We’ve all got one…. An Inner Critic. That little voice in our heads that is really, really, really mean sometimes. It might get louder during periods of stress, disappointment, personal failure, or when we are down. It’s there, judging, comparing, assessing every little aspect of our experience. The consequence of believing our inner critic is often worse mood and a narrowing of behaviours that would make us feel better (i.e., feeling stuck).
Getting to know your inner critic dialogue is one of the most important things we can do in order to reclaim our power over it. Asking ourselves: When does it get louder?
What are it’s top 5 favourite critical statements? Does it like to tell us that we are failures, that our relationships are troubled, or that our future is doomed?
The fact is that we all have an inner critic. IT IS NORMAL. But how we relate to our inner critic- or how much we believe what it tells us – will be a big factor in determining the status of our mental health and well-being.
To begin to track down the inner critic dialogue, we notice when we’ve been triggered and go write it down. The first exercise I give my clients in my practice is a worksheet with the headings Situation, Feelings, and Thoughts.
Ok so step one is to become familiar with inner critic dialogue… Step 2 involves applying CBT techniques to begin to challenge the truth and helpfulness of believing these self-critical statements (stay tuned for future posts on these techniques!).
Check out the Resources Section for the Thought and Mood Tracking Form if you want to try to catch some of your own inner critic dialogue. Happy Inner Critic hunting!