I got carried away writing this article and it turned out to be much longer than I thought. So I split it into two articles. The first part is below.
The link to the second part is below.
What is it again and why even bother dealing with it?
The inner critic (judge) is that part of your psyche (mind) that continually assesses, critiques, puts down and invalidates/validates what you (others) do, who you (others) are and what you (others) have.
It is operational for almost 24 hours, 7 days a week, 365 days a year - for most of us.
It may be the voice in your head that is even right at this moment, assessing this article and your sanity in reading it.
It is not a part of insanity or a malady - it is part of the human experience.
It is the part of you that questions your success, your failures or your equanimity.
It exists in part to keep you safe and comfortable, but it is not necessarily (or at all) a champion for you exploring, discovering, experimenting or innovating.
It can be a reason for a lot of your success. It can also be a reason for your failure (or feeling like one.) It can also be the reason for your stability (or unwillingness to take risks.)
What qualifies me to share this?
I am the Olympic Champion for judging myself harshly. Even as I write this, my inner critic is saying I am “full of it”.
Since 1991, I have seen even the best of us be at the affect of our inner critic - limiting our full self-expression, insisting on being a pawn of guilt, frustration, fear and resignation. This includes politicians, CEOs of major corporations, top celebrity actors, leaders, movers and shakers.
I am writing the following from experience. I hope this makes a difference for you.
Okay, so how do we kill it Sunil?
1. Pay Attention to Your Body, Distract It
When you pay attention to what is happening in your body, the inner critic is disarmed. This happens especially if you do not verbalize in your mind or in your voice what you are seeing, feeling and experiencing in your body.
Exercise: Spend time scanning your body in your mind in a quiet place. Start with your feet. Notice how many bones there are in each foot. Feel how you can “grab” the ground with your toes. What does that feel like without describing it in language? Then move up to your legs, your thighs, groin, etc. right up to your head. Just notice and allow yourself to be in a state of wonder about your experience. This takes practice, so start easy (1 minute a day) and then work up to longer as you wish.
2. Commit to Deeper Work
Commit to learning more about you (and others.) Start getting curious about the inner workings of you - your mind, your body, your soul and spirit.
(You do not have to have a spiritual bent or be religious - so replace soul and spirit with inner consciousness if you need to.)
A good starting text or book: https://www.amazon.com/Soul-without-Shame-Liberating-Yourself-ebook/dp/B009GN3DD8
Do not speed-read or take shortcuts.
Take the time for yourself. Spend the time for yourself. Treat that spending as a deep investment into yourself.
3. SuperCharge Your Nurturing
Take an accounting of how much time per week you spend nurturing yourself (doing things you enjoy, taking care of your body, mind or spirit, eating well, self treats and more.)
Slowly start upping the number of minutes per week - each week.
Start noticing how you can inculcate your work as part of what nurtures you. Don’t force this - it will come over time.
THE BREAKTHROUGH THAT IS POSSIBLE: The goal will be to have every hour, minute and second dedicated to your nurturing (which inevitably translates into bigger things I promise you!)
4. Create a Future and Spend Time Building the Future
If you do not have a mission statement that you can state from pure memory, I would advise you to create one soon.
If you don't have a mission statement that inspires you genuinely, I would advise you to create/refine one soon.
If you don’t have a mission statement that you use to determine your actions for the day, every day - I would advise you to create one soon.
A good mission generates a future that excites and energizes you. It drives the inner critic crazy. But as you work the mission statement daily, the future starts displacing the inner critic, leaving it as a background voice rather than the primary and only chorus.
To create a mission statement:
- Write down 10-20 words or phrases that call to you e.g. integrity, doing things I love, Making a difference, etc.
- Pick the best 10 from the list and make a draft maximum 1 or 2 sentence mission.
THE TRICK: The trick is to use it and refine it daily. Take your future and mission seriously and it will displace your past (inner critic.)
5. Practice Gratitude
The practice of expressing gratitude for yourself (or for others) has been shown by some research to be the number one way of generating happiness.
THE FOUNDATION: Find something everyday that you are grateful for. Nothing else to do, just find it and allow yourself to feel that gratitude. It may be a sliver of gratitude or happiness that you feel initially. Give yourself space to do this everyday and that sense of gratitude will become a strong foundation daily for you and for others around you.
6. Practice Acknowledgement
This is more of a deeper associate practice with the practice of gratitude. This is more of a verbalized version, where you get to express something that you want to acknowledge (celebrate or thank yourself or another person for.)
This is the end of PART ONE: if you like what you are reading here and want to learn more about the other ways, click here to get PART TWO:
In PART TWO, you will learn about
- Allowing others to give to you
- Your Joyful Calendar
- Dismissing the Inner Critic
- Pressing the accelerator where appropriate
- Pressing the decelerator where appropriate
- How energies can work for you
- Being belligerent
- Being a champion for you!
Since 1991, I’ve been reflecting on, designing, and implementing methodologies and systems for bringing a transcendent, creative and innovative approach to critical aspects of entrepreneurship.