Do you have that voice inside your head that will just not stop nagging you while you write? You are not alone with that feeling. The terms “inner critic” and “imposter syndrome” have floated around for quite a while. They describe the feeling when you feel like not a single word you write is good enough and really you should just stop. In this episode, we talk about how to deal with that feeling. And that annoying inner voice.
Our 10 tips on dealing with your inner critic
- Name your inner critic: The voice in your head is not you. It’s something that’s learned. Maybe you had a tough parent or teacher that you learned this behavior from that made you think you needed this critic to make you be a stronger/better/smarter person. By naming the critic, it gives you distance.
- Sit with your inner critic and have that discussion: You can meditate or journal, or if you’d rather call it “sitting and staring at a wall” that’s fine too. Just allow that voice to ramble and then really take it apart. Most of the time you’ll realize there is no substance to it.
- Think about what that voice is trying to protect you from: …and convince yourself and your critic that this is not a valid fear. If you can identify what led you to start thinking these thought patterns, that can be really useful, but even if you can’t, convincing yourself that whatever challenge you’re facing isn’t going to kill you, it gives you an opportunity to reframe things.
- Use physical activity: Sports are a great way to get out of your head! With the exercise, you get your blood flowing and can just shut up any critical voices in your head for a while.
- Defend yourself like you’d defend a friend: Ask yourself what you would say if someone were speaking about your best friend in the way that the inner critic does.
- Close the door on your inner critic: Sometimes, the best thing you can do is to just tell your inner critic to sit down and shut up – and just explore and play.
- Stop comparing yourself to others: Just because someone else does A or B, doesn’t mean you have to. Or just because they are better at one thing, doesn’t mean that you don’t also have your strengths. People are different. Comparisons are unnecessary.
- Give your inner critic something new to think about: So gratitude is a big one with being happy in life generally – and that is true about dealing with your inner critic too. Set goals for yourself and then make an actual list what you accomplished. We forget so often how far we’ve already come and to be grateful for that, to pat ourselves on the shoulder for that.
- Write a letter to your inner critic: Try to write out an actual letter to your inner critic – addressing all the stuff they keep throwing at you and how they are quite unkind with it. And also quite wrong. It’s a bit like journaling away your inner critic.
- Allow space for your inner nurturer: Whatever you want to call that other voice inside your head, the one that is good and helpful – create space for them. Make it a whole self-caring committee if you can! Learn to be your strongest supporter – and if that’s hard in the beginning, imagine good friends in your life telling you this. Or even like fictional characters that have some wisdom to share.
Books and other things we mentioned
- Freud’s concept of the super-ego
- Najwa Zebian’s “Welcome Home: A Guide to Building a Home for Your Soul“
- Elisabeth Gilbert’s “Big Magic“
0:10 Inner critic personalities
2:30 Feeling like an impostor
5:55 Silence vs Talking it out
7:05: Freud’s super-ego
08:02: Tip #1 Name your inner critic
10:05 Tip #2 Sit with your inner critic
13:00 Tip #3 What is the inner critic protecting you from?
15:10 Tip #4 Use physical activity
17:30 Tip #5 Defend yourself like a friend
19:05 Tip #6 Close the door on your inner critic
20:10 Tip #7 Stop comparing yourself to others
22:35 Tip #8 Give your inner critic something new to think about
24:10 Tip #9 Write a letter to your inner critic
26:10 Tip #10 Allow space for the inner nurturer
Note: Apologies, we might have messed up the counting a little in this episode!