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Stop Your Inner Critic Killing Your Confidence. Dr Michelle Hanisch.

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Stop Your Inner Critic Killing Your Confidence

Dr Michelle Hanisch

Dr Michelle has over 12 years experience in mental health. She writes books & programs to help people be the best they can be. Michelle has a holistic, client-centred approach to her work & believes everyone deserves to be appreciated for their uniqueness.

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Stop Your Inner Critic Killing Your Confidence

The Inner Critic

The killer of creativity

Thestalkerof self-esteem

The saboteur of spontaneity

The slayer of satisfaction...

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Stop Your Inner Critic Killing Your Confidence

How to Recognise

the Critic

You’re dressing to go out when you hear a voice:

“What....are you running away to join the circus?

You look ridiculous! You can’t go out like that.”

You might also hear: you’re too fat, too thin, too

much, not enough, needy, heartless, hopeless,

useless, too weak, too independent, deficient,

disappointing, disgusting, dysfunctional in every

way, all the time, everywhere.

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Stop Your Inner Critic Killing Your Confidence

The Critic: It whispers in your ear “you’re not good enough,

nobody will like you, and they don't approve of what you do.”

It shows up where you feel the most insecure. It raises its head

when you’re tired or feeling threatened. It says “you deserve

what’s happening to you.” It will even yell at you when things

are going well. “You won’t be able to keep this up. You don’t

deserve life to be this good.” If you dare to be creative and live

your life authentically, it will step in to judge you and what you

want to create for yourself.

The Critic can become your constant companion, making you

feel that there must be something innately wrong with you,

hurting and shaming you. It can take anything you do, or

anything you are and turn it into something terribly wrong or


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Stop Your Inner Critic Killing Your Confidence

The Critic comes from many places - friends, family,

Bosses and more. They may say things that cause you to

question or criticise yourself. And these things stay in your

mind. Of course, they most likely didn’t mean for this to

happen but that’s how sneaky The Critic is. It will make you

believe that they were right and they meant it!

Your parents may have tried to ‘fix’ you and turn you into a

decent human being by correcting your ‘problems’. And

again, The Critic will tell you that you do have ‘problems’

that need ‘fixing’ and your parents were right.

Why do I have it and where did it come from?

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Stop Your Inner Critic Killing Your Confidence

The Critic now has all the ‘evidence’ it needs to make you feel inadequate, inferior, and insufficient.

It makes you feel terrible about yourself, maybe convinces you that you’re unlovable. It’s totally definite that you’re not good enough.

You might start avoiding situations where you might be the centre of attention. You might avoid places where you might show up as your authentic self.

You might develop addictions, eating disorders, or other self-destructive habits especially if The Critic convinces you that you’re worthless and not good enough and deserve to be punished.

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Stop Your Inner Critic Killing Your Confidence

The Inner Critic was Designed to Help Me?

Believe it or not! The Critic was originally designed to help you, by helping you avoid pain and shame.

Growing up, you internalise all the criticisms and comments

(from parents, friends, teachers etc) that limit your authentic,

creative, spontaneous, wonderful self. This becomes The Critic !

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Stop Your Inner Critic Killing Your Confidence

The Critic:

Job Description

  • Store all the rules on how to be and then punish you for not following them.
  • Store voice of parents, teachers etc – anyone you want to please - so you can have a clear idea of what parents, friends etc want from you and how family, partners etc want you to be. Then you can avoid their disapproval and win love and approval through knowing what will please them.
  • Criticise all behaviour that might make you unacceptable to others (get in first before they criticise and reject you). Therefore you can earn love and approval and be protected from shame and hurt.
  • Believe all bad stuff said about you and remind you of it on regular basis so you can be liked by being better.
  • Do not allow you to make a mistake so that you can succeed. Make sure you watch every step and you’re always on alert for potential mistakes.
  • Never ever stop criticising or you may become complacent.

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Stop Your Inner Critic Killing Your Confidence

How to Stop The

Inner CriticKilling

Your Confidence

  • The first step in dealing with The Critic is to recognise it for what it is. It is an habitual voice within you, but it's not you. See if you can hear as the combined voices of all the people in your past that have criticised you or caused you to question yourself.

When I was young I heard that I wasn’t good enough and that I didn’t have what it takes to finish anything. Because my critic adopted this whole-heartedly and was very convincing on this one, this actually became the truth. I would start things and grow quickly bored while my critic had a field day. It would tell me I wasn’t good enough to finish anything. That I didn’t deserve any success a completed project, art-work, or dream would give me. So I would give up. And then it would be on my case about how useless I was for not finishing anything. It wasn’t until I finally started to become aware of my critic’s tactics that I realised this wasn’t the truth.

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Stop Your Inner Critic Killing Your Confidence

How to Stop The Inner Critic Murdering

Your Confidence

2. Keep in mind that what your critic says is not necessarily (and most likely is not) the truth. You can choose not to believe it.

3. Listen to what your critic says. You might be surprised at how repetitive it is. If you listen enough you might start getting bored with what it says. And it will, without any doubt at all, tell you something bad about yourself at every opportunity. Even with the lowest self-esteem in the world, you can’t believe that everything you do is wrong. Recognise that this is just the critic’s job and it will say the same things over and over.

4. See if you can hear particular phrases or words that came from a particular person. See if you can hear their voice when you hear those comments. When you hear the words as belonging to someone else you can see that this is where the critic took its cue from. It also puts the criticism further away you and makes it easier to disbelieve.

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Stop Your Inner Critic Killing Your Confidence

How to Stop The Inner Critic Murdering

Your Confidence

5. Listen for how your criticis trying to protect you. Somewhere in there it is trying to make sure you succeed, are protected, loved and approved of. Is there something you need to do to make your life better? Is there a skill you need to acquire? A discipline you need? Are you setting impossible standards for yourself that need to be more realistic and your criticis telling you this in a round-about way? Whose approval are you looking for? Will you ever really get that approval anyway? Is it worth sacrificing your creativity and your authenticity to get it?

6. Get a good handle on your critic so you can recognise it in action. Then when you hear it try to bring in your coach. Admit mistakes but encourage yourself to learn from them and tell yourself you’ll do better next time. Be your own cheer squad.

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Stop Your Inner Critic Killing Your Confidence

How to Stop The Inner Critic Murdering

Your Confidence

7. If your critic continually points out your weaknesses, then fool it by looking for your strengths. Tell it that while you might not be Rembrandt with your artistic abilities, you do have other things that make you worthwhile and valuable. Maybe you have great people skills. Maybe you’re a wiz in the kitchen. Maybe you have courage. Or compassion. Or common sense. Or......

8. Ask yourself “What’s the worst thing that could happen if I don't listen to the critic? Maybe there are fears of being rejected or abandoned. When the criticfirst started its job you were a child. As a child, you might not have been able to handle being rejected or abandoned. As an adult, you can. Or you can handle it a lot better. Well, you won’t die if you’re rejected as an adult. Also, a lot of the fears will be unfounded. As an adult you have the ability to question the validity of these fears and dismiss them.

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Stop Your Inner Critic Killing Your Confidence

How to Stop The Inner Critic Murdering

Your Confidence

9. Give the critic a personality. Draw it, paint it, give it the personality of a TV character. Have fun with it. Some people I know have made theirs Cruella from 101 Dalmatians or have given it a name like Bruce so they can laugh at it easier.

10. You can try acting your critic. Speak out loud what the critic would say in your head. Then play a part that would protect you from the critic. Have a big personal bodyguard that shields you from its comments or an internal coach to motivate and encourage you or ..... let your imagination run wild with who or what you would use to diffuse it.

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