‘The critic within’ - your weekly advice on life with Glen Johnson

For a lot of us there can be an ongoing internal dialogue going on at any moment of any given day. It is a dialogue that will use any means available to sabotage your plans and frustrate your life. It is called our inner critic and it keeps telling us lies. Lies such as: you will never amount to anything; you can’t be wealthy; you are not capable of running your own business; you’re not good enough for that job; you’re not pretty enough for that; you’re a bad parent; you cannot quit smoking; you can’t lose all that weight. The list is endless.

For a lot of us there can be an ongoing internal dialogue going on at any moment of any given day. It is a dialogue that will use any means available to sabotage your plans and frustrate your life. It is called our inner critic and it keeps telling us lies. Lies such as: you will never amount to anything; you can’t be wealthy; you are not capable of running your own business; you’re not good enough for that job; you’re not pretty enough for that; you’re a bad parent; you cannot quit smoking; you can’t lose all that weight. The list is endless.

- Dealing with your own negativity

I have found that if you are like most people you will find it far easier to dismiss other people’s negativity towards you, but find it much harder to deal with your own negative thoughts, emotions and judgement about yourself. The reason is that we are able to recognise easily when other people are criticising us and judging us. When the criticism is from yourself, however, it is much harder to recognise it because it may not come out clearly in words. You might just feel low, unhappy, lacking in energy, lacking drive or just plain unenthusiastic about your life or whatever venture you are involved in at the time. Getting to the bottom of why you are feeling or behaving a certain way which is self-defeating may require some effort.

- Know your enemy

Therefore the first step to fighting the critic within is to be aware that it exists and that it is not looking out for your best interests. It is telling you lies. LIES will make you feel powerless and lack in confidence. They will cause you to feel unnecessarily guilty, cause you to doubt yourself and make you feel small. The overall effect is that these LIES transmitted to you by the critic within will cause you to live a defeated and unproductive life if not dealt with. So the need to be aware of the critic within cannot be overemphasised. An awareness of our own limiting beliefs and attitudes is a major step to making progress towards living the life we desire and deserve.

- You have a choice

The second step is to realise that we have a choice. We can decide to listen to that negative self-criticism and behave accordingly or we can decide to do something else. Of course we have to be realistic and need to acknowledge our genuine fears and shortcomings, but be able to decipher the LIES. For example you may be feeling that you cannot be successful at business and therefore afraid to venture out in that area. The critic within will tell you that you are hopeless at it and will never succeed. That is a lie. The reality is that you might just need to develop yourself in certain areas, such as business planning, and then you would succeed.

Reward yourself

Another good way to deal with this self criticism is to give yourself the approval and support you deserve. When you do something well it is important to reward yourself and build up on that success. Over time this will push out the self critic in your mind and make you more positive in your outlook.

Do not seek to shut off your inner critic completely. It does serve an important purpose if kept in check. Self criticism is essential to our personal growth and development. The important thing is to realise the critic is there and that what that critic says does not have to be your reality.

Contact Glen on 083 1470147