Shut up Your Inner Critic

There is the old cliché “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”.   Oh, I am not saying I am anywhere near being an old dog, but starting new habits/behaviors is not easy.   And I find that I am my own worst saboteur when it comes to starting something new!   My own inner voice often prevents me from starting or continuing things.

A tool I learned from The Artist Way (Julia Cameron) to help with these self-limiting beliefs voiced inside your own head is one I call it Turn off the Inner Critic.

Paraphrasing her tool, first you create an affirmation of your new behavior, in present tense and positive language. “I am a creative artist.” “I am being active everyday.” “I am enjoying being a beginner.”

Then write it down 10 times, and each time, allow your inner critic voice to respond.  Get that voice out in the open.  Allow the “buts” to be said.   My inner critic said things like “you’ll never be good enough, why start”, “hah, really? why are you wasting your time doing that?”, “but you’ve never been an active person before”, and “who do you think you are?”

Then, just sit back and recognize the lack of reality in so many of those statements.  Think about times when those “buts” were not true.  Realize you would never say some of those things to your best friend!

Then acknowledge the comments and put them aside.  “Thank you for your opinion.  I don’t believe you.  I believe in myself.”  And restate the affirmation.

Sounds a bit weird, but often the inner critic shuts us down without us realizing it.  This has allowed me to make that voice heard and then discounted.     I continue to state my affirmations every morning and the inner critic voice has gotten a lot less vocal!    I am trusting my creativity more – I call it being joyfully creative!   I am working on new skills, learning new things.   And, surprisingly, I am definitely being more active.

What is your inner critic saying about your habit changes?

 

Picture Credit: Pixabay

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10 thoughts on “Shut up Your Inner Critic

  1. Pat, Great post! Our self-imposed limitations often keep us from trying new things. When that little inner voice starts whispering to me, I just shove it back in its hole and forge ahead. One of the benefits of aging – we tend to listen to it less or not at all. K

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  2. Learning new skills and taking up new activities is a big part of the fun of FIRE. Glad you are finding ways to open yourself up to starting new things. FIRE should be like a second childhood – many kids are great about jumping into the unknown! 🙂

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    1. If we can forget our adult fear of failure and go back to childlike curiosity….ideal! I did that today with cooking class. My heart was racing in fear as I picked up the knife….today was butchering skills – All hands on. But I did it! It was OK to be a beginner! I think each time you do something like that, it gets easier to try the next thing.

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  3. I love your post:)) I am an “aging teenager”.. My attitude is stay positive. I always go with my gut (that inner voice). I also chose the word “improve” over “change”. I treat myself the way I would treat my best friend:))

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    1. I went to a cooking class today at the Midwest Cullinary Institute (big time) and the whole way there I kept saying….just have fun, it’s okay to be a beginner. Telling off my inner critic! Then I was the first one called on to introduce myself. I haven’t cooked (except Thanksgiving dinner) in 15 years, so I started with ” hi, I’m Pat and I’ve burned water in the past.” Everyone laughed and in fact opened up about their mishaps…and 3 other total beginners in class as well. The Chef was super nice and totally helpful with us beginners! The inner critic be damned.

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