How to boost your confidence by working with your inner critic
The critical inner voice, inner critic, inner chimp, monkey, bully…many guises, many different names. It manifests as nagging, negative thoughts, self-talk such as self blaming, shaming and character assassination. This can often be the route of a lot of our self-destructive behaviour. Experienced as thoughts within your head, this stream of destructive thoughts forms a negative inner world that discourages individuals from acting in their best interest or realising their full potential.
The inner critic inside our heads can sabotage situations, our enjoyment and stop us from doing what we want to do – it can stop us from moving forward. It affects our confidence and our self-esteem, it can make us feel low about ourselves. One of the benefits of naming it or giving it an identity, is to help us detach from and isolate that harsh voice in order to work with it and move to a more positive, encouraging inner world, where we are operating from a confident, more resilient place.
I’ve worked with clients where that aggressive voice is there every now and then, and for others, it’s a constant struggle. It’s affected exam, job interview performance, presentations, meetings, relationships, social interactions, and that wonderful mindful golden nugget – our ability to enjoy the present moment.
One of the ways that we can deal with this ‘voice’ is to cultivate our positive inner voice, our own ‘inner coach’, so that we become our own best friend rather than our worst enemy. Think back to a recent situation where things weren’t going so smoothly, where you might once have started to say unhelpful things to yourself like a distressed child shouting. Were you beating yourself up? If so, would you allow your best friend to speak about herself in that way? Would you offer reassurance and kindness?
It’s the same with the inner critic. So let’s offer it some compassion. Fighting fire with fire never works, you cannot manage the negative inner critic by using another negative emotion like anger, frustration or aggression. When we battle with it, it becomes more entrenched. Allow yourself to look at its narrative (thoughts) from a different perspective. Engage with the inner critic with compassion, use your positive inner voice to reassure it. Notice how loving the inner voice is. You may notice a sense of calm kindness, a sense of empowerment, a strong confident feeling. The inner voice is taking charge. That’s powerful! Positive, balanced statements like, ‘Things may be difficult sometimes, but I can only do my best and l can deal with whatever happens’, can help. If you find you don’t quite connect with this technique, some people also find this technique useful, and quick:
Stop (The thought)
Cultivating a strong inner voice takes practice, persistence is key. Do not expect instant results, that is the failing of many people. If you practice this daily, you should expect to see positive, subtle results within a week. We can’t notice that inner critic and respond to it all of the time, do it when you can, especially in those situations where you notice that time and time again, it dominates. Acknowledge the change and the feeling of confidence that it brings.
Following an extensive review of the existing literature on hypnotherapy, the British Medical Association concluded that hypnotherapy was not only effective but may be ‘the treatment of choice’ in dealing with anxiety (‘psychoneurosis’) and stress-related (‘psycho-somatic’) disorders.
I have ten years of experience in coaching and Clinical Hypnotherapy; with a lifelong interest in mindfulness, neuroscience and extensive corporate experience. Cultivating curiosity and compassion over the years has helped me hone my approach and informs my work – with everyone from professionals suffering stress and a fear of public speaking, to world-class actors and musicians looking to improve their performance. I’m humbled by the courage, strength and transformations it’s been my privilege to witness. Read about the sessions, recent testimonials and keep up to date with recent blog posts here.