How To Outsmart Your Inner Critic
Have you ever experienced a great moment of clarity, in which the next step becomes evident? These moments hit you spontaneously-- in the middle of a Zumba class, riding on an elevator, waking up from a nap-- and fill you with a surge of enthusiasm to do the thing, whatever it may be for you, that will change your life in a substantially positive way. When you ride this wave, you make big wins. You transform a hazy idea into a profitable business, a once distant desire to live a healthy lifestyle transforms into a fridge well stocked with nutritious staples. In this state, dreams and ideas become a tangible part of your everyday reality. Clarity, focus and a deadeye drive to do what you set out to do is a powerful trio.
What is it, then, that quells this voracious bunch?
It is usually that voice that bellows into your head after that profound insight. While the insight comes in a whisper, this voice howls until it is all you can hear. I call this voice the inner critic. The inner critic is primarily concerned with your survival and it uses herculean force to keep you within the parameters of perceived safety. Any sizable change is perceived as a threat to your inner critic. That's why it crops up at your first intention to make a powerful change in your life. It comes armed with an extensive list that covers all of the reasons why you can't do the thing that you know will change your life for the better. Many people will persist after their vision for a while longer before eventually throwing in the towel once the voice of the inner critic becomes too much to bear. Instead of riding the wave of insight up and onward to make those big wins, they drown in the ocean of self-doubt that the inner critic flooded them with.
Now what would happen if you put this voice to rest before it trampled all over your dreams and your belief in your ability to achieve them?
You would be hellbent to meet your end goal-- hurdles would be leapt over and mountains would be moved. Despite the many seemingly insurmountable obstacles in your path, the baddest, hairiest beast lives in your mind. Once you squash that inner critic guy, the rest becomes child's play.
But, but, but... how does one go about outsmarting this inner critic guy?
Well, for one, you need to be firmly rooted in who you are and the why lingering behind your desires. Before pursuing your goals, ask yourself, why do I want this? Become clear on whether you want to achieve something to satisfy yourself or to please others around you. A goal set for the purpose of pleasing others will be eaten alive by your inner critic, which in this instance, may not be such a bad thing. Also, take note of your goal to determine whether it is aligned with your core values. If you are pursuing a goal that is authentic to you and are doing so out of a desire to satisfy yourself, then you have a winner.
From here, you are still bound to cross paths with the inner critic. He will pull out his scroll, delicately marked with all of the ways in which you have failed as a human being and why there is no plausible way for you to achieve your goal. Upon his criticisms, the best thing you can do is to look that smug character in the eye and let him know with certainty that he was mistaken. That, actually, you can do what you set out to do with passion, grace and an enviable drive.
Conscious Ink Staffer