get the better of you, you call yourself stupid or a loser for quitting?
An essential tool in strong mental health and self image is to start being kind to yourself. Start from today. It doesn’t matter what has happened in the past (it’s an experience – a fact – it’s happened – & no matter how much you try, you cannot change it).
Changing reality quickly.
Self Image is with you every day and most people want to change it and to change it quickly. This doesn’t always work!!!! It only ever results in failing and then beating yourself up because you feel you are not worthy enough to look or behave any different from the way you are now. Become aware of what you are saying to yourself and if those words & thoughts are kind. If they are NOT kind thoughts or words, they are serving you and will only encourage you to stay the way you are.
How to start to be kind?
1. GET off the comparison wheel. It does not serve anyone in the long term.
2. Understand the way you think about yourself (your thoughts) will cause you to feel a certain way and this will influence your behaviour. Write down your thoughts – you might be surprised to how unkind your words are about yourself.
3. Being kind to yourself doesn’t mean you are giving up or letting yourself off the hook for changing your self image. Would you be harsh on a child if they made a severe mistake like eating a chocolate bar instead of an apple? (If you would – maybe it’s time to go back to your belief systems)
4. It takes strength to change but every day it gets easier and easier.
#4 Other people’s opinions are none of your business
When looking at yourself, the only thing you can control are the thoughts you have about your life. If you can only control your own thoughts, how do you think you can ever control anyone else’s thoughts, especially about you. What someone thinks of you is not only none of your business but it’s simply their opinion from their perspective. Just like what you think about them is your opinion about them all seen through your own lens.
Everybody has their own preferences in life. Some people love chocolate cake while others prefer something more savoury like cheese and crackers. If someone doesn’t like the chocolate cake, does that mean there is something wrong with the cake? No, it just means not everyone likes the same thing. The same is with other people’s opinions of you. Some people will be naturally drawn to you and enjoy your company while others may dislike you from the moment you meet. The more you try to ‘make’ them like you, the less they probably will.
To be criticised can generate negative emotions if the thought you have allows it. The more you put yourself out into the world, the more you will attract people who believe they can say whatever they want about you. And they can. You cannot control what other people say or think of you. The actual criticism doesn’t hurt, it’s the way you choose to think about the comments. You determine whether the comments mean anything or not.
People will always judge – you judge… I judge (even if it is about myself). Are you your worst critic?
When you give people permission to not like you or to judge you, you will no longer take their opinions personally. Their opinions become none of your business because no matter what you do or don’t do, you have no control over what someone else is thinking.
#5 Owning Your Self-Doubt
Every new stage or new challenge in life will bring up self-doubt.
o Setting goals will always bring up self-doubt.
o Most people think they should achieve whatever it is in one try.
o Self-doubt looks like: Oh I am not meant to have a skinny body anyway.
o Our opinions (thoughts) of the obstacles between us and our desired result is
what brings up self-doubt.
o What are your thoughts on each obstacle?
If you want to grow to the next best version of yourself, you must face self-doubt. Most people get to the first obstacle and run. When you can look at other people and see they have also achieved what you want, you know you are facing self-doubt.
How to work with self-doubt?
— Recognise the self-doubt thinking – it will try to trick you to believe it is true. Think of what you want and this is when all the self-doubt will start to arise.
— Start to recognise a pattern. When you see a pattern that is when you start to have all the power as the pattern is just a continued thought in your mind.
Self-Doubt often starts as a belief.
Many beliefs are created when we are young and it is simply how we decide to live our life. To determine if you have a limiting belief that is causing your self doubt, start to become aware of the present moment. Often the belief is just running in the background and we are not aware of what is happening in the present moment. When you begin to feel uncomfortable, this is when you start to be aware of the thoughts in your head to help find any beliefs that are no longer serving you.