Updated: Feb 12
© Copyright 2021 Artwork by Cordi Neckermann
Have you ever met your inner critic? The little voice that goes:
“Who do you think you are to try this?”
“You’ll never get there because you are not good enough?”
My inner critic always decides to come and visit at the worst possible moments. Like right now. I’m sitting here peacefully with my coffee on the couch, trying to write a helpful and inspiring blog post. Just telling a story to some friends and there he is. My little inner critic devil working his way into my thoughts with things like,
“Who cares about your story?”
“Nobody else has that problem”
Usually this stuff would stop me and I would find an excuse not to write and postpone going through with my idea. But here we are, I did write it and here you are reading it! Don’t be fooled though, as I have let many opportunities and ideas slip away before, all because the only thing I could hear was the voice of my inner critic devil. So how did things change, I hear you ask? The answer; quite quickly actually and that’s the good news.
If you feel a little stuck and wish you could do or create something, then please know that you can and that there are ways to get around that dreadful voice inside your head!
Since we are all wonderful humans with our own individual story, the specific superpower to tap into to ditch the voice of your inner critic devil might be a little different than mine. But one thing that will set you off into the right direction is the willingness to stop listening to that criticism that is forever droning on inside your head. Once that little inner critic devil has annoyed you so much that you are painfully aware of his presence, you are ready to discover your inner-critic-devil-elimination-superpowers.
Yup, I created a pretty silly long word and you should see my inner critic devil right now. His head is ready to blow off, but I think my little word creation has the potential to make you laugh, so it stays right here on the page.
So let’s deal with this little devil!
Here are my own personal three steps as to how I deal with my inner critic devil. Spoiler alert: Just ignoring him doesn’t really work, because that guy can get loud!
1. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer
I know that sounds dramatic right? But going a little over the top on the drama side always makes for a good story and that is my first ingredient to deal with my little critic friend; A good story. A good story needs a good character. so I turned my inner critic into the little devil creature which you’ve already met at the top of this page. I also named him. His name is Chuck.
I drew Chuck myself, but if you are not into drawing. you can just use the Frankenstein method and assemble your visualisation of your inner critic with a magazine cut-out or use an existing image. This step is only meant to make that voice visible. Naming him, or her, or it, is important too so you can move onto step two.
2. Have a conversation
Now that we have a character to work with, we need to change the story from interference to disappearance. Just pushing our little creature away would be rude and the result is (elieve me, I tried it!), that he, she or it comes back even louder and more annoying than ever. So, I always opt for negotiation. You can start by asking your inner critic what he, she or it wants, or why they are here. Paying attention is key.
3. Be kind
After giving Chuck the floor to express his concerns, I then explain what I’m trying to do and that the criticism that I’m receiving from him is of no help at all and it would be great if he could leave me alone so I can get on with things.
To tell you the truth, I don’t really know if Chuck listens, but I assumed he has a sweet tooth like me, so I always offer him a little sweet treat with my explanation. After that, I’m usually free to write, draw, create and do whatever I had planned to do, without any inner critic devil talk. I’m basically handed over to the creativity fairy after acknowledging my inner critic devil.
All the conversation obviously happen internally, but it really helps to go through the steps. I tried short cuts like just ripping up the drawing that I made of my inner critic devil,but it didn’t really work. Instead, drawing a piece of candy or cake in the corner of my sketchbook usually does the trick!
Now criticism isn’t always bad. In fact, constructive criticism is probably the best help we can get in any endeavour. But it has to be constructive. It has to actually be of help in moving forward and getting better at whatever it is you are already doing. I realised that dealing better with my inner critic made me more receptive to outer criticism. It helped me to really listen and separate the helpful from the not-so-helpful advice. What I’m trying to say is, don’t dismiss all criticism just because you know how to deal with your own inner critic. Listening always comes first and usually when I think “Oh dear, I’ve heard this a million times, I get it” there is always something new to pick up and digest.
Now talking about learning something new.... have you ever tried Bollywood dance fitness? Sounds crazy? Maybe, but it is soooooo much fun and a total workout.
Ditch your inner critic and come dance with me!
See you soon,