Almost all of us have an inner critic—or inner critics, says Stacey Sargent, a professional coach and speaker.
Who is your inner critic? During a recent webinar sponsored by the Association of Women in Communications, Sargent identified five possibilities.
- The perfectionist critic, who finds fault in everything you do.
- The do-it-all driver. This critic is the one who tells you that you’re supposed to do all 42 items on your to-do list.
- The fake and fraud critic, who constantly says that you’re not good enough and everyone is going to find out when you screw up.
- The pleaser critic, who keeps reminding you about everything you need to do so that everyone will like you.
- The comparer, who always tells you that someone else is better than you are.
How can you quiet your critical voice? Sargent has some suggestions that we think are especially interesting.
- Be aware. Identify your critic. What is the history of this negative voice? Is what this critic is saying still relevant to you today?
- Take a break when your critic makes you feel angry or anxious. When your critic urges you to respond emotionally, you can’t act rationally.
- Nurture a positive inner voice. Most people have a strong inner voice that’s critical. Sargent emphasizes that we all need to develop another inner voice—a strong inner voice that is positive. Remind yourself of your strengths and successes.