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  • Writer's pictureBecky Upchurch

Inner Critic

Have you ever stopped and thought about what you would accomplish if you always listened to your Inner Critic without hesitation or question? If you’re anything like me, the answer is…NOTHING. You see, my Inner Critic, in all her infinite wisdom, is generally the voice of fear that lives in my head, trying to protect me from any and every possible thing that could go wrong. So at the end of the day, if I always listened to her, I would likely NEVER accomplish anything new, big, scary…or worthwhile. Instead, I’d embrace the hell out of status quo and mediocrity, which is NOT a life I want to live!

I once heard something similar to “I wish I had the confidence of a mediocre white man,” and it cracked me up. Because no offense to mediocre white men (I’ve known and perhaps even loved a few), but it struck me as one of those so-funny-it’s-true comments. Because really, haven’t we ALL met a man who we looked at and thought “What the heck is he so confident for?” while perhaps simultaneously looking at an amazingly talented woman and thinking “Why is she so unsure/insecure/hesitant/full of self-doubt?” You see, it’s really not about men or mediocrity…it’s about the ways in which women, in particular, internalize societal messages as their own, often perpetuating them without even realizing it. So instead of thinking “Society/the patriarchy/other people’s thoughts are trying to discourage me from doing this thing,” we instead think “I’M not sure I should do this…” It may sound like a small distinction, but it’s one that can have quite the impact!

So why am I telling you this? Because it is evidence that we have OPTIONS when it comes to dealing with our Inner Critic! Instead of taking it as truth…or our inner knowing…or a loving, caring voice from within, we can see it for what it is: a collection of messages that we’ve internalized over time that may not serve us, our needs, or who we want to be!

So what can we DO about it? First, we need to learn to QUESTION that inner dialogue. Ask yourself: Is this voice mine or the world’s? Is this a voice that is serving me, or is it harming me? What is the cost to me if I listen to this voice?

Next, we can rewrite our Inner Critic stories. Rewriting our stories can be a powerful catalyst for helping us to move forward in our lives. A big part of that can be rewriting the stories our Inner Critic is telling us and creating new narratives to replace them.

“I don’t know how to do this” can become “I am learning how to do this.”

“I don’t have the right qualifications to apply” can become “I have enough qualifications and experiences to make me a strong candidate.”

“I feel like I’m failing at being a mom” can become “I am modeling for my children that it’s okay to not have all the answers.”

See how a small shift in the narrative can shift the message entirely? Let’s see what that might look like in your own life! Feeling uncertain? My inbox is always open😊

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