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Published on: 14 Jul 2018 by samuel
The inner critic: we all have it. That annoying and negative voice telling us we're not good enough, conflating our mistakes with our self-worth, and in general adding a lot of unnecessary stress and unease into our daily lives.
Why is it so persuasive, and how do we get rid of it? Most of all, how can we transform this element of inner beauty? Let's look explore these two questions about self-talk in depth.
How Your Inner Critic Got So Good at Being So Bad
Part of the reason why our inner critical voice are so pernicious and powerful is that we tend hear it as if someone else is talking to us.It's as if there's a separate person inside your head that seems so darn willing to put you down. This is very emotionally painful, because we all know what it's like to be spoken to poorly by someone else—especially someone we care about (including ourselves, presumably).
Another reason why the inner critic is so painful is because it speaks with such authority and finality. It is as if that self-critical part of yourself refuses to believe in the possibility of personal growth—you'll always be "dumb," or "an idiot," or whatever else it wants to say about you.
So, is that inner critical voice something we have to learn to live with? Not necessarily. Check out this specific NLP strategy that can help quiet down that little part of you that just doesn't seem to be on your side.
A NLP Approach to Curbing Your Inner Critic
The following steps contain element of Neuro-linguistic programming per the iNLP Center.
1. Take ownership of the voice by switching from "you" to "I."
When you hear your inner critic say, "You are such an idiot," respond by saying instead, "Okay. I did an idiotic thing." This puts the control back in your hands and reminds you that YOU are not your actions or the alleged implications of such actions. You are the person making such choices—which can be changed.
2. Remove the absolutes by adding "and."
Your inner critic wants you to believe that you'll forever be a bumbling bozo who can't get through the day without making some sort of egregious error. To combat this, we need to start opening up mental space for the possibility of growth and change.
Here's one simple way to try this: add an "add" to the above "I" sentence. "Okay. I did an idiotic thing, and—" then wait to hear what the inner critic has to say next. If it says, "I don't like you," then your sentence becomes, "I did an idiotic thing and I don't like myself...and—". What does it say next? "You're stupid." Yikes, that's harsh. But we continue with the experiment: "I did an idiotic thing, I don't like myself right now, and I acted stupidly."
Continue chucking an "and" onto the end of this sentence. By doing so, you're inviting your inner critic to say more, which is beneficial for two reasons:
1. You'll start to become less afraid and uncomfortable about what the inner critic is saying. It almost starts to sound like a little petulant kid, doesn't it?
2. The inner critic will likely begin to calm down.
3. Continue to use "I" and "and" without resistance.
By continually re-framing your inner critic' criticisms into "I" statements and by allowing your critic to speak freely, you're effectively weakening the strength of the critic and putting more agency back into yourself. What we're aiming for is integration—a powerful tool of self-authorship and personal responsibility.
Try not to get defensive about what you're hearing from your inner critic. Just keep using the tools of "I" and "and" language and keep your heart and head open to what you're noticing. With enough practice, you will start to see a lot more lightening up and a decreased emotional reactivity toward yourself when you do inevitably make some sort of error.
Need help disarming your inner critic? Contact the iNLP Center today to learn about how we can help.