Is Your Inner Critic the Boss of You?
Are you your harshest judge? Do you have an inner critic that tells you that you’re not worthy or good enough? Do they prevent you from dreaming of better possibilities? Is your inner critic the boss of you?
In my Challenge Your Self-Doubt post, I wrote about the importance of challenging the negative messages you tell yourself. That can be very difficult when it feels like those messages are coming from yourself. If instead, you imagine that the messages are coming from a separate ‘inner critic’, it can be a little easier. This is a Narrative therapy method known as externalizing.
Distance yourself from your inner critic.
Use your imagination to create a persona for your inner critic. Invent a character description, even a personality for the speaker of those negative messages in your head. Therapists recommend giving the persona a name. Distinguish your inner critic from yourself; this will make it easier to challenge their criticism.
What role does your inner critic play in your life?
How does your inner critic affect your life? Do they pull you back when you wish to step out of your comfort zone? Do they discourage you from desiring improvements to your situation? How might your life be different if you stopped letting them boss you around?
What would happen if you stopped listening to your inner critic?
Imagining your inner critic as someone separate from you can help loosen their grip on you. It can become a little easier to discount them when they boss you around. Eventually, as you take steps outside of your comfort zone and your inner critic protests, you can tell them, “Yeah, I figured you’d say that. Never mind, I’m going for it anyway.”
Now who’s the boss?