Criticism is powerful, it can prompt a lot of reactions, both positive and negative.
Constructive criticism can often help people see things they wouldn’t normally see.
This constructive criticism can help improve the way you do things.
I often ask people their opinion of me, my clothes, hair, make up, how they see me as a person, or to give me constructive criticism on something I have done, or changes that I could make for the better.
However, there’s a fine line between constructive criticism and making harsh judgements on others and while criticism has the power to help, it also has the power to hurt.
Often the harshest critic is the one that lives inside us, our inner critic.
My inner critic is the harshest of them all.
I often hear that horrible voice of my inner critic saying;
“You are not good enough” you could have done that better” and it starts to eat away at my insecurities and allows me to underestimate myself, beat myself up and most of all question myself.
I took to reading more into this (Good old Google) and discovered that psychologist Jay Earley identified 7 types of Inner Critic and that each of them, in their own way impact our lives.
Some of us have more than one type of critic, while others have a mixture, me included.
- The Perfectionist:
This Inner Critic wants you to do things perfectly and flawlessly. It has very high standards for performance and when you don’t meet them, it attacks you and says that your actions are not good enough. It often stops you from even starting a new project, claiming that you will not be able to do it the right way.
The Perfectionist usually says:
* “Try harder!”
* You will never do it right.”
* “You’re not planning to leave it like that, are you?”
* “You are worthless!”
2. Inner Controller:
His task is to control impulsive behaviours, such as turning to alcohol, using drugs and other stimulants (coffee, cigarettes, etc.). When you slip up and do one of these things, the Controller will start to blame you and criticise you.
The Inner Controller usually says:
* “You did it again… Shame on you!”
* “You have no willpower.”
* “You will never break free from this”.
He will do whatever it takes to get you to work as hard as possible. In order to motivate you. It can tell you that you are lazy or incompetent, that you can achieve nothing. It often disagrees and argues with another part of your personality – the Procrastinator (the one that puts off work for later).
The Taskmaster usually says:
* You’re lazy.”
* “Get some work done!”
* “Rest is for the weak.”
* “You won’t achieve anything in life unless you start working hard.”
What this Inner Critic does is undermine your self-confidence and chill your actions to protect you against the risk of failure. It lowers your self-confidence and self-esteem, which prevents you from taking any action. It tells you that you are worthless and that you will not succeed.
The Underminder usually says:
* “You’re worthless.”
* “Don’t even try because you will fail anyway.”
* “It’s pointless.”
* “Let it go, why waste time on this?”
It makes direct attacks on your self-esteem by making you believe that you shouldn’t exist. It shames you deeply.
The Destroyer usually says:
* “You should have never been born”
* “You are a big failure”
* “You are worthless.”
His job is to blame you for certain actions and decisions you took (or didn’t take) in the past. This often concerns behaviour that was harmful to others (especially those who are important to you), regardless of whether it was done deliberately or not.
The Guilt-Tripper usually says:
* “How could you do that?”
* “You will regret this for the rest of your life.”
* “He will never forgive you.”
* “You will never forgive yourself.”
It tries to get you to blend in a certain social framework and keep your head down. It moulds you in such a way, that you become someone who fits into exactly what people want you to be. This Inner Critic praises you when you behave the way they want you to, but then attacks you when you don’t.
The Moulder usually says:
* “Don’t make a fool of yourself.”
* “Keep your head down!”
* “Do as you are told.”
* “What will other people think?”
I have spent a lot of time listening to my inner critic and believing what it says to me. I have missed nights out, blamed myself repeatedly for even the simplest of mistakes and I’ve spiralled into deep dark places at times. My inner critic has led me to believe that I am worthless and allowed the demons to run free inside my head.
I was talking to my daughter a couple of days ago about planning my driving trips and how I automatically start panicking before I’ve even started a journey. I will plan my journeys in such detail that I end up with severe anxiety.
I question if I will be able to find a parking space? if I leave too late, will I encounter traffic? Will I get lost? etc: that’s my perfectionist and underminer critic kicking in, telling me to give it up, it’s pointless, don’t bother going, you will probably be late/not find a parking space and then I put myself down and think that I’m worthless (another inner critic has just joined the group).
So I decided to do some research and came across an article which helped me explain a few things and this is how I intepret it:
1. Just because your inner critic is telling you something, it doesn’t mean it’s true, confuse it by telling yourself ways in which it can’t be true. Question the life out of your inner critic until you hear a positive voice. When we can identify the critic, we take away its power.
2. Stop mulling over things. When you make a mistake or you’ve had a bad day, you may be inclined to re-play the events over and over in your head. Don’t keep reminding yourself of the embarrassing things you said or did, remember you can’t change what happened, accept it, move on. Remember, tomorrow is another day.
3. Would you tell a friend they were useless, ugly, incompetent when they asked for some constructive criticism? Of course you wouldn’t, you would tell them all the amazing things they are good at, how they have impacted your life by being in it. So stop putting your own self down.
4 When your critical thoughts are negative, change that negativity into positivity, tell your inner critic all the things you were grateful for today.
5. Instead of telling yourself that you always do things wrong, how about tell yourself that last week you landed that contract, the week before you spent hours on a presentation that had such an impact on upper management, you cooked the perfect roast, hosted the most amazing dinner party whatever you have achieved, be it in the workplace or home, tell your inner critic everything. Remember that you sometimes do more right than wrong, but for some reason the negatives always seem more impactful.
6. Ask yourself this question… Have you killed anyone today with your thoughts and actions? Have you hurt anyone or embarassed them? If the answer is no, then its obviously not that bad. Don’t sweat the small stuff.. Worse things happen at sea.
7. Accept your flaws, they are yours and remember, someone somewhere thinks they are perfect.
So, there you have it, be kind to yourself and try not to be too self-critical, you only get one life and that life needs to be lived in the best possible way. Do not destroy yourself with negative thoughts.
My final words today are: Keep being you, you are worthy, you are important, and you can do anything you put your mind to.
What’s your inner critic?
Inspirational quote of the day:
What we fear of doing most is what we most need to do.
Sorry that I’ve had to upload this again, my daughter was on my laptop while I was in the other room and she called out “mummy, what does trash mean” I replied “it’s the American version of our rubbish” . “Then I think I’ve put your typing in the rubbish” she said…When I finally returned to my desk, my post had disappeared, only then did I realise my post was gone and I had only saved half of it 😫