Your inner critic is that destructive voice (or symphony of voices!) in your head that tells you you’re not creative. Here are some of the other common phrases it comes out with:
- You’re not a REAL artist, you’re only playing around.
- Who ever told you that you had talent anyway?
- Why bother starting a new creative project when you’ll only mess it up?
- You should be doing something more worthwhile with your time.
- Creating is such a selfish act.
How many of those sound familiar?
When you listen to your inner critic and take whatever it says as the truth, it’s unlikely you'll ever get to creating anything. But you needn’t listen to it so attentively.
Here are 5 steps to silencing your inner critic that you can start using right away:
- Give your inner critic a name. All the time your inner critic is an unknown figure lurking in the shadows, it has more influence over you, and it has more power to cause you fear and inaction. So to combat this, give your inner critic a real name. You might want to call it Jeff or Bob, or Ethel, or something else.
- Picture your inner critic. Now that it has a name, take the next step and give your inner critic a personality and a visual image. So maybe yours is called Bob and looks like a middle-aged slightly overweight gentleman with trousers 3 inches too short and a vest that last fitted him properly when he was about 14. Make it a memorable and humorous visual image.
- Understand your inner critic’s motives. Your inner critic is not simply dishing out mindless verbal violence. Every negative comment you hear has a positive motivation behind it. Every comment can be traced back to your inner critic in some way trying to protect you, to keep you from being disappointed or hurt.
- Thank your inner critic for its efforts. Now that you can see why your inner critic works so tirelessly in its negative chatter, you’re in a position to embrace its kindness and thank it for its efforts in trying to keep you safe and protected. Addressing your inner critic directly will disarm it instantly.
- Create anyway! By now you’ll be seeing your inner critic in a very different light, and not as the violent, terrifying monster in the shadows it once was. So you can now say, “Thank you, dear [Bob/Ethel, etc.] for your efforts in trying to protect me. I understand why you tell me the things you do. Now I’m going to carry on and create anyway, because that’s what’s most important to me...”
Follow these 5 steps and you’ll see your inner critic very differently, as well as disarming its destructive impact on your creativity. Experiment and tweak the steps so they suit you even better, and stay vigilant!
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