Nov 112014

Can you define “Inner Critic” without using the words “inside” and “criticism“?

The Inner Critic seems to have found a place in popular culture.  Most of us ‘know it when we see it,’  (or ‘hear’ it).  When I started looking through others’ definitions, I found that most used some form of the words “inside” and “criticism.”

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I could picture many favorite English teachers giving “the look” to anyone brave or foolish enough to try to define  word by using that same word.  Hmmm… some of those faces look an awful lot like the “Inner Critic” living in my brain…. but… I wander.

I decided to try to create a definition of  the term “Inner Critic.”my own.     For now I’ve settled on this:

An “inner critic”is a misinterpretation or distortion of ordinary stimulus or data that:

  •  amplifies or exaggerates self-criticism, oops sorry about that   scrutiny of perceived flaws,
  • creates negative self-talk and
  •  interferes with the confidence needed to take action toward personal goals and desires.

Editing as I go…  working without a net… Is that better?

[Tweet “Editing as I go, working without a net….”]

On the other hand, while good definitions are scarce, a web search will offer myriad descriptions and examples of the impact an unmanaged Inner Critic can have on an individual and her (or his) goals.  More often than not, authors are offering to help readers “silence,” “destroy,” or “eradicate” their Inner Critics…  I’m not sure that’s the way to go.  In fact,  I think some of those tactics make it even stronger.

[Tweet “I’ve opted for a kinder, gentler relationship with “that voice” & my Inner Critic seems to be responding”]

I’ve opted for a kinder, gentler relationship with “that voice” and my Inner Critic seems to be responding in kind.  It seems to be morphing into a watchful friend…. and I like the way that feels.

How are you and your Inner Critic treating one another these days?

  12 Responses to “How Do You Define “Inner Critic””

  1. I love this. Especially your final paragraph.

    “I’ve opted for a kinder, gentler relationship with “that voice” and my Inner Critic seems to be responding in kind. It seems to be morphing into a watchful friend…. and I like the way that feels.”

    Great advice!!

    I like the idea of responding in kindness not in rebuke or anger.

    It’s the law of attraction at work.

    Thank you!

    I learned today!

    • When brain biology taught me that “the voice” was part of a survival/protective mechanism being harsh with it stopped making sense. Hadn’t really thought of it as part of The Law of Attraction… until your thoughtful comment. Thank you so much.

  2. We create our inner critic as a child as programming kicks in from outer sources that we take to heart. This inner critic can work for or against us according to how we relate to it. I used to listen to mine until I realized I hold the power over what I think, say and do. When the ‘voice’ chimes in, I talk to it and let it know that we can work together in harmony, or the boss, ( that would be me) will demote the voice of negativity and the volume will be turned off. Great question Andrea! xo

  3. Andrea ~ I agree. I believe that we are humans with an ego and therefore our ‘inner’ critic is going to always be there. Tame, calm down, mentor are all words that come to me when I look to shift my thoughts about my own inner-critic! Love your approach!

  4. This is a nice way to talk about ‘coaching’ yourself by creating a new metaphor for your inner critic. I love it!

  5. I love how you are rephrasing and really looking to transcend that inner critic, look beyond why it is there. If i could not use the word inner or critic I would define it like this : a harsh, unkind voice, yelling at me, making me feel like I am not good enough.
    I have rewired that voice to now being a kind, loving, nurturing, healing voice that encourages me to grow into things organically and naturally. Cheering me on to be the best version of myself. That voice let’s me know that I am enough at any given moment. Always.

  6. I love how you’re encouraging us to reframe our idea of the Inner Critic, Andrea!

    Like your other lovely readers, I’ve learned to listen to mine as a trusted advisor. Usually it tries to stop me from doing something with forecasts of doomsday scenarios, like, “You can’t do ! It will fail and you will look like a loser!”

    But when I engage it with questions like, “Well, if I were to do this, how could I get your buy-in?” Usually I get some pretty great advice about some minor modifications I can make that make things so much better — my Inner Critic is happy and I’m taking action in alignment with my dreams!

    • Thanks, Stacey. It’s a combination of a couple of things: the “old way” doesn’t work for a lot of people and writing about some of the other techniques has really re-energized my desire to share other those other options.

  7. Right on! I usually have written dialogues with my inner critic and ask it questions like: what message do you have for me? What are you trying to protect me from?
    I find that it’s usually some form of protection gone wrong, and it can be redirected.

  8. My inner critic has a name. Her name is Zilla and she’s 6 years old. Her job is to protect me from rejection and the disapproval of others. I used to ignore her and she only got worse and louder. These days, I’ve invited her to co-create with me. She likes that. And she likes that I’m writing about her and will have an article out there very soon 🙂

    • That’s wonderful, Peggy. I think you’re really on to something… of course I’ve been working on turning my course on the topic into a book for some time now. Maybe you’d consider holding that article and turning it in to a foreword? xo

Care to share? Hearing from you makes my day!

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