Why is My Inner Critic So Loud?

Amid new year resolution land, new you, are you finding yourself attacked by your inner critic? Here are a few common situations – and the start of solutions. Remember, you can’t fix your self-doubt voice in a day – so give yourself time and grace to improve!

You ignore your successes and focus on your failures…
But it’s so easy to fixate on failures! Never mind everything else, look where I screwed up.

This one hits personally.

I can remember being so down that a book proposal I submitted to agents was getting turned down, agent after agent. This was after my book came out to great reviews, and people were (and still are!) getting excited. And all I could think about was my proposal being turned down. Didn’t matter that I had a book out, I was headed to SXSWedu in the spring – all my self-worth was tied up into that proposal, and I clearly couldn’t do anything right.

Except for all the other cool stuff I have going on including my fricken book.

…so try celebrating mini successes…or any success.
Spend as much time with the wins as with the losses. Seriously – if you spend days on your “loss” (or like me, a week being terrible to myself) then you should be able to spend that much time with a win.

Sound hard? Yeah, because the negative can be oh-so-easy to focus on. Flip the script.


You’re focused on being perfect…
Perfectionism is one of the biggest causes of imposter syndrome. You think you have to be perfect, get it 100% right and be amazing all the time, right?

See even writing it out and I bet you reading it sounds weird. Would you ask your friend to be that “perfect” and never make a mistake? What about your partner or family? Probably not. Give yourself some grace and remember that you’re human.

…so try failing on purpose.
This is probably giving you anxiety just thinking about it. Hear me out: try a new hobby. Recently, I tried to make macarons – you know those almond French cookies that are bright and beautiful and expensive? Found a recipe, grabbed the ingredients – I cook all the time! This will be fine!

They. Were. Terrible.

Stuck to the pan undercooked terrible.

And you know what? It felt great to be “huh, ok I’m not good at this right now (and maybe never!) For now, I’m going to spend money on someone else making macarons.


You feel like taking help is a failure…
I can do it myself! I don’t need anyone’s help!

There’s so much therapy tied in there.

If you’re feeling that you can only do things yourself otherwise it’s a failure of your character or hard work, take a breath and know that you’re not alone. While all of these are very specific kinds of imposter syndrome, this one is a big one: the individual. You feel as though you have to be able to do it yourself, not lean on others, and that’s the only way you’re not a fraud.

…so try asking for help.
Do it. Ask for someone to do something for you. Even if it’s a small task that you know you could do with more hours in the day. Take a breath and ask someone to do it and look! Your world won’t end, you’re not a failure because you asked for some support. This doesn’t even have to be a thing you need – it can be a simple ask to start getting you in the habit of not doing everything yourself.


You’ve surrounded yourself with jerks…
This is a hard one – sometimes our self-talk isn’t OUR self-talk – it’s a reflection of what other people say to us. It comes out in our darkest moments – and sometimes just too often in general.

If you’re not sure if it’s someone else, take a moment to listen, really listen, to the people around you. Are they making you feel bad? Are they saying things that you’ve ALSO been saying, and when you dig in, the negative self-talk comes from them?

…so try giving them a time out.
Be busy. Block their texts. Stop talking to them. Being around people like that does nothing…and if you understood how much they projected their insecurities on you, you wouldn’t take them seriously.

Be well, friends.

 

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