Talking to your inner critic, can it be tamed?
Do you have an inner critic ? Have you ever tried to talk to your inner critic. This is what happened when I tried. In my Be yourself thread people asked about how I interviewed my inner critic. So here it is.
This is adapted from a writing exercise to interview your inner critic about one's writing. As my inner critic has an opinion all aspects of my life I decided to broaden the scope of the interview.
Me: I welcome (well I don't really) this opportunity to
find out why you always need to have an opinion that is always negative about
me and my life.
IC: I thought this was going to be a friendly interchange of ideas but there you go with your anger and hostile remarks. I do not see myself as negative but as helping you, because you do need help.
I am here to help you why can't you see that?
Me: So when I am trying to sleep and you tell me about all my mistakes, embarrassing moments, how does that help me?
IC: I thought while you are in bed you would have time to consider some of your past behaviours. This I feel will only help you to improve.
Me: If you are so helpful why do I feel so worthless, so sad, so ignorant when you are around? Do you really know how low I can feel when you are constantly telling me all my faults?
IC: You make yourself feel that way- I am merely pointing out the truth. It is not my problem that you are so weak.
Me: Maybe this was a bad idea you are never going to listen to me or understand me.
IC: Have you ever thought that maybe you shouldn't listen to me if I upset you so much.
Me How can I ignore you when you are so loud at times.
IC: See this is what I mean you are so weak. You have the power to ignore me, to silence me but all you do is whinge and complain.
Me: I am ending this interview. Enough is enough.
What would you say to your inner critic and what do you want to hear from your inner critic? Maybe you can have a go at interviewing your inner critic.
Hi Quirky and everyone,
Mrs D you picked a good positive for yourself in hope. I think you have a gift for encouraging others to find and see hope where they may not have before.
Once I called myself a tough old boot and someone gave me the gift of correcting me. Called me a vibrant young slipper. I loved this compliment. Often I feel very very old and tired thanks to my autoimmune arthritis and it gets me down further to feel so run down at 32. Combine that with people thinking I'm older than I am and it isn't a nice feeling. So for someone to see me as young and alive felt really lovely. Noone had ever told me that before.
For some of us, it seems only natural to think no one can see any good in us, while it may well be us ourselves telling lies in our minds that we are not good enough.
It can be hard to accept a compliment as being reality, so it is wonderful when we can recognise truth in another person's words and take them on-board as affirmation, confirmation and validation that we are actually okay and worth while.
In encouraging others, I am also encouraging myself and reminding myself that I can keep working at being the person I desire to be. I do not need to allow my depression and mental illness issues take over who I am and who I want to be.
Our inner critics can be so very harsh! We need to be aware that our minds don't always tell us the truth!
Wishing you all the strength to conquer your minds and realise how very special you are!
Cheers from Dools
I like your comment that by encouraging others you are encouraging yourself and that you can keep trying to be the person you want to be.
That is so helpful and positive. I will try to remember that instead of putting myself down for helping others and not myself.
Hello Quirky and Mrs D and everyone contributing and reading.
Hmm ok Mrs D you have sound advice so as my inner critic is on a rampage I am going to try use your advice on encouraging others in a slightly different way....
If I was writing to another member the things you are telling me I would discredit as wrong.
I would tell them the following...
My critic says I am stupid.
You're not. You are committed to your children's education. That is a smart choice.
My critic says I am only worth the jobs noone else is willing to do.
You work hard. How is that not an admirable thing? You're flexible and resilient. You felt upset at the school because you don't speak the language and then came back later with a new approach (to do the jobs that don't need language) and kept trying. Good for you. Tell the critic to stick it. Keep doing what you're doing.
My critic says my kids are ashamed and embarrassed of me.
Kids are and always will be embarressed by their parents. And then one day they are adults themselves and they see how much it sucks to have to swallow your pride and do what you can to help your kids. One day they will see you gave your time for them. Until then just do what you do with a smile and look forward to their 21st birthdays and all the embarressing things you get to do on purpose out of love.
Huh. Well no surprise Mrs D. That helped. Thank you.
Nat 1.... Inner Critic Zero!
Hey Quirky and those reading;
I haven't read the past 166 posts so I don't know if I'm reiterating what's already been said. Please forgive me if this is the case ok.
I don't know if this comes under the 'inner critic' category, but there's a difference in my body and mind when I catch myself having a conversation with someone in my head, as opposed to using 'first person' words.
For example; I'll be talking to my ex in my head with a vision of him in my mind's eye. I can get really carried away doing this, and in fact, it contributed to my breakdown. I might say to him; "You're a bastard and should've been more sensitive"
I've taught myself to say "Stop!" out loud, open my eyes or shake my head as if to say, "Nope, not going there anymore" when it occurs. If I'm right into the topic, I'll say instead, "I think he's an insensitive bastard and isn't worth my time."
What this does, is change focus from him to me, and keeps words in the present moment. My brain responds in kind; no pressure from the 'argumentative' type of thinking.
I hope this makes sense, as it's eased some of the adrenaline output from what it used to be. Getting into arguments about upsetting issues with imaginary people/situations really got my guts stirring. (A type of ruminating)
I'm more calm and don't have to dwell on the past. It's over and my word is the only thing that counts anymore.
Geez, I really hope others can identify with this as I'm going to feel really stupid if they don't. lol
Hi Nat and Everyone,
Hey Nat. That is great! A very good use of a technique you/we can use to turn things around for the positive!
Sometimes I surprise myself with the information and ideas I have in my mind! Ha. Ha. I too need to implement them!
Yesterday I had a wave of depression come over me for no apparent reason. I literally stood still to consider which way I wanted my mood and my thoughts to travel! With some hard work I was able to stop my mind from telling me all kinds of lies once it had my attention.
I even tried to think of a song to sing and could only come up with Old McDonalds Farm!
During the day I needed to remind myself I could change my thoughts before they started to really spiral.
We all need to know what works for us!
By the way, I think it is amazing what most parents do for their children! Good on you for stepping out of your comfort zone to help your children make the most of their lives. I know that as a child, I had no idea of the sacrifices my parents were making for me!
Those jobs you do while thinking that is all you are good for, good on you for doing them and for working to help make the rest of the world run better!
Where would we be if no one cleaned the public toilets? If no-one collected the garbage? If people didn't clean up after us in cafes and restaurants? (I'm not saying these are lowly jobs, they are jobs that need to be done by someone, we can't all be rocket scientists)
Huge cheers to you Nat from Mrs. D
Hi Quirky, Sez and All,
It is wonderful when something finally clicks in our minds and is helpful!
Sez, I liked your example of how you tame your mind and control your thinking, changing what can be a hurtful negative into something more realistic and manageable.
No one here ever has to feel stupid about anything they suggest as an idea, we never know how much our suggestions can help someone else. Your words and explanation make perfect sense to me.
I just need to put all of these tools into practise! Thanks for sharing Sez!
Cheers to you all from Dools
Hello everyone reading this thread,
welcome. Your ideas are always thought provoking and reveal many insights fro your won life I can use in my life.
I can really relate to the distinction between conversations in one's head and using the first person.
That was a useful example.
I find it my inner critic, it tells me I have messed up and am upsetting people etc. Through this thread I have started to question my inner critic and reply to it as if it was attacking my friend. I would not let a friend be spoken to like that.
I find your technique useful too and will try it.
your words always help me. I get waves of depression and find it hard to stop but I try and sometimes can move on. Thanks for sharing that.