Most coaches counsel kicking your inner critic to the curb, dealing with her in the harshest terms and refusing to let her destroy your self-esteem and hold back your growth.
But what if there was another, more powerful way to defuse the fear and anger that drives your inner critic?
What if you could actually make her your friend and champion? If a force that powerful could be turned to your aid, you would be unstoppable!
Here are a few tips for making it happen…
1. Know exactly what drives her
The source of nearly every criticism and cutting remark is fear. Once you know this, you can begin to see your inner critic as the vulnerable, frightened child she really is, not the monster you sometimes envision.
Questions to reflect on: What is my inner critic really afraid of?
- Is she afraid of being judged and found lacking?
- Does she worry about being abandoned?
- Is she afraid of success?
- Is she expecting rejection?
- Does she fear other people knowing she’s vulnerable?
- Does she seem hungry for approval or attention?
2. Approach her with curiosity (and let her talk)
A wise grandmother once said that fear creates two opportunities: you can Forget Everything And Run, or you can Face Everything and Rise. Try facing your inner critic with an open heart, a calm spirit, and an invitation to share what’s bothering her.
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Idea to try: Spend the next few minutes listening to your inner critic. Do it every time she shows up, and begin to unlock the fears that drive her.
3. Reassure her that you will always be there to take care of her
Your inner critic is the part of you that holds all the frightened, childlike parts of you; but you don’t have to “grow her up,” and you certainly shouldn’t try to make her disappear. Instead,let her know that you are confident that you can care for her, nurture her, and help her whenever she needs it. Be the loving friend she’s always wanted. Envelop her with acceptance and kindness.
Your inner critic’s job is to let you know whenever one of your dark shadows appears to be escaping from the mental closet where you keep them locked up. Why not thank her for being the watchdog, the ever-present companion who does an essential job for you?
Do this: Write a genuine thank you note.
Take the time to find a lovely card and hand-write your inner critic an expressive thank you note. Note the specific times when she…
- tipped you off to a real danger
- helped you discover something important about yourself
- gave you vital information about someone else
- helped you make a good, informed decision
And thank her for it!
Tape the note up on your mirror or tack it to your bulletin board where you can be reminded of the valuable things she’s done for you.
5. Invite her to be your Inner Champion
An inner critic is an Inner Champion waiting to be born. Mentor her!
Once she knows that you are grateful for her insights and eager to hear what she has to say, she just may begin to turn them into positive assistance rather than angry critique.
Reward her whenever you catch her reminding you of your value and capabilities. Hug her when she tells you the unvarnished truth in her most loving tone. Cheer for her when she promises you “you can do this, no matter what they say.”
Don’t be afraid to begin. The two of you will make an incredible, unstoppable team!