It’s the nagging critical voice that demeans you, judges you and tells you who you should be and what you should do. Think of those times when you felt down and believed that you were useless, stupid or retarded. No, that wasn’t the truth about yourself! Guess what? It was a message from your inner critic which loves to criticise you! Will you let it shape the direction of your life or sabotage your chances of professional success? You don’t deserve this. You’d better befriend it and transform it into an ally. Here are some steps to go about it:
Although common sense says that we should stick to things that make us feel positive, it is never bad to make use of negativity simply because negative thoughts aren’t the real problem. The problem is rather how you relate to them. The fear of failing an interview can encourage you to learn from your mistakes, focus on areas that you need to improve on and prepare better. This is possible as long as you don’t fall into the trap of defining yourself as “someone who always blows interviews”.
The key is to turn your negativity into an opportunity to develop and not remain trapped in the illusion of a solid, unchanging you. Your inner voice just wants attention, but you are never certain whether it has good or bad intentions. So if you suspect it judges you for no good reason, it’s time to wake up and gradually detach yourself from your inner heckler.
Don’t identify with it
It is important to identify what your critical inner voice tries to tell you. Realise that this thought process is separate from your actual viewpoint and is not necessarily a depiction of reality. These thoughts stem from destructive experiences in your early life and attitudes directed toward you that you have internalized as your own point of view. Dare to address the fears related to your anxiety. Allow yourself space to dig deeper and identify the most vulnerable feelings about a given situation. Ask yourself “What am I really afraid of?” Get in touch with your feelings and thoughts, try to understand them but don’t identify with them.
Respond to your inner critic, don’t react
If you struggle to set yourself apart from your inner critic, jot down how you evaluate yourself in an objective and compassionate manner. Write your thoughts in the first person. So, if your inner critic tells you that “You are incapable”, you could respond “I may face difficulties occasionally, but I’m good at other things which are vital to my career development”. Your inner voice may keep on interfering, telling you to steer clear from new plans, changes and taking risks. Just ignore it, capitalise on your strengths and keep your momentum going.
Have a little perspective
Being able to see things from a bigger picture when it comes to self-criticism can dramatically change your relationship to your inner critic. Try to see things from a different angle, experiment with different approaches instead of hopping immediately to the habit of self-defeat. Acknowledge that even the most negative self-talks may involve several hinted absurd elements you can laugh at. With some curiosity and willingness to soften towards yourself, you can turn this heckler into something you can laugh with.
Don’t fight your inner critic; rather, try to develop a personal connection with it by critically assessing its commentary and keeping apart from its directives that are not constructive. Follow these tips and sooner or later, your inner critic will become your best friend.