Discover How To Free Yourself From Self-Criticism
Are you held back by that critical voice in your mind? You know, the one that tells you that you aren’t good enough, that people are judging you, and that you suck for a variety of reasons…
What if that voice had no power over you?
Join Dr. Aziz as he helps you see right through that critic so you can relax, enjoy yourself, and skyrocket your deep confidence.
Click below to hear this episode!
My Beloved Monster by The Eels
My beloved monster and me
We go everywhere together
Wearing a raincoat that has four sleeves
Gets us through all kinds of weather
She will always be the only thing
That comes between me and the awful sting
That comes from living in a world that’s so damn mean
My beloved monster is tough
If she wants she will disrobe you
But if you lay her down for a kiss
Her little heart it could explode
She will always be the only thing
That comes between me and the awful sting
That comes from living in a world that’s so damn mean
Understanding Your Inner Critic To Free Yourself From Social Anxiety
Welcome to today’s episode of the show. Today we’re going to be looking at my beloved monster and me. That’s right it’s you and your inner critic. We talked about this before earlier in the show and it’s a theme that comes up throughout episodes but I thought I’d go even deeper. We’re making some great distinctions with clients and as always with the show I take the best stuff that I get with clients and I just spread it like share it with you so you’re getting some tremendous value for free. And if you want to jump into the conversation or ask me questions, I’d love to answer them. Just go to shrinkfortheshyguy.com and send me a message through the site. You can also call the studio hotline at (206) 338-3176.
One quick favor I’d love to ask and return for enjoying the show and one of the benefits you’ve got from it is if you got my book The Solution to Social Anxiety on Amazon or Kindle or Audible through there and you read it or listened it and you liked it, please give it a review because the more reviews we get the more people we can reach and the more I can mitigate any people out there who are haters who give it one star and don’t say why. So, we want to do is we want to build up that review-based. So, if you read it, if you listened to it and you liked it, by all means please just do me a solid favor and go give it a review.
And in return my friend, I’m going to give you some incredibly powerful concepts today that are going to help you become a lot more relax in yourself, a lot more free of criticism and I called this show My Beloved Monster and Me because it’s a song by the artist or the group The Eels and I don’t know if when he wrote the lyrics for this, he knew exactly what was going on. But his understanding of the inner critic is so spot-on, so powerful, so directly accurate in the song and that’s why I called the show after that.
I’ll have a link to the song below and the lyrics as well so you can look at them.
But if you had never heard of it, it was in the Shrek, the original Shrek but the first stanza goes like this: My beloved monster and me, we go everywhere together wearing a raincoat that has four sleeves, gets us through all kinds of weather. So, your monster is your critic, right? My beloved monster and me, we go everywhere. Isn’t that so true? Your critic is kind of always there following and surround. You can never really escape him. And here is where it gets even more powerful. She will always be the only thing that comes between me and the awful sting that comes from living in a world that’s so damn mean.
Now really uplifting, right? But this is exactly what’s happening with the critic. I mean you get this. When you understand this, you’re going to become so much more free from it because you’re going to be relating to it in an entirely different way. So, I’m so excited. I have so much to share. I’m going to action pack this episode full of stuff and you were going to get a tremendous value if you stick with me the end of this episode and I promise you, you’re going to see your critic in entirely different way that’s going to help you feel a lot more free in your life.
So, the first thing first is we got to know this inner critic thing, right? And I think you do by now. If you’re not sure check out one of my earlier episodes, I think there are maybe six or seven way back when in the beginning of the podcast that’s all about you and your inner critic and gives you more information about it. But the first thing we have to do is be able to identify when it’s active.
Because many of us have lived with it for so long that we’re not even aware that it’s critic happening. It just it feels like our own thoughts or we’re not even aware of our critic saying anything in our own mind. We just feel that sinking feeling in our chest. But if you slow down and you listen, whenever you’re feeling bad, you’re feeling anxious, you’re feeling scared, you’re feeling inferior, you’re feeling ashamed, slow down and say, “What is the critic saying right now?” Because if you’re feeling one of those emotions the critic is active guaranteed.
What is your critic saying right now? And just listen. And try to identify it. Because it will give you a clue as to what’s going on when you can hear when it says you’re a loser, what’s wrong with you, those people think you’re stupid. So, the critic is going to show up in a few different ways. You might use projection which is saying “They think that you’re stupid. They think that you’re ugly. That guy thinks you’re a loser. That woman thinks you’re creepy.” So, your critic is using other people to make it seem like they’re the ones criticizing you but it’s really the critic, it’s just that it’s doing something called projection.
Another thing or way your critic will show up is by showing you images of replaying the event and then commenting on it, kind of like the football coach from hell who just keep replaying the same fumble and saying, “Why did you do that? Oh, my God that was terrible. Why?” What kind of coach is that anyway? But so, that’s what the critic might be doing and whatever it’s doing or it just might be straight up berating you. “You suck. You’re a loser. What’s wrong with you?” Whatever it’s doing, you have to stop and say, “Wooh, wooh, wooh, there is the critic.” That’s step one. You got to be able to identify it. There’s the critic.
And then, what we often do is we have a way we try to deal with the critic, right? And the critic is also trying to get us to do stuff so we got to understand this whole process and I’m going to make it really simple for you. The first thing first is what do you do when you notice your critic? What is your strategy to respond to your critic? For most people, the strategy is one of three things. One, they try to ignore it. Try to say “La, la, la, la, la don’t say that to me. I’m going to go twiddle on my phone or check Facebook again” or just try to go talk to those people and not pay attention to my critic. And that’s one strategy.
Another strategy is to try to fight back against what the critic says. It says, “Oh, you’re a loser. You made a fool of yourself there.” You can say, “That wasn’t so bad. I mean, I didn’t make a total fool of myself,” right fighting back. And then the third strategy is to just sort of succumb to it. “Oh, yes it’s true. I’m a pathetic loser. That’s right.” You just kind of you’re beating down. Those are the three strategies.
Which ones do you do? What’s sort of your default strategy? Do you try all three or do you stick to one? What do you do when the critic is active? Do you ignore it? Do you try to distract yourself and ignore it? Do you fight back? And sometimes fighting back can be kind of battling it with logic or reason. Sometimes fighting back can be telling it to like, “Shut up. Get away from me. I hate you.” You just kind of get angry to your critic or you might just succumb. You might just do out. It’s given me the brutal truth, I tell you. That’s just how it is.
How do you respond? Think about it. We’re going to take a quick break and when we get back, we’re going to talk about two strategies work, what’s effective, what’s more effective than anyone of these strategies that’s going to completely change the way you relate to your critic which is going to completely change your confidence level which is going to completely change your life. So, stay tune. We’ll be back right after this.
So, which strategy did you do? What strategy do you often choose when you deal with your critic? Or what’s going to work better? First of all, do these strategies work? So, when you try to ignore your critic, does that work? Well, sometimes it might. Now, if you’re just ignoring him or her and playing a game on your phone, it maybe is going to distract you a little bit but my experience, the feelings are still there. You’re just a little less aware of the discomfort, the negative thoughts in your mind but you’re still feeling kind of crummy or as soon as you’re done playing the game, you feel kind of crummy. So, straight up distraction often doesn’t really work that well.
Now if you ignore you critic, your critic saying, “Don’t go talk to those people. You’re going to make a fool of yourself” and you ignore your critic and you go talk to those people now that can be good, right? Because you’re doing action, you’re taking action, you’re ignoring the critic. But I found that there’s like – it’s like pulling back a rubber band or something. It’s only a matter time until the critic slams you five times as hard. So, while that might work in a short term that’s an effective strategy sometimes. As your only strategy, I think it fall short and something more is needed and I’m curious if that’s your experience as well.
The other strategy just being brow beating by it, yeah, well, that, that doesn’t work very well, right? It’s just you suck. Yeah, you’re right I suck. How do you feel? Low self-esteem, depressed, dissatisfied with life. I mean so that strategy is not so good. What about the other one? What about fighting your critic? Doesn’t that seem to make sense? Tell that critic, “Be gone! None shall pass. Away with you, you vile fiend!” and we try to banish it, we try to execute it, we try to kill it. Does that work? Can you kill your critic? Have you tried? What happens?
Well, I’ve never met anyone who has been able to do that, to execute, slay their critic. But maybe you have and if so email me. Tell me how you did it. It seems like a great strategy. But I’ve never seen that. What happen is we can’t kill it. It’s a part of us. It’s a part of our mind. It’s a part of our body and it actually serves a very valuable function even if we’re not aware of it yet and trying to argue with it though with logic or reason, man how does that work? Not very well, it will just shift. It is relentless. It uses false arguments, circular reasoning, shifts to different topics, and it’s the debater from hell. It doesn’t follow any of the rules, it doesn’t follow any logic and we’ll just always use the trump card which is emotional reasoning. This comes from cognitive therapy.
But emotional reasoning is “You’re a loser.” “But why am I loser?” “Because you feel like a loser. So, you’re a loser, right?” and that’s emotional reasoning because you feel a certain way that must be true. I feel like those people are not going to like me so therefore those people are not going to like me. And your critic loves that stuff. And so, you can’t debate. You can’t win any debate. So, what do you do? What do you do?
Well, in order to know how to effectively relate to your critic, you can’t kill him, you can’t debate him, you can’t just let him run the show and you can’t ignore them for long. First, you got to know what is the critic doing? What is he here? What is his function? What is his purpose? And if you ask yourself that question, if you actually ask the critic that question, you get some interesting results. I do this it’s called parts work or voice dialogue is one of the therapies by. I think Hal Stone is his name and his wife, I forgot her name, something Stone. Anyway they really pioneer this stuff and it involves talking to this critic in yourself and actually I have a section on my book The Solution for Social Anxiety. But when you do that what you’ll find is that the critic is actually scared, it’s terrified of feeling pain, emotional pain.
It doesn’t want you to get rejected. It doesn’t want you to get criticized. It doesn’t want you to get no. It doesn’t want you to be embarrassed. It doesn’t want you to be humiliated. It doesn’t want you to feel emotional pain and that’s where that line from My Beloved Monster and Me is so fitting. She will always be the only thing that comes between me and the awful sting that comes from living in a world that’s so damn mean. So, your critic has got this idea. It says, “You know what? I remember every time we were hurt. I remember every time we were humiliated, we were embarrassed, we were rejected, we were criticized.”
The world is a mean place. Remember what happened in 3rd grade, in 6th grade and when you’re two years old, or you’re four years old, stuff you consciously remember sometimes you unconsciously remember it with your critic but it’s all in there. The critic says, “Hey, you know what? The world is a mean place and we have to defend ourselves. I got to come between you and the world and I’m going to protect you and the way I’m going to do that is I’m going to attack you first. I’m going to criticize you first. I’m going to make sure that you stay, internal you stay small. You don’t go vulnerably putting yourself out there like free and open in the world because you’re going to get shot and it’s better to just be safe and be small and be with me and not get hurt out there. You’re going to get hurt out there.”
So, your critic, what’s he doing? He’s trying to what you? He’s trying to protect you. That’s right he’s trying to protect you from the outside world because the outside world is so damn mean from his perspective. And we might seem like a raging angry beast but it’s just the scared kid. It’s just that six-year-old that was made fun on the playground and it hurts so bad that in that moment the critic said, “You know what? You’re never going to feel this again” and that determination that grit he’s going to do whatever it takes even if it involves destroying you, we must protect from that outside pain again.
That’s the critic’s job and he’s got all kinds of ways that he thinks you need to be in the world to protect you from that pain, right, all kinds of strategies. In fact we’re going to take a quick break and when we jump back in we’re going to see what are the main things he expects you to do to avoid the pain and most importantly, how do you deal with him? How do you relate with him with a strategy that actually puts him at ease and helps you freely move towards what you really want in this life with confidence? So, stay tune. We’ll get back to that right after this.
Safety-Seeking and Social Anxiety
Welcome back. So, what does the critic want you to do? He wants you to avoid that pain but how does he think you should avoid the pain? Well, he’s got several strategies. One is be nice, be good. Be a good nice person. Please other people. Give them what they want and we won’t experience that pain. He also says you got to follow all the rules. Don’t break any rules. If you follow all of the rules then everyone is going to like you. No one can be upset with you if you follow all the rules. You got to comply with what other people want.
You also got to make sure that you do it right. You don’t make any mistakes because if you make mistakes, you could – someone can yell at you. You could be ridiculed. You could be fired. You could be challenged. You could be embarrassed or humiliated. You also got to do it perfectly. Do it perfectly and nothing bad will happen because how can anyone criticize perfection? And by the way, be the best. Be number one because if you’re number one then of course no one is going to reject you and you’re not going to feel any pain. Everyone is going to like you that will feel good.
So that is a series of the critic’s strategies. Be nice. Be good. Follow the rules. Comply to it, right? Do it perfectly. Be the best. It sounds a little like a total really exhausting. Also, what does this sound like? What age does this sound like? Be good. Follow the rules. Do it right. What age does it sound? It sounds like a kid, doesn’t it? That’s exactly where this critic is formulated. It starts when we’re really young. It can be built on if you have some painful experiences as you get older, middle school, high school, even in your early jobs, anytime in your life, right? But especially when you’re a kid that’s when the foundation is laid.
So, when we’re relating with this critic, that gives us a clue where I promised you that we’re going to find a better strategy than any of the ones that we talked about before, a better strategy relating with your critic and here’s what it is. You have to realize that your critic is just a scared kid and that’s why I love the song. It’s my Beloved Monster and Me. Not my terrible shitty critic monster that I hate, my beloved monster and me. And that’s what that critic needs from you to be loved, to be treated with kindness.
How To Deal With Your Inner Critic To Overcome Shyness
So, when the critic acts up, he’s going to show up in the form of “You suck. What’s wrong with you? People think this about you.” and what you’re going to want to do is first say, “Ah? That’s the critic.” And then you’re going to know, “Okay, he’s scared always, always, always” even if he looks angry, the critic is scared. So, you’re going to say, “Okay, well, well, critic you’re active. So, what are you scared of?” and listen to what he’s scared of. You might first start being tough like “I’m not scared of anything. I just think that you suck.” “Okay, all right. No, but really it seems like you’re worried about – you’re yelling at me because of that social interaction we’re just in at that party and it seems like you’re worried about on how we came across. What are you afraid of?”
And just keep being curios and asking and try to calm him down and find out and he’ll say, “Well, I’m just scared of this. I’m worried about that. People are going to think this about you.” and here’s a huge magical distinction. This is what I do with people all day long and I’ve seen what really works. Don’t fight the critic. It says, “I’m scared that people think that I made a – I stumble of my words and they think that I don’t know what I’m talking about or they think I’m boring.” Don’t say, “No, no. People don’t think you’re boring. People think you’re great.” It seems like you’re supporting yourself. It seems like you’re encouraging yourself but really you’re invalidating the critic.
You’re telling him he’s wrong for having those fears and what you really want to do in this early stage of relating with your critic is just validate it. “Oh, yeah. Oh, I know those moments were real awkward. I didn’t like that either. I know I felt a little uncomfortable not having anything to say there. Yeah, I didn’t like that either.” So, you’re relating to him, you’re validating him, and you’re getting on his own side. That’s the first step.
And then the next step is to offer him some reassurance or safety. “Hey, listen I know it’s really uncomfortable and if those people are going to judge us, if they really going to criticize us, don’t worry. I can protect you now. I’m assertive. If someone challenges us, I can respond. If someone is mean to us, we can distance ourselves from them. Don’t worry I’m here for you now. I’m going to take care of you.” So, this is a total shift. Because you know what’s happening? Normally, when the critic attacks us, it’s this big scary thing and we feel like we’re like one-inch tall and we’re like, “Oh, God you’re right, I’m a loser.” And it’s almost like it’s the authority. It’s the parent, we’re the scared little kid who is the bad boy who didn’t follow the rules, you didn’t do it right, you didn’t do it perfectly, and made a mistake.
But when you do this process of step one, identify the critic, step two, ask him what he’s afraid of and then validate him, and then step three, start to reassure him, now all of a sudden, when you’re talking to the critic like that, ”Hey, I know you worry about that? Oh, okay, yeah. I don’t mean to like that can be a little comfortable or scary sometimes and I’ll protect you though. I’m going to be here. I’m not going anywhere.” So, if that woman does say, “You know you’re a pathetic loser. Don’t talk to me, worm.” “Hey, listen, we can do all kinds of things. We can actually even challenge her and say listen, you can say no to me but that’s not cool to talk to me in that way or we can leave the situation and afterwards I’m going to remind you that you’re okay. It doesn’t matter what she thinks of us and I’m going to take care of you. I want to protect you.”
Now all of a sudden what role are you in? You are the parent, aren’t you? And you’re parenting the scared little part of you that no longer is this big critic with all his fangs and his beast, it’s really just this little kid that needs to be loved and that’s what you can do and that’s where this lyric in this song comes from. He says my beloved monster is tough. If she wants, she will disrobe you. But if you lay her down for a kiss, her little heart it could explode. That’s the exact same thing with your critic, my friend.
It seems tough. It could disrobe you. It could destroy you. It’s what it feels like. But if you lay her down for a kiss, her little heart it could explode. And there’s one last thing I want to share with you in this episode, it’s very personal but I feel like we’ve been talking for a long enough time now that we can trust each other and that is – I had some periods in my life where this critic felt like it could destroy me and I remember sitting at this little apartment I was in, in this kitchen table and I was just so low in my life at that time and I remember sitting there and I was just so stuck and nothing is ever going to change and my critic was just tearing me apart.
“Hey, you’re pathetic. You’re disgusting.” And I honestly thought about what’s the point of living? I really considered just ending it like what’s the point? This is I mean I feel so bad right now and I felt so bad and nothing is going to change and I was just so low and that doesn’t happen anymore in my mind. It doesn’t exist in my brain. And not because I’m some superhero or some super, you know the illusion of the confident guy who just has no critic who has kicked it aside, that’s not how it works. It works by relating to your critic, by talking to your critic and I started doing that.
I started to learn how to do that and to relate to and say, “You’re really pissed at me right now but what you really scared of?” Okay and what else? Oh, I get it. I wouldn’t want to feel like it either. That’s just scary, right? And I started doing this again and again and again and it shifted. And I started to become more and more of my own side and now, I like who I am and it feels amazing and the same is possible for you. You just got to follow these simple steps and really shifting the way and you might say, “Well, that’s not manly. I should be a man and just –” and one client said that. He’s like, “Yes, I like it but it seems a little soft and not very masculine. It should be manly.”
I was like, “Okay. Well, how did masculine guy or manly guy handle it if he had a critic?” He’s like, “Well, he kicked him to the curve.” I’m like, “Okay. That sounds good. That’s what the movies tell us. You know your tough characters, you’re James Bond, you’re Russell Crowe would do, just punch the critic in the gut.” But guess what? James Bond, Russell Crowe, I mean these characters like stone cold drinking distant from their female partners, distant from their kids, murderous, kill – I mean like why? These are the models that we’re looking at?
What are you like a double agent that’s going to slay some people in Nigeria? No, you’re just a dude living, wherever you’re living in the world trying to love people and connect with people and have a great life and that involves being kind and gentle with this critic, with loving this critic and that is your action step for today actually. That brings us to the action step.
I love how intense that is for this action step which is to love yourself, to do this process with your critic, to identify your critic, to find out what he’s scared of and validate him and then to offer him some sort of safety or reassurance. That is your process. Practice this stuff and if you want to go even deeper with this, check out the Confidence Code, it’s an all new version, version 2.0 that goes even more into what I call optimal self-coaching, how to totally rewire your brain for how you relate to yourself, how you work with yourself, how you talk to yourself and you’re going to learn even more strategies which radically improves your self-esteem.
So, if you want to go even deeper, check out that program. But the key here is that your beloved monster is tough and if she wants, she can destroy you. But if you lay her down for a kiss, her little heart, it could explode. Until we speak again. May you have the courage to be who you are, the courage to face your critic, the courage to step up and do something totally new and totally different that could free you and thus finding and knowing that you’re awesome. I’ll talk to you soon.
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