Hi, lovely ones. Welcome to episode number 11. Three Steps to managing your inner critic. Before we sink our teeth into the mind and why it trips us up so much which I can’t wait to get into with you. So many of you have asked me to talk more about the mind and its ways, but first I want to shout out Bec Norris who left this beautiful review after tuning into the podcast. She says:
“I love this podcast and can’t wait to listen to Rebecca’s calm yet reaffirming voice. I find it really interesting that the more work I do on my mindset and my myself to move forward in business, the more I discover I have stronger type A personality traits, and perfectionism. I literally felt like Episode 3, I was having a direct therapy session with Rebecca!”
Thanks so much, Bec. I’m so excited that I can provide you with podcast therapy. And that’s what this podcast is all about release to be able to bring you the tips and tricks that I know from my years as a clinical psychologist, but also from the many decades I’ve now lived as a human.
I’m combining all of those so that you can take these strategies that I know to be able to transform how you show up in the world, and how you offer the world what you have to give.
And today, we’re going to talk about the mind. But if Bec’s mentioned and perfectionism has kind of piqued your interest
Then dive back into episode number three, where we talked about perfectionism as a process within us that actually traps us from being able to show up in the world as we want to. The inner critic is also a really important thing to talk about if you experience perfectionism. So headphones on and stay with me because we’re about to dive in.
We need to talk about the inner critic because this pesky little voice
the really annoying voice in your head that has the capacity to ruin your day, throw you off track, disconnect you from your goals and question your worth. If you let it is something that can have quite a lot of power over, you.
Your inner critic is the voice that pipes up when:
- You catch side of yourself naked in the mirror.
- If you have a stressful morning and end up yelling at your kids.
- You launch your latest offering to the world, and you don’t quite get the response you’re expecting.
I see you, if you’re in that place, I’ve been there too.
Or you relapse into that old unhelpful habit that you thought you’d long left behind.
The inner critic is the CEO and representative of all the parts of you that are scared. All the parts of you that have been wounded by past hurts, failures and disappointments.
Your inner critic speaks on their behalf and it sees its primary job as keeper of emotional health and safety. That means that you can expect it to loudly interrupt you whenever you so much as think about sneaking your toe outside of your comfort zone. This is the voice of a judge, the judge
This is the voice that often mimics the voices of important people from your upbringing, who tended to be very critical of you like parents or teachers maybe.
What I want to know is:
- what does that judge you for lovely ones?
- What’s your inner critic having a go at you for?
- Does it judge your body? Your intelligence, your competence, your motivation, your age, your interests, your likeability?
- Does that compare you to others in a way that you can never win?
- Does it tell you the I’m not good enough story, or the I can’t do it story or the own never succeed story.
It’s fair to say that this voice is not the one who supports you to live by your values. You get that now, right? This voice is a hindrance, not a help.
This is the voice that actively tries to keep you small, quiet and safe.
Where safe equals not trying anything that you can’t be sure of doing perfectly the first time. In other words, this is the voice of entrapment in an ever-shrinking comfort zone.
Now, can we talk for a minute about why our minds are like this? Because it’s a fair call if you find yourself wishing that your mind wouldn’t judge you in this way.
That it wouldn’t constantly point out your imperfections, and the ways that it perceives that you simply don’t measure up.
The thing is that minds are wired for a very particular job, and that job is survival. So, we need to understand why your inner critic is doing what it’s doing.
Because then the process of responding to it differently becomes a little easier.
from an evolutionary point of view, our minds have evolved over hundreds of thousands of years to be problem solving machines.
100,000 years ago, it was highly adaptive to have a mind that warned us of all the problems that existed, which were largely threats to our day to day well being.
Our minds would warn us about the need for food, shelter, weapons, connection to the clan and
threats from predators and rival clans.
Furthermore, we could feel comfortable in the valley with our clan, knowing we had shelter and a water source close by, but at some point, we would have to leave the valley, which is like our safe area.
Much like our comfort zone today, in order to search for food or to find extra water, which meant that we had to venture outside our safe area or our comfort zone.
Our brains evolved to activate the fight flight response to situations like this where danger could readily be present, we would automatically go on alert and be prepared to fight any threats or run away as fast as possible.
This survival reaction is also attached to belonging. Our sense of belonging as part of the clan was once essential to ensure that we had access to resources, information protection and relationships to continue our individual survival and the survival of the species a characteristic of a species.
That helps it to survive or strengthen over time not weaken. Therefore, thanks to our ancestors whose minds worried and solved problems all the time.
We have evolved to worry and solve problems today.
Even though their problems are not Sabre-toothed Tigers or woolly mammoths, our minds will still problem solve, they now just do so far more subtly and extensively. And for those of us with high expectations of ourselves, likely because those expectations were placed on us from a young age and we’ve adopted them into adulthood.
Our minds become preoccupied with judging whether or not we’re doing the right thing, meeting the high standards we set for ourselves and telling us stories designed to warn us of threats to our sense of belonging.
Have I put on weight?
What will other people think of me?
And the number one hitch:
Am I good enough?
Our minds problem solving skills are not a problem as long as there is a problem to solve. Yes.
That sentence is quite a mouthful, isn’t it? I’m surprised to actually go through it the first time. If you’re working on a spreadsheet or changing a car tire, or putting your baby to sleep or learning piano, your mind has plenty to focus on.
However, if you are doing a mindless task, something that you can do on autopilot, like driving or having a shower, your mind has very little to do so it will just make problems up or shut away whether you like it or not. We have evolved to listen to our minds like they speak gospel or the truth, as if they give us an accurate picture of reality.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case. And instead, we end up convinced of a far more melodramatic version of reality than the one we’re actually experiencing.
Especially when it comes to anything that we use as a marker of our worthiness. And that’s what our inner critics like to pick on, is anything that we attach our sense of value good enough to the thing is what we haven’t evolved to do is to focus on our present moment experience and respond to reality exactly as it is moment by moment.
We haven’t evolved to evaluate whether or not what our mind is saying is helpful for living in alignment with our values, or for living bravely and meaningfully. Instead, we walk around like puppets who were controlled by our minds. The answer to these lovely ones is a skill called Mindfulness, which means being aware of your present moment experience without judgement, and specifically using the skill of mindfulness to be aware of your thoughts and seek distance from them when they are unhelpful. That’s right, distance.
Notice, I’m not encouraging you should get rid of these thoughts. Part of what we get caught up in is this idea that we shouldn’t have the self-critical thoughts in the first place. But if you spend your time and energy on fighting with these thoughts, then what you’re going to get more of is these thoughts.
They will become more intense because minds feed off of the energy, we give them. I want to give you an example. Right now, if I asked you not to think about a pink elephant, I want you to do your very best to not think of this elephant please don’t think of it’s a little trunk. Or it’s a little wrinkly knee or its little ears flapping or its tail wiggling.
Don’t think of the gorgeous little pink wrinkles on its feet.
Don’t think about a pink elephant at all.
Get rid of that pink elephant from your mind.
And as you do this, I want you to notice how much energy is this taking.
Are you able to do it?
and be if you were able to do it.
I’m betting that you could only do it for a couple of seconds or so before that pink elephant came striding through your mind wanting full attention, because the thing that generally happens is that how do we try not to think about something, the more we think about it.
So instead, what I want you to practice is getting distance from the thoughts that your inner critic gives you so that you can save your time and energy for what you can directly control which is your actions. The reason this is important is because the more action you spend on creating a life that’s important to you, a life that’s consistent with your values in alignment with what you’re out to make in the world. Then more evidence, your brain gets to start developing confidence and self-belief. Brains respond to evidence. So, the more action you take, the more your brain has something to latch on to, to say, Hey, we can do this. But that doesn’t mean that you
In a critical disappear,
it might quieten down over time. But initially as you practice this, it’s about accepting that it has a presence in our head rather than fighting with it.
So, let’s go through three steps. For those of you that like instructions, I totally get you and I say you I also love instructions. So, I’m going to give you three steps for getting distance from your mind here.
Step one is to notice when your inner critic is throwing mud at you.
Noticing is the first step in changing anything. Remember that we’re not necessarily changing the thoughts that your mind is presenting you with in the first place, but we are changing how you respond to those thoughts. Notice what your mind is saying without judging it.
Step two acknowledge your inner critic for doing its job.
Getting angry with your mind is feeding it more energy. I want you to validate the fact that it’s only trying to keep you safe. Ensure that you continue to belong to your people, because that’s what we want most, to be loved and to have a place with our people. Your inner critic is constantly worried that you might not be measuring up, and that your sense of belonging might be threatened, we need to validate that fear.
Step three is to allow those thoughts to play in the background
Without allowing them control of your actions, because that’s just the thing. I want you to allow those thoughts to play in the background without allowing them control of your actions. So in response to self critical thoughts, I want you to take action to create evidence for your brain to respond to that will help you develop self belief. Lovely ones. Thoughts don’t control what we do.
Don’t believe me? Hmm, let’s do a test.
I want you to have the thought right now, depending on what you’re doing, maybe don’t do this if you’re driving, but I want you to have the thought right now that you can’t lift your right arm.
And now while you’re having that thought played over and over again, I want you to lift your right arm.
Thoughts don’t control what we do. You can feel incredible.
Tired at 5am in the morning and still get up and go for a walk. Because thoughts don’t control what we do.
No to feelings, by the way, but I should make another podcast episode on that, we’ll get to feelings. So to give me an example of how this works in real life, I’m going to talk about my own experience with something as simple as going live in my facebook group. So I have this amazing, beautiful Facebook community of my students. And we gather in our private group, and I go live I do mini master classes, they ask questions, we generally hang out
To provide support and encouragement for my students, doing both my overcoming self sabotage programme and my radical courage, from fear to freedom programme.
And when I first started going live on Facebook, my inner critic would say, what happens if you turn the phone the wrong way? What happens if your Internet’s not consistent? What happens if you look like an idiot and you forget where you’re up to in terms of your place?
What happens if you don’t provide the information that people are looking for at that time, and it’s not helpful? What happens if it’s raining and your hair goes fuzzy?
Anything that it could pick on? My inner critic would have an absolute Field Day picking on and my process around that was to validate my inner critic. I understand that you’re just doing a job. Thank you mind. Thanks.
If you’re showing up to protect me, but right now that’s not helpful.
So the first thing we do is to notice that it’s there in the first place. The second thing that we do is validate the inner critics concerns. And then we take action. And the action that I would take anyway is to show up and to go live over and over and over again.
And now, my inner critic doesn’t really show up at all, when I do lives. It’s been something that I’ve done so many times now that my brain has a plethora of evidence to be able to prove that I have confidence to do these lives without too much hassle. And this is what we’re going for that you allow your inner critic to have its say, but not to have control over what you do in response to it.
And instead, you take values directed action and build up the evidence that your brain needs in order to start feeling confident in whatever area it is.
Your inner critic is showing up.
So lovely ones.
I want you to remember this. Everyone has an inner critic, but sometimes people who have had an upbringing where there were high standards placed upon them, or they had caregivers or teachers who were incredibly perfectionistic and placed unrealistic expectations on their shoulders might have an inner critic that is louder. If that’s you, then I want you to understand that your inner critic is only trying to keep you safe, even though it’s annoying. Well, it does so. So when you next notice that it shows up, here are the steps that I want you to take. Notice when it’s slinging mud, validate its concerns. It’s just trying to keep you emotionally safe. And three, take action in the direction of your values in the direction of creating the life that you want to create and trust that that action will develop the evidence
That your brain needs in order to start to feel confident. And if you need a helping hand shifting your inner critic so that you can start to show up exactly as you’re capable of doing, as I know you to be capable of doing then my masterclass on imposter syndrome is exactly what you need. This is where I’ll teach you how to release yourself from the inner critics habit of making you feel not good enough, or like you don’t deserve to be where you are, or put your work out into the world, or level up into the next chapter of your life. I’m going to link to the show notes to this free one-hour training on impostor syndrome. To help you find relief from the feelings of not being good enough. Jump into the show notes and register now and I’ll catch you next time.
Lovely ones. Thank you so much for listening to Hello, Rebecca Ray. If you got something meaningful from the episode, the most meaningful thing you can do is to leave a review wherever you listen to your podcasts because it’s based reviews. That helps us
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**This transcript is taken from our software and sometimes it’s not perfect, thank you for understanding.