Neutralise your inner critic and self doubter

May 10, 2016
inner critic

inner critic

This post is part of a 14 ways to help rebuild self-confidence series.  We are working our way through the letters of SELF CONFIDENCE with this week’s focus being on the N in Confidence.  Previously covered are Self Compassion & Self Care, 10 Ways to Enjoy your Life, Learning, Love & Laughter, Finding your passion & your happy place, Clear your schedule of activities that don’t serve you, and Open-Minded – The way to go and the way to grow!


There is something that can stall your productivity, freeze your creativity, affect your self-confidence and self-esteem, and keep you from achieving goals and the success that you dream of.  This something is your INNER CRITIC. 

Jay Earley, PhD and Bonnie Weiss, LCSW of IFS Growth Programs did a study and found that there are 8 types of Inner Critics that people can be troubled by.  These 8 are as follows:

  1. Perfectionist – This critic tries to get you to do things perfectly.  It sets high standards for the things you produce and has difficulty in saying something is complete and letting it go out to represent your best work.  It tries to make sure that you fit in and that you will not be judged or rejected.  Its expectations probably reflect those of people who have been important to you in the past.
  2. Guilt-Tripper – This critic is stuck in the past.  It is unable to forgive you for wrongs you have done or people you have hurt.  It is concerned about relationships and hold you to standards of behavior prescribed by your community, culture and family.  It tries to protect you from repeating past mistakes by making sure you never forget or feel free.
  3. Undermine – This critic tries to undermine your self-confidence and self-esteem so you won’t take risks.  It makes direct attacks on your self-worth so that you will stay small and not take chances where you could be hurt or rejected.  It is afraid of your being too big or too visible and not being able to tolerate judgment or failure.
  4. Destroyer – It makes pervasive attacks on your fundamental self-worth.  It shames you and makes you feel inherently flawed and not entitled to basic understanding or respect. This most debilitating critic, comes from early life deprivation or trauma.  It is motivated by a belief that it is safer not to exist.
  5. Conformist – This critic tries to get you to fit into a certain mold based on standards held by society, your culture or your family.  It wants you to be liked and admired and to protect you from being abandoned, shamed or rejected.  The Conformist fears that the Rebel or the Free Spirit in you would act in ways that are unacceptable. So it keeps you from being in touch with and expressing your true nature.
  6. Taskmaster – This critic wants you to work hard and be successful.  It fears that you may be mediocre or lazy and will be judged a failure if it does not push you to keep going.  Its pushing often activates a procrastinator or a rebel that fights against its harsh dictates.
  7. Inner Controller – This critic tries to control your impulses: eating, drinking, sexual activity, etc.  It is polarized with an Indulger – addict who it fears can get out of control at any moment.  It tends to be harsh and shaming in an effort to protect you from yourself.  It is motivated to try to make you a good person who is accepted and functions well in society.
  8. Self Doubter – This critic doubts your ideas, decisions, and abilities.  This makes it hard to move forward with your life.  It is afraid that you will make a bad decision or fail at something.

You know what . . . EVERYONE has an inner critic of some kind.  Yes everyone!  It’s just that some people are better at managing theirs than others.  Which one/s above do you recognise in yourself?  For me, I recognise within myself number’s 1, 3, 6 and 8.  There is also a little bit of No. 5 but much less these days then there used to be.  The biggest ones for me though would have to be the Underminer and Self-Doubter.  They say things to me like:

  • “Oh as if you could really do that!  You’re not really good at anything you know!”
  • “You really do not have enough talent.”
  • “You’re no good at selling yourself!  Why are you bothering?  You are out of your league!”
  • “Forget it!  There’s a heap of other people out there doing it so much better.”
  • “You’re crap at being a business person.”
  • “Oh really?  You really think you can be successful at that?  Oh my God – as if?!
  • “You’re too old.  They’re laughing at you.”
  • “Oh no don’t do that, you’ll only embarass yourself!”

Nasty!  Would you talk to your friends like that?  I know I wouldn’t!!  So why do we think it’s ok to talk like that to ourselves?

My top 6 tips for neutralising your inner critic/s would be as follows:

  1. Accept that you have an inner critic (or two or three!).  You are not weird or defective.  Everyone has one or two of them!
  2. Don’t let what your Inner Critic/s says to you hold much value.  Laugh it off.   Some things you could say to it (or them) are:  “Your judgements and opinions really don’t mean much to me you know!” or “Interesting point of view. Thanks for that!” or “So what if you think that. That doesn’t mean it’s true.”  Do not take it to heart, let it change your intended direction, or get you down or beating up on yourself.
  3. Examine the evidence of what your inner critic/s is saying to you.  Learn to recognize when your critical thoughts are exaggeratedly negative.  Write a list of what supports this statement and what does not.  Looking at evidence on both sides of the argument can help you look at the situation more rationally and less emotionally.
  4. Replace overly critical thoughts with more accurate statements. Convert an overly pessimistic thought to a more rational and realistic statement.  For example, if you find yourself thinking “I never do anything right,” replace it with something like “Sometimes I do things really well and sometimes I don’t.”
  5. Think of how you would advise a friend.  If a friend expressed feelings of self-doubt, you wouldn’t say, “You can’t ever do anything right,” or “You’re so stupid. No one likes you.”  See the benefit in thinking of how you would advise a friend?  Do the same for yourself!!
  6. Be your own advocate – support and encourage yourself in the face of Inner Critic attacks!

…and if all else fails…

Tell the negative committee that meets inside your head to sit down and shut up!
                                                                                                                      (Ann Bradford)

Ciao for now,


Linking up with Essentially Jess for #IBOT

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  • Reply Renee Wilson May 10, 2016 at 2:24 pm

    Great advice, Min. I relate to 1,2,3,6 and 8. It’s good to know that most people have an inner critic of some sort and it’s not just me!

    • Reply Min May 10, 2016 at 9:41 pm

      Thanks Renee! I’m so glad I’m not the only one who has multiple inner critics! lol Actually – it’s really quite normal! It’s just that as individuals we think we are the only ones. Not the case at all – we just need to tame the beasts! 😉 xo

  • Reply Natalie @ our parallel connection May 10, 2016 at 7:52 pm

    What a powerful post Min. I hear myself say ” you are way out of your league” when it comes to business yet when I was younger I would t have listened.. Ever. You have given my lots to think about #teamIBOT

    • Reply Min May 10, 2016 at 9:43 pm

      Thank you Natalie! Ahhh – “you’re way out of your league”. Do we have the same inner critic voice coz that sounds very familiar to me?!! You know what – even really successful business people have had an inner critic saying that exact same thing. They choose to ignore it, believe in themselves, and keep moving forward. That’s the key – taming those inner critic beasts and learning to not listen to them or let them take you off course! 🙂 xo

  • Reply EssentiallyJess May 10, 2016 at 9:49 pm

    I have quite a few that seem to tag team and make life interesting.
    I find most of the time inner critics lie. They need a good solid dose of truth and they crumble pretty quickly.

    • Reply Min May 10, 2016 at 10:19 pm

      Love that tag team description Jess! I have a tag team situation also. Yes those inner critics do tend to lie and over exaggerate majorly on the negative side! I agree that it’s a matter of looking subjectively at what the critic is saying and examining the evidence to reveal the truth! Easier said then done sometimes! 😉 xo

  • Reply Kirsty @ My Home Truths May 10, 2016 at 9:57 pm

    I love this post Min! I’m definitely a perfectionist and am currently grappling with my inner critic when it comes to the completion of my ebook. I need it to be finished but I’m having trouble letting it go because it’s not perfect (although it never will be!) I love your tips for silencing it’s message – will be trying them out over the next few weeks to see if that helps get me across the finish line.

    • Reply Min May 10, 2016 at 10:21 pm

      Thank you Kirsty! I can relate to your reluctance to let go of your eBook. I am a perfectionist too and I can keep on perfecting and perfecting and perfecting until I exhaust myself. Good luck with your eBook. I am sure it will be fantastic! 🙂 xo

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