The Inner Critic - Better Days Ahead
In my efforts towards creating awareness, I thought that I would share my journey with my inner Critic.
I trust that you are in a place in your life where you have a desire to understand this. If not, it’s okay. Your life may be going at full tilt that finding a moment to catch up with yourself is hard to come by.
I know that I felt like that, in 2016, I was working 16 hrs a day as a personal trainer trying to be the busiest, have the most clients all whilst earning a considerable revenue. It was great, for a short time!
I didn’t know it then, but I was in pursuit of perfection. I became so focused on achieving that there was no room for living. I was so invested in being the best that I forgot to be just me.
It was during this time that I got to know my inner Critic.
Yip, there is something called ‘The Inner Critic’ and it has a voice. Just google it. It’s incredible how much info is available on this bugger. For you, it may be your mum, or dad, a high school friend, or as in my case, it was ME!
My Critic was born in my childhood and grew up with me. For context, my brother and sister never finished secondary school; they mixed with the wrong crowd; they were bound by narcotics and so much more. Thank goodness, these days are behind us.
I wanted to be perfect because I believed my siblings were not, and that led to people-pleasing, over-promising, under-delivering, and countless cycles of guilt which ultimately lead to BURNOUT.
You may never have realised it, but your Critic is linked to your progress. My Critic demanded complete perfection immediately. What I was about to discover was simple. I just needed to be better. And when better is not possible, it’s okay to take a planned break.
In January 2020, after returning from a fun-filled time in the Cederberg with Jene and some close friends. I was standing in front of the mirror armed with my favourite skinny jeans and a tight black t-shirt that we got in Ireland in June 2019. I got dressed, thinking I like the way I feel in this clothing. But the feeling never came. I paused, it was a bit tighter than I would have preferred. My first thought was “OMG, I am FAT!”
You see, that is your inner critic at work. You have fat and are not fat! These words are so similar, but they have different effects on how you will respond. I had to learn to manage this. My Critic had to understand the difference between “having” and “being” fat. Once the reframing started, it was easier to make the changes to have less fat. It is your responsibility to look after yourself. And managing your Critic is part of that responsibility. The Critic is so crucial to speed, consistency and balance as you progress.
You don’t need to silence your Critic, just focus on reframing the words.
Silence is not better.
Balance is better.
Better is Better.
Here are four tips to change the Critic.
- Create Awareness – Recognise the Critic
The Critic has a voice, which is linked to someone or something in the past. You may not have realised it before but your Critic is with you 24/7 some call it your subconscious.
This voice rears its head when you have set expectations that you are unable to meet.
When you are in a hurry and you forget something behind.
When you don’t manage to sleep and you wake up feeling, well, just blah.
When you miss your weigh-in targets.
There are tons more examples. Your Critic may say things like:
“I am such a failure”
“You also over promise and under deliver”
“When are you going to get this right?”
“You are so forgetful”
“You wanted to watch one more (or even three more) episodes before you went to bed”
- The Structure – Reframing The Words
Reframing is about taking the words of the Critic and putting the words in a more digestible order and creating the right feeling with your newly reframed ones.
”I am such a failure” can be reframed as “failure is part of learning”
“It’s okay to learn, but don’t give up”
“You also over promise and under deliver” can be reframed as “maybe you need to set more realistic timelines and improve on them as you get better.”
“You are so forgetful”, can be reframed as “ I’m not forgetful, I don’t like being rushed”
Maybe you need a to-do list, set your alarm 5mins earlier, or have a final check before embarking on your journey.
“You wanted to watch one more (or even three more) episodes before you went to bed.”, can be reframed as “I need a better sleep routine.” Have you tried setting a bedtime alarm?
- Make it Visible
Changing the critical voice to a motivating one is the challenge. And you may require some professional help to get through this one. I still have a life coach, I was seeing him weekly back in 2016.
In these 1 hr sessions, I could ask any question judgement-free except one, I could not ask WHY?
All the others, What? When? Where? How come? were allowed. I sometimes left these sessions feeling like I wasn’t making much progress until I began the action phase.
As kids, we were taught to speak before learning to write. This time you need to write down what it is you want to change. Then put it on your mirror or fridge and every time you see it you have to read it aloud until you can say it with a smile. Until it becomes your truth.
- Start and then add GRIT
- Start and then add GRIT
Start a plan that you feel you can manage and then improve on it as you go. It’s like taking a road trip and knowing your destination. This destination could be a place of rest or just a feeling of happiness and accomplishment. No matter what the journey, there will be silence, laughter, love, frustration and loads of discomfort. But does that hold you back from your destination?
Sometimes, we take the wrong exit and we only realise much later that we’re going in the wrong direction. It’s at times like this that you need GRIT.
Grit is passion, Grit is perseverance, Grit is needed for long-term and meaningful goals.
When you have grit you simply make a U-turn and jump back in the car, redirect your course and get back on track.
For some, this may seem impossible, but with the right attitude you can achieve anything you want to.
You may need some motivational quotes, these are the ones that have kept me going for the past 4 years.
Nothing is obsolete.
Everything is adaptable.
Be ready to change at any time.
Transformation must be fluid, not rigid, abrasive not abusive.
Lastly, the next time you hear your inner Critic speak, listen, reframe, action!
Peace, Love and Kindness
Keep Smashing It