She is the most amazing writer and teacher. And she thinks she has nothing to say.
She is the most loving, spiritual person. And she thinks she is a bad mother.
She is smart and driven. And she thinks she is a failure who never finishes anything.
He is creative and funny. And thinks he is not good enough to lose the weight.
Real people, real thoughts they’ve shared with me. Many are probably your thoughts.
I’ve been re-doing my New Habits Course. Thinking I was going to have to re-write a bunch of drivel, I was astounded to see how well-written it was. It certainly didn’t seem that way when I first wrote it.
We have such an inaccurate view of our accomplishments (that project is a mess, I missed the deadline, it’s ugly, it’s not perfect so I have failed) and our capabilities (there’s no way I can get clients, I am nowhere near as good as that person, I am too disorganized to get things done, I just have bad genes).
But, these thoughts are not the truth. We are more capable then we think. What we create is better than we think.
To find a more accurate view, try asking good, positive friends what they think. Often they have a clearer view.
I like to keep a couple smily folders. One is an email folder in Gmail with people expressing gratitude for what I have done or said and other warm fuzzies. And I have a physical folders with letters and thank you notes. When I spiral down with my angry, inner critic I can pull these out as a reminder. The trick is to catch it before the free fall.
I also write down 10 accomplishments of the week before during my weekly planning. Boy this is tough sometimes but I make sure I don’t weasel out of it. And I can’t add any buts. "I accomplished editing 5 course days, but I meant to do 10." Writing accomplishments without the but, helps me feel more capable.
Somehow we believe if we only think about our negative qualities we become these humble, lovely people. But, really we become obnoxious martyrs always waiting for someone else to acknowledge us and envious of everyone else. People with confidence in their abilities can do more good in the world because they are the ones who take action.
To help silence the inner critic, we need to remember it is not us. It is only a part of us and it’s trying to be helpful to save us from ourselves. Thank your inner critic for its suggestions then counter with a better way to think.
Inner Critic: You are going to fail, then feel bad if you take this project on. It will be hard. And you will be judged. Not good.
You: Thanks for thinking about me and trying to protect me. But, I believe this project is important to the world so I am going to work on ways to complete it. I will learn from mistakes and get support from other people. I’ve got it handled, so you can rest now.
You can also use the Work to question your inner critic thoughts. By asking, "Is it true?" we can begin to see more clearly.
Keep remembering, the inner critic thoughts are very inaccurate. Don’t buy them as truth. You are capable.