Is Your Inner Critic Destroying Your Success?
Are you limiting your performance because of negative self-talk? How does my self-talk restrict me? If it’s that important, how can you change your negative talk to positive self-talk? I’ll tell you how I learned some answers to those questions.
My birthday comes at the end of the year, so I was eligible to go to kindergarten when I was four years old. My mom was a stay at home mom at this time of my life, and I had no other siblings or cousins. So, I was not used to playing with other kids. You might even say I was, well, spoiled. Most of my life was being around, mostly adults.
I can remember not being very excited about the thought of kindergarten. I was very comfortable doing my own “thing.” When the first day of school came, I got up early that morning, and I put on the new dress my grandmother had made for me for this special day. My mother walked with me into the big strange building and into my new classroom.
My new teacher, Mrs. Pearce, greeted us at the door and did an excellent job of welcoming me, but I was unsure about this new adventure. With some coaxing, I agreed to stay that day and try out this new routine.
It seemed like it was one of the very longest day ever. Finally, class was over, and my mother was there to meet to accompany me home. The problem is that the next day (and the next few days, I did not want to return to class again.) Finally, I was able to overcome my negative attitude about my kindergarten trauma.
My attitude has evolved and my love for learning and education has been much more positive for me.
“The loudest voice we hear is our own. “~ Keith D. Harrell
We Have A Choice to Be Negative or Positive
I learned some important lessons from those days-one very big lesson from that time of a little girl in kindergarten. Today, I understand that my mother and my teacher’s positive input replaced the negative thoughts and self-doubts of my first experience with school. I learned that my attitudes and beliefs are influenced so much by what people say.
As I look back, I realize that we can be programmed to be positive or negative right then. We are only as productive as the internal information we feed our minds on a moment-by-moment basis.
We all face challenges every day-in just handling the everyday pressures of life. Hundreds of different situations program us each day, and most have the potential to be either negative or positive.
Silence That Negative Inner Critic
There is a voice inside our head that tells us when we do something wrong. It acts as a filter of sorts and is needed to help us survive. It alerts us when we are running late and tells us to get to work and stop slacking off. But, sometimes it can be too harsh for our well-being.
When this happens, it’s time to fight our inner critic. We need to take it down a notch or two. We don’t want to silence that critic completely, but we want to teach it some balance. After all, we can’t be wrong 100% of the time.
Why do we have this inner voice that is so overly critical? The short answer is that it is a protection mechanism to help guide us through our journey in life. Sometimes it shouts at us to let us know we are in danger. Other times, it can let us know what we should say or not say in social situations.
This inner critic has also lived a lifetime of negativity. It sees us watching the news or listens in on the conversations we have with others. This constant barrage of negativity has helped it build into the cynic that it currently is.
Our inner critic also has our parents and childhood teachers on its side. After all, we spent our entire childhood listening to these authorities telling us what we are not allowed to do. This inner critic scooped up that information and reinforced it for years.
Override Past Programming
Dr. Shad Helmstertter, author of What to Say When You Talk To Yourself, defines our self-talk as “a way to override our past negative programming by erasing or replacing it with conscious positive new directions.”
It’s time to temper that inner critic. It has gone on for too long with unchecked power. It won’t be easy since it has had control of you all your life. But, you can take some steps to curb its impact.
It would help if we consistently start using positive affirmations daily. But, we could get away with weekly if that’s all the time we have. Only we need to be prepared for resistance from our inner critic. Our inner critic may not have been talked back to for years. It usually has the run of things, so be aware of that.
It’s time we start paying attention to the messages our inner critic is giving us or even jot them down on a piece of paper. We should evaluate those messages frequently and decide if it is giving us the right advice. Many times we will find that often it isn’t. When we make this discovery, it’s time for us to make some changes.
I am Shirley Noah, author and an internationally known stress expert and entrepreneur. I would love to connect further with you to help you improve your health and well-being. If you are interested in learning more about your self-talk, please take a look at my popular E-course, Optimize Your Self-Talk.