Wednesday, January 1, 2014

6 Tips on How to Reverse Your Inner Critic

Ever wondered why the voice in your head doesn't like you, doesn't support you or doesn't trust you? Do you want to live fighting yourself?

You are not alone. Everyone experiences inner self-critical statements.

I was always thought that those people who put themselves down if something was not going right was normal. Maybe I was wrong. For so long growing up I'd beat myself up emotionally and rip myself into little pieces even when things were going right. Over time, I learned that this self-flagellation never did anything good for me, except spiral me down into a darker place, making it harder to crawl back up to the surface each time it occurred.

A side effect of listening to my inner critic in my head was an erosion of my self-confidence, self-esteem self value and even my worth.  The more I listened the more I in suffered and it gained power over the way I thought, felt and reacted toward myself, others and possible events.

Throughout my lifetime I was criticized a lot from family members and others I had an emotional attachment with. What I did not understand was that due to the close emotional attachment I had to others allowed the criticisms to bypass my perceptual filters and embedded themselves into my subconscious as mind code.  These criticisms from others became the content that formed my core beliefs about myself. Then the core beliefs generated a critical voice in my mind that torture me daily with statements like “you’re not good enough”, “you don’t deserve to be loved” and “you will always fail at what you do”.

As a result growing up I have always subjected myself to self-doubts, fears and negative messages that came front and center when I thought of engaging into something or in a relationship with someone.
Sometimes I was able ignored those messages and I could accomplish things in my life. During those times I marveled at my ability to quiet my critical voice. But the majority of the times I couldn't These messages evoked very strong emotion in me and governed my responses. Now that I have grown older I have a term for those self-messages and that is my inner critic.

Now after years of working on myself and helping others as a therapist and coach I respect my inner critic. I grew to understand that everyone has an inner critic and experience critical thoughts. Whew!! I am not alone or not defective. My inner critic is that inner judgmental part that carries statements that were said to me during my life or beliefs I form about myself due to life events experiences I went through that evoked a strong emotion in relationship to my character or performance. I found out the reason these inner statements or beliefs stuck to me was that I emotionally identified with them. Also grew to know that “you” statement in time became “I” statements. For example, “you are not smart enough”, over time became “I am not smart enough”.

Through my years of coaching I found that my clients really identified the term inner critic. In asking them to write down all the statements their inner critic said to them I got a litany of nasty comments which they heard in their heads.

Here are a few more inner critical statements you might identify with:

You shouldn't do that.
You're unworthy.
You always do things wrong.
You're a loser.
You’re failure.
No one will ever love you.
You're fat.
You're ugly.
You will never amount to nothing.

I recently watched a story on Joe Torre. I did not know but he grew up in an abusive home due to an abusive father who criticized him all the time. Even with his dark past he worked hard in sports and achieved many awards. He attained MVP as a player 8 times, 9 times all star player and one MVP batting title. Joe went on to become one of the most successful baseball coaches in the history of baseball winning 2326, and won 4 World Series as a coach. He stated that the most important aspect of coaching was to make sure his players respected him.

So even with elements of criticism directed toward you from an early beginning there is the power of self that can triumph over those criticisms and you can move toward a position of positiveness. You do not have to live with the negative content of your inner critic. Change can be had. You have the power to construct new content and thoughts, practice them and most of all connect a positive emotion to your new thoughts, if you acquire the right tool or learning to accomplish this objective. Make them your own, feel them and then live them as your truth.

In other words, if you change inner critic thoughts, by recognizing and denying the old self-messages and beliefs, your inner code will change, success can be yours and then you will move forward with inner support. What I found out was that the act of talking to yourself is normal but it was the nature of the content which was not. Inner talk should be more lighthearted, positive and supportive so a positive mental environment can be created that allows you an incredible amount of inner breathing room for you to be more flexible with yourself, grow, expand, and explore all of life’s possibilities.

Your inner critic can be so harsh and self-defeating toward you in your head and sometimes you express those statements out loud. I personally know that it was hard for friends to watch me hurt yourself with my words. Now I have learned to love, motivate and support myself with my words rather than hurt myself. 

Do you want to gain control of that voice in your head?

Well here are 6 tips on how you can calm your inner voice and change the content to become more fulfilled. 

1. Get to know your inner voice, its tone, and its intentions.

Activate your observer self and listen to what it is saying in your head. Listen from a third party perspective as if you are hearing it on the radio and write each statement down. Recognize that each are old statements repeating the criticism that was directed toward you as you grew up by people in your life, and society (media). The most impact came from your family who you grew up around. Some of the criticism was to ensure your emotional and physical safety or make you a “strong person”. Understand your mind does not have or express feelings, it just records the words and repeats them through your inner critic. Replay is always automatic.

2. Go deep in your mind and take time to evaluate your inner critic statements; go deep inside.

Explore each critical statement and determine if you truly deserve the negativism, doubt, self-limiting thoughts or criticism. Let your mind help you validate whether these self-critical statement are true or false. Also note next to each critical statement who in your life said it and the situation or event where it occurred. The more you know the less power the critical statement has. Find proof to why the criticism is wrong or not true. When you find it, you will create a crack in that thought pattern and dissipate its power and influence. But that alone is not enough to break it open and get it to release.

3. Make a realistic plan to correct your inner critic.

List three things you can do to raise your self-worth.
These can be as simple as creating new statements…“I deserve to love me” or “I deserve to look at myself in the mirror and identify things I like about myself”. Once you have created new statements then repeat them to yourself ten times a day for 90 days.
The trick to success in your plan is that these 3 things need to be specific, measurable and feel doable to you. Once you develop your plans, it becomes your action plan and you need to give it life.

4. Stick with the program.

Accept and feel a deep obligation for your action plan. Follow through daily for 90 days. You need to now accept that you are in charge of how you think about yourself, believe about yourself, what you are capable of and how you perform.  
I find that I get the best results and most success when I keep track of it. Track yourself through keeping a journal that way you will be able to see your commitment day by day for those 90 days. Keeping track of what I do daily helps me to recognize when I fall off and motivates me to get back on track.

5. Hang out with people who think positive and supportive and make you feel comfortable.

These are the people who see and experience you in a positive light, support you and as you really are. Let people who love you reflect the real you back to you. Start hanging out with people who could use support and reflect back to them how you see them in a positive light. Practice the balance of receiving and giving positive statements.

6. Realize that you have the power to command respect from your inner critic.

Give yourself permission. Understand that your inner critic has been attempting in protecting you be it through doubt, negative and critical statements. But don't let inner critic influence your life or direct your thoughts. Earn respect from your mind by forming your own thoughts and determining your own mindset. You have that power. Once you decide this, the rest is pretty much practice and more patience.

After Thoughts

If you follow the 6 tips above you can reverse your inner critic's content, alter the way inner critic talks to you, gain more control, and produce more positive thoughts. If you follow through your work will translate into a happier and more successful life.

You can change your mind code from self-limiting and self-defeating to positive and self-supporting with the 30 Day Challenge in one month. Start today!

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  1. Before working with Dr. Bill, I helped myself in a limited way with counseling and 12-step work. When I seemed to fail time and again after 30 years, I became frustrated and addicted to negative thinking and behavior. After working with Dr. Bill, my life is changing daily, in a positive way, and my mind now leads me to my highest good without all the exhausting "efforting" I had been accustomed to. All of Dr. Bill's work is worthy of your time and energy. I did not even have to believe it would work, and it does work! I have a method to help myself, and a wonderful mentor and coach in Dr. Bill. I tell everyone I know about this empowering miracle. Thank you for your blessings, Dr. Bill!
    Gratefully, Lynn Fowlkes

  2. Dear Lynn,

    Thank you for your touching words. I feel we have been a very good team for you self-improvement, growth and your new successful habits.

    One of your biggest changes has been when you became sober from thought addiction. This has majorly changed how you view yourself and your life.

    Again, thanks for your comment and allowing me to mentor you into life success.

    Dr. Bill


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