Ten Ways to Disempower Your Inner Critics

  1. Discredit what they are saying by deliberately looking for examples of when it is not true, so if your inner critic is saying “You’re terrible at public speaking”, then think about the times when you’ve spoken up for a cause you feel passionate about, or when you made a speech at your best friend’s birthday. It doesn’t have to be in the same context, it just has to be an example of when what the voice is saying is not 100% absolutely true. By doing this we are opening ourselves up to other possibilities.
  2. Create a mental distance between yourself and the saboteur. You can do this by naming it (eg My Judge, My Perfectionist) and stating what it is doing, for example “I notice my Judge is telling me that I am doing it all wrong”. By placing the voice into the third party position, we can see the voice is not us, but simply one voice among many possible voices that we may choose to listen to.
  3. Create a physical distance between you and the saboteur by centring yourself when the voice comes up, so that you have a literal and metaphorical space to consider what it is saying and whether you want to act on its advice or not. You can quickly centre yourself by feeling your feet flat on the floor, placing one hand on your belly and taking three deep belly breaths, really feeling yourself sinking down into your body as you breathe out.
  4. Build your curiosity and creativity ‘muscles’ by spending getting playful with the voice when it arises. See if you can find the funny side of what it is saying, as this can often generate fresh ideas and resources that we can use instead of following the same old pattern being advocated by that inner critic.
  5. When you hear your inner critic come up, do a quick body scan and notice what feelings, sensations and thoughts are arising. Over time you will become more familiar with what this feels like and will be able to spot your saboteur in action more quickly and take action to prevent yourself from being completely hijacked by it.
  6. Imagine what a friend would say to you, or what you would say to a friend if they shared that voice that with you, and you were actively seeking to be kind and compassionate in your response towards them.
  7. Step into a different persona for a brief while. I often ask myself “What would Freddie do?” Getting into the person of Freddie Mercury gives me a completely different perspective on what the voice of my saboteur is saying.
  8. Get outside. Opening ourselves up to the open skies literally helps us to see the bigger picture and what other possibilities are available to us.
  9. Move your body. Our inner critics frequently come up when we are stuck. Physically stuck. Mentally stuck. Emotionally stuck. Moving your body, whether you are dancing, walking, running, changes the energy and makes it easier to release the negative impact of the voice.
  10. Be kind and compassionate towards the inner critic when it comes up. Acknowledge it rather than trying to push it away. Thank it for bringing its point to your attention and inform it that on this occasion you are going to do something else.

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I help organisations create human-centred workplaces with self-leadership as the norm, supercharging performance by unlocking the potential of all employees

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Allison Lindsay

Allison Lindsay

I help organisations create human-centred workplaces with self-leadership as the norm, supercharging performance by unlocking the potential of all employees