Empower Yourself: Insights on Conquering Your Inner Critic

Meet Nasty Bitch, one of my inner critics, or gremlins.  Nasty Bitch is probably the meanest of them all.  Yes, I have more than one, and so do you.  Let me introduce you to her many talents:

 

  • Making things hard
  • Telling me I can’t do it
  • Making her disapproval quite clear
  • Using quite colorful language
  • Putting me “in my place
  • Reminding me of past failures

Who’s your gremlin?  (I am going to refer to the gremlin as a she, but insert your own pronoun.)

As much as we don’t like connecting with this part of ourselves, she actually shows up uninvited.  Fortunately, we are not at her mercy if we do a few things:  

 

Give her a name.  This allows you to address her directly.  You can call her out and get her attention.  She certainly has yours. Having a name also creates an image of separateness, so even though this is a part of you, it’s not who you are.

 

This voice actually has a positive reason for visiting you – it is trying to protect you.  I know, it doesn’t seem like it, but it’s true.  It is usually rooted in an old story, and at some point in your life, DID protect you.  But you have grown and changed.  She isn’t helping you anymore; she’s just holding you back.  Only she is so short sighted, she doesn’t even realize that.

 

Be kind.  She certainly isn’t being kind to you, so why be kind to her?  Likely, she is scared.  She doesn’t want to become irrelevant.  She’s just doing her job the only way she knows how.  And she is damn good at it.  Maybe she had a hard time getting your attention, or maybe how she treats you is somehow familiar, whether we recognize it or not.  Sometimes we gravitate to the familiar, even if it isn’t healthy and is something we actually don’t even want.  However, we don’t need or want to react; we want to respond.  We can respond with kindness, compassion and even empathy.  

 

Be clear.  You see, she doesn’t like change. At. All.   She likes things to stay exactly the same, and here you are trying to grow, improve and yes, change and this really gets her going.  As you are leveling up, she is showing up in all the ways.  So you need to show her change is not only good, but safe. 

 

Be grateful.  Tell her thank you.  You appreciate her devotion, and her very creative and colorful ways of getting your attention.  She has done a good job at trying to keep you safe. In fact, she’s worked so hard she’s probably tired.  It’s a tough job.  She has your best interest at heart, really.   Let her know you appreciate what she is trying to do, but she can relax now.  

 

Be direct.  After thanking her, let her know you’ve got this.  Tell her you actually don’t need her right now, and to go away for a while.  In no uncertain terms, tell her you have this under control, and she is not helping by being there.  The best way she can help you right now is to go away.

 

You are not the same person you were 10, 20 or 30 years ago.  What might have been helpful in the past is no longer.  And even if you think this gremlin could not possibly have ever been helpful, most likely they were at some point in your life.  But you are older and wiser.  You’ve probably done a fair amount of personal development, and maybe some therapy, and you’re probably wondering why she keeps showing up.  

 

I hate to break it to you, but you may never get rid of her.  However, you CAN absolutely be in a place where she shows up much LESS OFTEN, and learns to listen when you tell her she isn’t needed so she GOES AWAY faster.  She learns that she may make an appearance to remind you she is still there, but goes away just as fast as she arrived. This takes practice and persistence.  It’s like you are setting boundaries with yourself, and that can take some time to get good at it.  

 

For me, Nasty Bitch doesn’t come around near as often as she used to.  Thank goodness.  But she still does make an appearance.  Especially when I am trying to do something new, big, or what she deems as risky.  When she does show up, I now usually recognize her sooner.  As soon as I have that awareness, engage, and go through the steps above, she feels satisfied enough to let me take the reins and go on her way.  Sometimes kicking and screaming, and sometimes quietly. 

 

Her friend, Rebel, is another story for another day.   She’s the fun one, in a kind of destructive, carpe diem, what the hell kind of way.  But I treat her the same way I treat Nasty Bitch, though sometimes she hangs around a bit longer.   

 

We are always a work in progress.  We never “Get There.”  Just when you think you have it all figured out, something changes.  We change.  The world changes.  Others change.  Getting comfortable with change is half the battle.  If you want to Find Your Flow, meet your inner critic and have a conversation to move forward, let’s talk.  Book your free call below.  No obligation.  No pressure.  Just a real conversation.  Double dog dare you. 

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