“If you do not like something, change it.
If you cant change it, change the way you think about it”
– Mary Engelbriet
Like everything we do, success comes from having the courage to first create awareness and second, take action… aka ‘do the work’. Mindset is no different. If you are looking for a mindset shift we must first seek to understand and gain awareness about where our mindset is at and then we look at small steps we can take to move us in the direction we would like to go.
There are 101 things I could write about here today on mindset shift and hopefully over time I will start to get through that bucket list. But for today I want to start with one aspect of the mindset that was fundamental to my personal growth and the healing of so many clients I have worked with.
The INNER CRITIC. Now isn’t this guy a beast. If you read this article today and it is the first time you are hearing this word then please promise me you will take it easy over the next couple of days and reach out to someone if you want to talk. The inner critic is an incredible part of our human make up however the first time we create awareness around our inner critic we can feel a little wobbly and perhaps vulnerable.
THE INNER CRITIC
This was a biggie for me. I spent years criticising myself and not even knowing it. Phrases such as “Your lazy”, “You are fat”, “You are selfish” “You are unloveable”- it is no surprise I became a personal trainer that gets up at 5 am, completes a million and one jobs every day and spends my life trying to help others, right!!!
I know exactly where those words came from. They are my fathers voice that told me that on a daily and weekly basis. Overtime, I internalised those words and they became my own inner voice. This voice would be the first thing to kick me when I got something wrong, made a mistake or if I didn’t quite make the outcome I was trying to achieve. The good news is… we AL have an inner critic, no matter how successful you are. The inner critic is actually there to
protect us ( ironically) it just does a pretty lousy job at times. I would recommend we all need to work on recognizing it, working with it and replacing it with positive self-talk when it is being unresourceful.
So how do we even recognise our inner critic?
Your Inner Critic
- Critiques you harshly, telling you things you would probably never say to another person;
- Plagues your thoughts…often repeating itself over and over and over, like a broken record;
- Invades your thinking, rather than reflecting your real thoughts (especially when you are out of control);
- Is irrational;
- May mirror people in your life who played the role of outer critic.
- Now we can recognise it, how do we understand and manage it?
Now we can recognise it, how do we understand and manage it?
Acknowledge Your Inner Critic
Become aware of your inner critic. Don’t make it right or wrong – just become aware of it. In order to take the power away from destructive thought processes, you must first become conscious of what your inner voice is telling you.
Identify the Negative Emotions and Actions it is Causing
Pay attention to when you suddenly slip into a bad mood or become upset. Often, these negative shifts in emotion are a result of a critical inner voice. Once you identify the thought process and pinpoint the negative actions it is advocating, you can take control by consciously deciding not to listen or to “adjust the sails”.
Shift Your Perspective
Understand that your inner critic is there to protect you and can actually help you. Your inner critic has evolved to help you set and meet high expectations. If you’re open to it (which is not the same as believing everything it tells you) then you can learn from it. Like a good coach, your inner critic reminds you that knowledge and capability are important. Ask yourself: “What has this situation taught me?”
Ask Yourself Questions
You can use questions to determine if are catastrophising, over-reacting or expecting too much of yourself. They help to ‘keep it real’…
- Am I exaggerating?
- Am I jumping to conclusions?
- Am I being too hard on myself?
- Am I making things out to be worse than they really are?
- Is this something I can control?
- Is the way I’m thinking resourceful?
- What would a friend say to me?
- Is there another way to think about this?
Replace with Positive Self Talk
You can repeat mantras and positive phrases (Coaching Statements) to yourself to counteract your inner critic . These take the power away from your unresourceful thoughts and are generally nurturing, empowering and understanding, or they provide a healthy dose of perspective. Some examples include…
- These things happen
- There is no problem I can’t solve
- I CAN do this
- It will get done
- It’s ok, just take a breath
- Don’t sweat the small stuff
- Have courage
To sum up, everyone has an inner critic. The aim is to become aware of it, start to recognise when it is being unhelpful and replace it with positive affirmations.
“Your greatest strength is your greatest weakness” – Harsha Bhogle.
Your inner critic has helped shape who you are today and played a role in many of your successes along the way. Your inner critic is part of you. It’s the voice in your head that thinks it is keeping you safe. Safe from harm. Safe from failure. Getting rid of it completely is near impossible. The aim is to learn to manage the thought process and make sure it does not play a destructive role in what you are trying to achieve and do. Learning to master and work with it is the key.