We’re still on Fundamental #1: Feeeeeling Good. Jeesh we could take a long time on this Fundamental. I’ll try to speed it up a bit so we get to the good bits sooner. The good news is that today I am going to give a LOT of ways that you can Tame your Inner Critic.
You might remember from Taming the Inner Critic Part 1 that I told you how the Inner Critic develops. And how it really doesn’t mean to be so mean.
And I also told you that it lives in two areas of the brain – the ones responsible for self-evaluation and self-restraint. I’m going to try to figure out why that’s important.
Ok – so the self-evaluation part is pretty obvious. That’s what the Inner Critic does – constant self-evaluation and criticism. All the strategies that I stole (and listed below) from my free E-book on the Inner Critic would be really, really helpful in dealing with the self-evaluation part. You can read those in a minute – they’re the ones that are numbered 1 to 10.
But here’s a little bonus if you’ve already read the E-book.
If the Inner Critic also has an element of self-restraint to it then maybe doing things that lift the shackles of self-restraint might help decrease the power of the Inner Critic. So I suppose it could look like this:
Inner Critic: “Don’t go to work in your pyjamas Michelle. You look foolish AND your butt looks big.”
Michelle: “Mmmmm good thinking. I’ll change into something more professional.” Self-restraint = good in this instance.
Let’s try another one.
Inner Critic: “Do NOT go to that dance class/try to play guitar/talk to that boy/wear that bikini. You’re too old/not creative/too stupid/too fat.”
Self-restraint = NOT good in this instance.
Look at all the fun things I’d miss out on. I definitely wouldn’t want to miss out on those. So saying to self-restraint for things like is definitely a good move.
And here’s a little aside for you too – the Inner Critic is switched OFF when you do something creative. Functional MRI’s show the areas in the brain that house the Inner Critic do not light up when people are creating. Ok so the only studies that I’ve read about are done on Jazz musicians who go all impromptu when they’re creating but I’m going to take a leap of faith and say that this might happen for us less professional, less talented mortals.
Jeesh – I’m going to go over my word count AGAIN! so I’m putting my 10 ways to tame your Inner Critic from my E-book in a separate post as a bonus post for this week.
Back to us mortals. You may or may not believe me but we are all creative. One of the definitions that I’ve read somewhere (and of course can’t find it now) is that creativity is bringing together objects that may or may not be related and creating something new. So all you people who cook – creative. Ever wrapped a birthday present with a bow? Creative. Ever doodled while you’re on the phone? Creative.
So as you can see there are many, many ways for us to be creative that may well turn off the Inner Critic. If you can find just one thing you can do that gets you into that creative mode then I’m guessing you will have relief from the Inner Critic for that time. This is also about finding Flow which we will get to in later posts.
I also think that the more you say no to the Inner Critic’s bid for self-restraint the less control it will have over you and the more free you will feel to do things that feel good even if you don’t do them perfectly. For example, my Inner Critic told me I couldn’t play guitar, that I was too old for dance classes and that I shouldn’t wear bikinis because my body isn’t perfect. But you know what, I love my dance classes (I am definitely not too old). I now get into a state of flow (inner critic free) when I play guitar. Ok I’m not wearing a bikini but hey! It’s winter!