Do you get overwhelmed listening to the inner critic inside your head? Do you often believe and act on these thoughts leaving you feeling depressed and anxious?
You are not alone, it’s often a place that people don’t feel comfortable sharing what they criticize themselves about. It leaves us feeling ashamed and if people knew then they would think we are stupid.
Don’t worry, you can enjoy the life you want and not let your inner critic stop you from being who you want to be.
How to Battle The Inner Critic Inside You:
- Understand When You Critic Comes Up
- Why You Are Criticizing Yourself
- Powerful Strategies to Transform How you Relate to it!
Click below to hear this episode!
Hey, welcome to today’s episode of the show. I’m excited to be with you today. Do you know why I’m excited today? Not just because we’re going to be talking about how to combat your inner critic so that it doesn’t stop you, it doesn’t make you feel bad about yourself because hands down, that’s probably the most important thing to do if you want to become way more confident in all areas of your life is to learn how to neutralize the inner critic. So that’s one reason I’m excited about but not the only reason. Another reason I’m incredibly excited today is because a new book is coming out. Oh, yes, it’s called, “The Art of Extraordinary Confidence, your ultimate path to love, wealth and freedom,” and I really believe those are the results of higher and higher levels of confidence as we get to experience more love in our lives, more success and abundance in terms of career, success, opportunities wealth and freedom.
And that’s a ton of different things; social freedom being able to be who you are around people as well as the freedom to live life on your own terms and all that takes confidence so I am super excited to share that with you. It’s coming out real soon just a couple weeks here. In fact next week, we’re going to be having a pre-release of the book where you’re going to be able to get the entire new book. This one’s a beast by the way, it’s about one and a half times as long as my last book which was called … what was it called? All right, “The Solution of Social Anxiety.” So this one is about an hour and a half longer, it’s a beast and full of even better stuff, stuff I’ve been learning the last couple years. I wrote that first one in 2013 so a number of years more of just non-stop working with people and myself, in my life on this stuff and all the new insights.
And we’re going to be doing a pre-release of the book where you can get a whole thing for $0.99 on Kindle. Oh yes, so stay tuned for that; the pre-release is going to start next week exactly a week from today next Wednesday so if you want to find out about how to get on board with that, how to win to go get your copy for $0.99 then if you’re not already … if you are already on my mailing list then you’ll hear about it. If you’re not on my mailing list then go to shrinkfortheshyguy.com and you can sign up. Just enter your email there and you’ll also get a free copy of my e-book “Five Steps to Unleash Your Inner Confidence” which is awesome or you can go to my main site; socialconfidencecenter.com and enter your email there and that will get you on the list or if you already are on the list, make sure you’re getting those emails.
Sometimes they get eaten by spam so you can drag me into your … from the junk or whatever, into your main inbox and that, we’ll make sure that you keep getting those emails. So anyway, I’ll keep you posted about that, you get the whole thing for $0.99 and it’s really good. I think it can really help you and help you get to the next level because the first book I wrote which was the “Solution to Social Anxiety” was all about how do we break out of this trap, of that cage of social anxiety? And if you haven’t read that one, I highly recommend it; get your copy on Amazon there. But this next book is called, “The Art of Extraordinary confidence” and it’s really about how to take things from … maybe not where you want them to be stuck, afraid in some ways to just higher and higher and higher levels to truly extraordinary levels of confidence.
I’ll be talking more about it next week in the episode which is all about extraordinary confidence but just to give you a quick heads up to get on the list. That’s one of the main reasons I am excited today. Now let’s talk about your inner critic. So I’m sure you’ve heard me talk about your inner critic in the past if you’ve listened to any other episodes of the show. We have other episodes; one, I did not too long ago about “How to stop judging yourself.” So how is this different and why listen to this one specifically? Well with this, I think it’s hands down one of the top, I don’t know three life skills that produces just an amazing life, more happiness, more freedom, more joy, more success. In the top three of any skill you could have in life, I personally believe being able to combat your inner critic is in those top three.
It’s that important and It’s like the master’s skill because it opens up all these doors to other things because let’s say you’re like well, I’m not very good at starting conversations with people or I’m not very good at public speaking or I’m not very good at initiating conversations with women and dating, those are all skills, right? But your skill of dealing with your inner critic will determine if you even allow yourself to build those other skills, right? Because if your critic is just crushing you and keeping you totally stuck then you never even get a chance to build the skill, say, of conversation mastery. So you try to open your mouth and say something, your critic tells you, that was stupid, don’t say it or afterward beats the crap out of you and you don’t want to try it again so you’re limited in building other skills by this one skill, this master skill.
So we’re going to get even further into how to combat your inner critic. So first thing we want to do is to start to be able to identify your inner critic. You got to be able to distinguish between your own thoughts and the critic’s messages that he or she sends you. I’m going to refer to him as a lot as a he… your critic could show up as a woman’s voice, it could not really even have a gender but just for the sake of language in referring to him, I’ll call him a he. But that inner thought story teller thing, that tells you things, shows you images, that’s your inner critic and hopefully you’re somewhat aware that you have an inner critic. Sometimes people aren’t but if you’re not aware, start paying attention and you want to start to understand where the critic comes up in your life. Usually, it’s going to come up before you’re going to try something new, whenever you’re going outside your comfort zone stretching your edge, maybe you’re taking on something bigger or intimidating, something you used to not do.
He’s also got to come at you after you make a mistake or a beacon that can kick the critic for a lot of people is a weak moment. In fact, I have a great story about that, I’ll tell you in just a minute, we’re going to take a quick break here but think about that, when does your critic come up most in your life? Because you got to be able to identify and the more you can realize the main areas where it’s to come up like maybe every time you go to a party, there is that critic. “You were too quiet, you were not this enough, you didn’t do that, you should have said this, why didn’t you do that, oh you look so awkward,” or every time you give a public talk about presentation and public speaking then it comes up “You look this, ah they could tell you’re nervous. Oh what’s wrong with you?” So you want to get better and better at identifying your specific danger zones. Places where the critic is going to be most likely for you.
So one place I noticed the critic coming up for me recently was in a weak moment so I drink alcohol, I don’t know two times a year give or take and just last weekend happened to be a time when I did it. Summertime, it was nice, went to go and take my son to movie and it’s this kind of cool theater where they have these like, it’s like a living room-style where these big couches that you can get food served to you in there and you can drink alcohol. So we’re hanging out before the movie, it was like 30 minutes and I’m like, “You know what? Why not? It’s hot sunny day and summer, it’s time to party.” So I got myself a beer, like a pint.
And it was good, I drank it, I enjoyed it and before the movie like, “Do you want another one?” I was like, “Yes, let’s do it, let’s party.” So I had two beers, two pints; that was it. It was, I don’t know, it was nice, the taste is good, it moderately affected me, I didn’t really feel that much. I also ate a big meal too, so it kind of neutralized the alcohol effect. But I noticed the rest of that evening when I got home, the critic was just all over me about it. That wasn’t worth it, why did you do it? You didn’t get that much of it, now you’re kind of overly full from having this big meal and drinking these beers, what’s wrong with you? You’re going to get fat.” I mean, it just went to town on me. And I thought, “Wow, that’s really interesting, I didn’t know I had such a strong rule in there about alcohol.” But that … the critic was attacking me for that weak moment, I should have resisted so whether it’s a beer for you or not, it doesn’t matter.
It could be Oreos or ice cream or a hamburger, whatever your thing is where you’re not supposed to eat it or you’re only supposed to have a certain amount or at certain times and you break that rule, the critic could be there pouncing on you. So now you’re more aware of when the critic comes out. Here is a game changer. You have to understand the critic’s motives. Why does a critic attack you in the first place? Why do you even have a critic, do you know? What is the purpose of this critic? What is its motive? Why is it telling you you’re a bad person? You’re no good, no one likes you, you messed that up, you suck. Why on earth would we not only do this to ourselves but do it to ourselves kind of all the time, very frequently, do you have a guess? Do you have an idea? Maybe you’ve heard it before. Maybe you’ve heard me mention it.
Maybe you read it somewhere. What is your own story about why you have this critic? Here’s what I’ve discovered in myself and working with lots of people around this. Your critic’s sole purpose is to protect you from being hurt. He doesn’t want you to be hurt ever and that’s mainly … maybe physical pain a little bit but mainly protecting you from emotional hurt. So I don’t want to be judged. I don’t be criticized. I don’t want people to think negatively. I don’t want people to mock me. I don’t want people to talk behind my back. I don’t want people to think anything poorly of me or say anything poorly of me or see anything negative about me because they could judge me for it. So then the critic’s design is to attack you first to try to keep you small. Ideally to prevent you from doing it in the first place but if you did it then he’ll beat you to try to prevent you from doing it the second time.
So look at, go back and look at all those places where you tend to feel the critic more. Going to a party, speaking in front of a group of people, maybe a dating situation, right? So, in all of those situations where we are more vulnerable to being hurt, aren’t we? You give that people talk, people could judge you. There’s more eyeballs on you, more brains thinking about and focusing on you. You’re the center of attention or a dating situation, that’s a no-brainer, right? Someone could say, “I don’t like you, you’re not attractive.” And it could stir up all this stuff like, “Oh I’m a failure, they don’t like me. I’m no good, I’m not mating worthy,” or being at a party, you feel vulnerable. You’re meeting more people, you’re interacting with people. So the critic’s purpose is to prevent us from getting hurt by beating us down in keeping us small because then we won’t put ourselves out there.
At the same time, another of the critic’s motives which is really interesting is to make you super special; like amazingly special so that you amaze everyone and impress them. That might seem like a different motive but it’s the same one because the critic’s thinking is this; if you can be super, super amazing awesome then why would anyone judge you? So he’s going to be always be leaning on you to just be amazing because if people are amazed and clearly amazed and communicating that they’re amazed then they can’t judge you. So it’s sort of like well, for over-the-top positive then we’ll avoid all the negative, so that’s the critic’s motive. Now the question is what do we do? How do we deal with the critic when it comes up? Knowing this motive is extremely important because it’s going to help you be able to respond to him and communicate with him in a completely different way.
So here’s what you do; when the critic is coming up, the first thing you want to do is identify it as such and say, “Ah, here comes the critic,” and you can give him a funny name. “Here comes the critic, here comes Mr. Angry Pants.” And then have you seen those … like I don’t know it’s … maybe it’s a specific thing or maybe it’s just kind of a meme but it’s like before people would fight in the … I don’t know, maybe a certain style of boxing in the 20s, where they kind of have their dukes up and one guy is kind of skipping around the ring with high-energy kind of dancing back and forth like, “All right, now, we’re going to dance, bring it on, bring it on, up high, down low, come on, can you get me?”, like that kind of thing. You want to kind of get ready to do this little dance with the critics you identify like, “Oh, here we come, now I’m going to get on my toes, now I’m going to deal with him.”
So there’s the critic, why do you think I gave you that image of kind of dancing around a boxing ring? Because what tends to happen is we see the critic as this fearsome monster that just abuses and kicks the shit of us. Just beats us down like crazy and instead we want to have a much more energized playful, maybe even combative attitude with it. Now I don’t mean when I say combative, it doesn’t mean you got to fight fire with fire but you want to be able to wrestle, wrangle, maneuver with this thing so it doesn’t just crush you. So what do we do? When the critic is coming at you, here’s how you want to treat it. You want to see the critic no matter what he’s saying, how intense or how scary he sounds; you want to treat him like an upset, angry child, like an angry child.
You can think of children of different ages. Now I don’t know if you have kids or not but just imagine this couple of different scenarios. My kids are super young right now, two-and-a-half and six months old so I’m going to use one example from that. We can also think of maybe a young teenager as well, but imagine a two-and-a-half-year-old or your best guess of a two-and-a-half-year-old, little toddler and he wants things a particular way. If something doesn’t go his way, he tends to get upset and he doesn’t have the emotional regulation yet to contain that upset. So you go to the store and you say, I want my favorite meal at the restaurant or whatever and they’re like, “Oh, we’re out of the meal.” Inside you’re like, “Oh man… ” and maybe you’re upset or you’re frustrated or whatever but outside you don’t start screaming and crying and knocking over glasses and flailing around hopefully, because you have what’s called emotional regulation, toddlers don’t have that.
So an example would be Zayim drinks almond milk. We make this fresh home-made almond milk pretty regularly and I might be cleaning the almond milk bottle out in the sink, putting some fresh stuff in it and he comes out and sees me cleaning it and he’s like, “No.” Like what is it, buddy? “I wanted to clean the almond milk bottle” or like, he won’t say like that. He’ll be like, “Me do it, me do it. I clean bottle, me do it.” And if he’s tired or upset for some whatever reason, he could just go into full-on like crying and screaming and how-could-you-have-done-this-without-me kind of energy. That is like your critic, even though it doesn’t look that way, it might look like it’s way more like, “What the hell is wrong with you, you piece of shit,” but it’s actually like, ” Weh, I’m so scared.”
So let’s give it a specific example. You’re giving a presentation or you already did and you’re critic is beating you up, “Oh you didn’t say that right; oh, you were too quiet; oh, you said something that could have offended them; they don’t like you, you’re awkward, you suck. Instead of trying to fight the critic and say, “Yes, no, I am pretty good. No, I did all right, oh come on, that wasn’t so bad, right? That’s not going to work or just being totally smashed by it, “Yes, I’m a loser, it’s true. Oh God, how can I get out of these in the future? Instead of either of those, see through that tough exterior and see it, like when Zayim, my son is tantruming and you kind of reach to touch him, he’ll like flail and throw his arms at you, “Don’t touch me.”
That’s what the critic is doing, so instead of fighting with him, you just want to speak to the fear underneath. “Yes, oh, you don’t like public talks at all, you hate all those eyes on you, you hate being judged or potentially being judged and you speak right to the core of that challenge. Does that make sense? You speak … you don’t even engage on the level of the content of the critic. Does that make sense? You speak right to it and then you want to find a way to just be as calm and unfazed by the critic as possible because he’s going to ramp up his attempts to try to engage you and shake you a little bit because if he sees that it’s not working then his whole system of keeping you in line and keeping you safe or what he thinks is safe, starts to fall apart. But that’s when you start to really break free. “Oh you suck, that was terrible, what’s wrong with you? Yes, you really don’t like going to parties, huh? Makes you feel really unsafe when there’s all those new people to meet.”
And the critic might come back and like, “Don’t … this is not about that, this is about you being a stupid jackass at parties and being quiet, awkward loser. That’s what this is about. Don’t try to change the subject.” Say, “Yes, you are really upset, you’re really freaking out right now because you hate going to those parties.” And notice how I’m just steady, calm, loving and at the same time not buying it, not buying into the bullshit and that is how you want to show up. That’s how you want to be rooted and strong when you’re dealing with your critic and you want to respond to it, you want to be able to like … you want to be the parent in this situation. So much of the time we’re working with our critic like it’s the angry parent who’s telling the kids that they fucked up. “Oh, that was bad, you did that wrong, why did you do it that way?”
Kind of like a frustrated, shitty parent and instead, flip it. It might look like it’s the parent at first but now that you have this knowledge and these skills, you’re going to flip it. Take a deep breath in, slow way down, feel into your body, get out of your head for just a moment, turn your attention to the critic and be the parent. Imagine him like a two-and-a-half-year-old because if you look at the critic’s demands, they are like a toddler’s. “You should be perfect, it should be this, I should have gotten what I wanted, I didn’t … you didn’t get that result quick enough, you suck, now, now, now. And it’s got this real kind of tantrummy energy to it. So you want to hold that as much patience and love as you can and be the parent. Be a calm, loving parent to that tantruming child. Let it awash, let it pass by and just see what happens and that brings us to our action step.
Your action step today is to combat your inner critic. So how you’re going to do that? You have a simple process that we’ve outlined in this episode. I want you to apply it and if you want to get even more skill or practice with this, I would encourage to do it on paper. You can try to do it in your head but the critic is fast. Man, that boxing analogy is pretty accurate in the sense that you’re trying to deal with one move that he’s doing and he jumps around and starts hitting you in the kidneys and then you try to turn around and he runs around and punches you in the throat. That guy’s too fast. So writing down can really help. Just writing down what does he say, how am I going to respond to this?
Remember from that place of being the parent, seeing him like a tantruming child. And another tip for this is it’s the practice of it is powerful. The first time you try this or maybe you’ve done a little bit in the past before, it’s okay if the critic kind of beats you around a little bit. It’s okay if you lose the first round. Get back into the arena and do it again and do it again and do it again and keep building your awareness, your ability to deal with him, your ability to respond, your ability to treat yourself with love and not buy into his bullshit and the more you do that, the better you get at this.
The more powerful you become at this and then man, your life as your criticism and self-criticism goes down, the quality of your life, the emotions that you feel on a daily basis, the amount of love that you can feel, the amount of joy that you can feel, the amount that you can do and create in the world and be rewarded for, in your career, in your life, all of that goes up. So this is the master skill. Commit right now with me to working on this skill and your life will be forever transformed. So thanks for being with me today, you are awesome. I can’t wait to speak with you again next week and until we do, may you have the courage to be who you are and to know on a deep level that you’re awesome.
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