This article is part of the series mental barriers and behaviors that are getting in the way of positive change.
Negative self-talk. It’s real. Everybody deals with it.
Even those people that we see as having their “shit together”.
I asked this question to various professionals, psychologists, counselors, and designers…
”When your inner critic is at it’s worst, what does it say to you?”
Various professionals ages 30-52 years old answered. Here’s what they said.
“You can’t do anything right”
“What did I fuck up this time?”
“You made a mistake? How could you be so stupid?”
“Why do I have to mess up ALL THE TIME?”
“The harder you try, the worse it gets.”
“Just give up.”
“You don’t deserve success”
“If you speak your mind, they’ll think you’re a bitch.”
“If you approach your boss and request help, you’ll lose your job.”
“Success is for people with talent, not you.”
“You aren’t meant to win and succeed.”
“You’re not good enough to chase your dreams. That’s for other people.”
“Do you really think people are going to pay out of pocket to see you when they could go see someone else? What makes you think that anyone would want to do that?”
“You aren’t talented enough to shoulder with professionals.”
“It’s better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and prove it.”
“Make sure you know what you’re talking about before you open your mouth.”
“You know you’re going to screw this up, right?”
“You’re a fraud”
“Who the hell do you think you are?”
“Nobody fucking cares what you have to say!”
“If you display your art, people will laugh at you.”
“You’re not original.”
“People can see through you.”
“You don’t try hard enough”
“What you’re doing isn’t good enough. You can try harder but you refuse to.”
“Suck it up and stop bitching!”
“Good moms don’t get frustrated this easily.”
“You can always do more. Don’t be lazy; fit one more task in.”
“Have you done enough to justify sitting on your ass like this?
You are not alone.
Where does the inner critic come from?
- Past mistakes
- Embarrassing experiences
- Childhood experiences like school
What can you do about it?
- Don’t try and fight it, instead get curious about it.
- Challenge the self-talk. “How do I know it’s true”. “Where have their been exceptions?”
- Don’t take yourself too seriously. Most of the time our self-talk is blowing things out of proportion. It’s rarely as big of a deal as our mind tells us it is.
- Recognize the voice. Is it mom? Dad? That’s not yours. Remember, they have negative self talk too. And parents of their own.
We’re all human beings. Nobody is outside the process of being human, screwing up, not being perfect. Don’t let your negative self-talk convince you’re alone.
Peace to you! And your inner critic!
About the Author
John Harrison is a licensed health counselor and coach. He works with individuals and couples to help them get unstuck. He helps empower them in getting what they want out of life and assists struggling souls done tolerating their old ways of navigating their world.