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Day 5. Your Inner Critic Has Different Motivations To Your True Self

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In order to tune in to your inner voice and calm your inner critic, it's important to get a sense of what your inner critic's motivations are so that you can calm it and basically self-soothe it and you at times when it makes itself known. If you try to calm your inner critic without having a sense of its position, it's akin to when you try to placate someone or lay down the law without them without empathising.

If you don’t understand your motivations for why you’re doing what you’re doing (or playing your inner critic’s messaging), you cannot really seek to change things or have any real command over you.

Empathising does not mean agreeing with their position, forgetting about your own, making you responsible for another person's feelings and behaviour or projecting; it's about recognising their position and where they might be coming from.

Let me tell you - distinguishing me from outer critics has been liberating and in the same way, in recognising that my inner critic is a pattern of noise that my brain has developed over the years that disrupts and even silences the connection to my actual self (my inner voice), I'm able to recognise the inner critic for what it is and not be overpowered by it anymore.

Criticism is a form of feedback, not factual. The largest amount of insight it provides is into that person's perspective, so where they're coming from, what they're afraid of, what they're motivated by etc. Tone matters as does language, and a critic who doesn’t admit to what it doesn't know or is unable to admit to a mistake or distinguish between what it's criticising and what it's projecting, is a critic that's going to not only cross boundaries but who will also get things wrong.

In the 'real world', so what is going on outside of us, many people are self-appointed critics, quick to judge, to make snap judgments, to see fit to tell people about themselves or to get confused between how they think things should be and the differences.

  • They judge people the way that they judge themselves.
  • They get annoyed with people about stuff that they themselves are guilty of.
  • They focus on superiority and inferiority, winners and losers.
  • Their hidden agendas are so suppressed that they don't know about them and so don't realise how they're coming across and some of the conflicts between what they say and what they do.
  • They use fear as a weapon to manipulate and coerce.
  • They secretly expect others to right the wrongs of their own pasts and to correct their negative beliefs, all while being braced to shoot them down when they don't or can't, or to be a skeptic when they can.

Sound familiar?

Your inner critic repeats messaging of either one authority or a mix of authorities that you've had in your life.

Note that some of these 'authorities' are not actual authorities - they are people you've seen as being more powerful and having more rights than you.

Your inner critic might be your voice with that messaging or a different sounding one, or sound just like one of these people who have influenced it.

You might have 'remixed' the sound so due to feeling afraid of it, you might have associated it with something more menacing and gradually refined its tone - sometimes due to the associations we have with a person and the fears and other feelings they bring up in us, their tone feels amplified and sometimes due to unexpressed anger we have, we add in a tone that isn't always there either. We make a monster out of them in our heads and it amplifies our fears and our desire to be compliant.

Your inner critic thinks that it's trying to help you.

It thinks that it's the authority on what's right for you but it comes from a place of fear, guilt, obligation and even anger, so this distorts its message.

It fundamentally believes that it's trying to help you by sparing you from what it imagines is a bigger future pain.

That pain might be entirely made up, based on whoever inspired the inner critic's voice and messaging, or be based on your past experiences.

The inner critic doesn't take note of progress, so it is more than happy to collaborate with the younger parts of you (often put under one umbrella of Inner Child), by using an experience from ages ago and the emotions and sometimes memories from it, to remind you about a past pain as a deterrent to going down that road again.

This puts up walls where you don’t distinguish between real versus imagined threats and the past versus the present.

In order to be 'effective' and dominate you so that you pay attention, it will go to any lengths to gain your compliance.

Change throws it for a loop so it will prey on the discomfort that lets you know that you're stretching out of your comfort zone and seize the opportunity to pull you back to a familiar zone where it can control you.

Or, it will chop chop chop away so that any pleasure or gains that come from the change aren't enjoyed or noticed, and due to you having cues, triggers, associations and responses, being able to exploit one of these to insert itself into the 'new' experience in your life.

Your inner critic projects irrational fears on to you.

Your inner voice is more rational, supportive, balanced and in essence, rooting for you from a healthier place - the essence of you.

The TAKEAWAY

  • Your inner critic has motivations that are entirely different to yours and that are outdated. Once you recognise this, you pick out useful information and park the rest.
  • Just like habits that we adopt in childhood as coping mechanisms that are not reflective of our present self and in fact, holding us back (e.g. procrastination habits designed to protect us in childhood), the inner critic thinks that it’s still trying to help you for old things.
  • Your inner critic treats the possibility of something happening as the same as something actually happening.
  • Your inner critic projects irrational fears -  not logical or reasonable perceptions of a threat.
  • Just like when you keep trying to make sense of someone else’s nonsense and end up wrecking your own head, if you keep acting as if what the inner critic is saying is logical and reasonable then you will end up crazymaking yourself.
  • Your inner critic will clutch at straws and throw everything but the kitchen sink at you as long as it has the airtime and space to do so, hence why you have to learn to intervene and set boundaries.
  • Your inner critic sees change as a threat. Your inner voice sees change as an opportunity to continue evolving into who you truly are, to develop your relationship further with you by learning from the insights gained, and to basically grow as a person.

Over the next 8 lessons, you’re going to find out about the eight roles that the inner critic employs including The Perfectionist, The Shamer, The Spoiler, The Pusher and The Guilter - brace yourself for lots of insight and mindset shifts to help you gain perspective and transcend past experiences.

JOURNALING: Using what you've learned so far about how the inner critic operates and also the difference between it and your inner voice, can you identify the characteristics of each one. What does each one sound like? Whose messaging does the voice of your inner critic represent? Is it one person or several? What is it that you think has made these people so influential and 'authoritative'? Are there specific memories that you associate with these people? Make sure you use the Releasing Exercise in your resources to help you work through these? Can you recognise any of the irrational arguments that your inner critic has used to keep you compliant? Keep a note of the keywords and phrases so that you become more attuned to recognising its voice. Sometimes the inner critic, as you'll discover over the next round of lessons, uses different tones or doesn't sound that dissimilar to you so it's important to become attuned to the messaging. If it brings down your confidence, is dressed up as help that leaves you feeling afraid, guilty, or obligated, what is the messaging that it is using? Are you able yet to pick up on any messages that your inner voice has been trying to put across to you? Can you recognise qualities in it that show you how it's actually trying to help and support you? What have you believed about your inner critic up until this point? Can you see where some or even all of these beliefs are blanket, inaccurate beliefs? See which ones you can question right now.

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