Ep. 106 How to handle the inner critic

May 26, 2020 | Anxiety, Blog, Podcast

how to handle the inner critic
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This week on the podcast I’m talking about the number one issue I see in my clients. The inner critic.

It’s big. Huge.

It’s that fault finding, nit-picking, brain-niggling, mean-ass inner critic.

AKA ‘The shitty committee’.

The inner mean girl (or boy).

Judgey McJudgerson.

You get the picture.

It’s the internal monologue that’s pissing on your parade.

Present every time you speak up in your family, try something new with your hair or attempt to write your bio on a dating app. There every time you fire up Zoom for a work meeting and have to stare at your own face for 50 minutes.

And when things aren’t going to plan, the inner critic can get louder and arsier than ever.

When you get iffy feedback from the work project you gave your all to.

When you hear crickets after an audition or interview.

Or when you miss your pre-paid yoga class because you hit snooze once too many.

Queue an internal rant of Biblical proportions. Not even your ex who cheated on you got this much heat.

Can you relate?

Wouldn’t it be better to just try your best without all the internal chatter holding you back.

In this solo episode of The Calmer You Podcast I’m sharing my top tips for handling the inner critic and moving forwards with more confidence in life. 

Don’t forget to grab your FREE confidence affirmations for kinder self-talk at www.calmer-you.com/confidence and you’ll also be the first to hear about the latest news, freebies and podcasts.

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Thanks so much for listening!


Hello, and welcome to the Calmer You podcast. This is your host, Chloe Brotheridge. I’m a coach, a hypnotherapist, and the author of The Anxiety Solution, and Brave New Girl. This podcast is all about helping you to become your happiest and most confident self.

Today I’m talking about an extremely common issue. I would say it is probably the number one thing that I hear people struggling with when I’m working with people one to one.

It was the top thing that gets in the way, holds people back and causes people to feel rubbish.

Free confidence affirmations

I just want to let you know that I have some free confidence affirmations on my website if you want to improve your self-talk. These affirmations are going to help to programme your mind to speak to yourself in a more positive loving and encouraging way.

You can head over to Calmer You to download those free affirmations.

The inner critic

So the inner critic is huge. It can ruin our peace of mind and stop us from living a full life. The inner critic can get in the way of our work and our relationships.

That voice in our heads

Guess what, we all have a voice in our heads. This is something that I always ask my one to one clients: How do you speak to yourself? Quite often people look at me slightly confused, as though I am accusing them of having a voice in their head. We all have an inner voice in our heads. Even the most confident people that you meet are still going to have this inner critic.

If our thoughts create our feelings, negative thoughts about ourselves can create feelings of not feeling good enough. This can then lead to anxiety, low self-worth, depression, and all those sorts of things. The way that we speak to ourselves is like the cornerstone of all of this stuff.

Working on our self-talk

It’s so important to be working on our self-talk and speaking to ourselves in a different way. The inner critic can hold us back. It could be huge in terms of how you feel in your life day to day. I don’t know how much awareness you actually have of your inner critic. One thing that can happen is that we are so used to having this inner chatter that we almost don’t realise it’s happening.

It’s just going on in the background of our mind where we maybe beating ourselves up. That inner voice is commenting, unkindly or negatively on everything that we do or say. We say there’s some kind of inner dialogue going on about that.

Gaining awareness

suppose the first step is to just gain some awareness of this inner voice and shine a light on it. If it is going on and on in the background unchecked, then it can be holding us back and getting in the way without us really being aware of it. We need to be aware of something before we can start to change it.

I really want to invite you to shine a light on this. That might even mean writing down how you’re speaking to yourself today and making a note of it. Bringing in that awareness, you might start to realise how horrible your inner voice can be. You might start to realise that some of the things that it says are pretty stupid and ridiculous.

Writing it down

Sometimes we can have that insight when we write it down. It is helpful as well to think about who would we be without this critical voice that is holding us back? What would your life be like if you were free to do what you wanted to do? Say what you wanted to say? Be who you want to be without negatively commenting on yourself without and beating yourself up or holding yourself back? Does the inner critic stop you from speaking up?

Would you be more vocal in your relationship, in your friendships, in meetings at work in your career, if you were less beholden to the inner critic? Does it stop you from being present in the moment?

If that inner chatter is constantly going on, it can be hard to enjoy the present moment with your partner, your kids, or when you’re working. It can distract us and bring us out of the present moment. It perhaps can stop you from pursuing the sort of career that you want or going for promotions or job interviews or asking someone out or asking someone if they want to be your friend or speaking your truth on social media. Maybe even keeps you awake at night? S

Ask yourself this

One question I want to invite you to ask yourself is: Is this critical voice helping you? Very often the intention of the inner critic is to help us be better, or try harder and not make mistakes. Yet, if we’re really honest with ourselves, is this inner critic doing its job? Is it actually helping you? many people will probably find that when they investigate it, it is actually holding you back.

Because guess what, beating yourself up doesn’t actually motivate you. And we all know this instinctively. When we are encouraging and supporting someone else, that’s actually what helps to bring out the best in someone. Bringing them down or calling them names doesn’t help.

Being critical isn’t helpful

When we’re speaking to ourselves, I think we really need to bear that in mind Being critical isn’t helpful. Actually using that recognition to remind ourselves to change it. That’s key about the inner critic and the things that we say to ourselves when we’re beating ourselves up.

It’s to remember that just because we have a thought, it doesn’t make it true. Our thoughts are not facts. I once had it described as being like a mental reflex of the mind. They are merely events in the mind. That’s another way of describing events in the mind. It’s not a statement of truth. So if your inner critic has been saying to you, you know, Elisa, you’re never going to be good enough,

Events of the inner mind

These sorts of things are just thoughts. It doesn’t mean they’re true or based on fact. We give too much power to our thoughts. We get to choose which thoughts we are going to pay attention to which and which ones we’re going to let go of. Which ones we’re going to believe and which ones we’re going to question.

We can choose to notice the inner critic and take action anyway, speak up and move forward with what we want to do.

How did your parents speak to you?

It can be really interesting to reflect on how your parents spoke to themselves. Also how they spoke to you because a lot of this stuff to do with our internal dialogue is stuff that we’ve taken on board early in our lives. It’s often said that how parents speak to us when we’re young is how we speak to ourselves.

Maybe you had a critical parent, or maybe you had a parent that was hard on themselves or they were really loving parents. Yet, it was never quite good enough. Maybe they both paretns or just one had really high standards

Unlearning the negative inner critic

I think scientists are beginning to recognized that our inner critic comes from our childhood. That can help us to recognise that it’s not a permanent part of us. It’s something that we learned and can unlearn.

This is something I’m often helping my one to one clients to reprogram the way that they speak to themselves. Say, thanks for sharing. And just recognize that the inner critic is trying to help. It’s kind of gone rogue. It thinks that by beating you up you’re gonna somehow get better.

Kindness is always the best way forward

The truth is that kindness is always the way forward is always the way to bring out the best in ourselves. Acknowledge the inner critic. Say thanks for sharing and then know that you don’t need to believe it. You don’t need to take action or dwell on it.

One thing that I also really like to do and I have been recommending to people recently is to get a picture of yourself as a child and have that somewhere, maybe on your desk, maybe it’s on your phone, and refer back to it. Remind yourself that once you were an innocent little child. Seeing ourselves in that way can really help us to be more compassionate to ourselves. Remember that we all were innocent children once and worthy of love, compassion and kindness. We’re always learning.

To summarise

Just to summarise, remember that everyone has a voice in their head. You get to decide whether you listen to it or not. Remember that your thoughts are not facts. Say to the inner critic, thanks for sharing. Be kind to yourself because were all innocent children once.

Don’t forget, you can grab my free confidence affirmations Calmer-you.com/confidence. They’ll help you to programme your mind for more confidence and self-kindness.

If you’ve enjoyed this podcast, please leave me a review on the podcast app and make sure you subscribe so you get all the new episodes to your phone. Please come over to Instagram and let me know what you think of this episode.

I’m sending you loads of love. Remember to be kind to yourself and hope you have a brilliant day ahead.

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