Who does that inner critic voice belong to?

We all have one. The inner demon, inner critic, inner bitch, the devil on your shoulder, whatever we call them, is it possible to identify who they really are and fight back?

Most if not all of our low self esteem and confidence comes from within. It’s us telling us that we’re not good enough, we’re not clever enough, we’re not pretty enough. My go to line is definitely “I’m not good enough”. It swallows me up at the most inconvenient of moments sometimes. When we had the business I was invited to speak at the City’s annual business conference by a gentleman I’d met a couple of times prior. My immediate reaction was to politely decline with my inner critic there to back me up on my decision. With a come back request from the host and a explanation of what would be expected, I replied with an acceptance. I replied, not my inner critic.

For weeks we had battles. Who do you think you are? Why on Earth is anyone interested in what you’ve got to say about what you’ve done? Who is going to care? I honestly can’t tell you how many times I’ve had these battles within my own mind but always make sure I bloody win! I’m not a competitive person at all but for someone who hates bullies, as I’m sure we all do, that voice is a bully that I want to put in her place. By refusing to listen and pushing myself to do the things I know deep down I want to do, (even if it scares the shit out of me), I can beat her and that feels far better than agreement.

Of course there are moments where she’s there genuinely. Like being at the top of a really cliff and she’s telling me to stay away from the edge and not to be a fool trying to get a great Insta picture! Just like in life, it becomes easy to differentiate the genuine from the fake.

So who is that bully or where the hell does she come from?

This inner voice, our limiting beliefs, is generated from childhood. It is a script formed before we reach the age of 7. It takes just four moments to build the legs that solidly hold that table top in place well into our adult lives’.

If you accept a limiting belief then it will become a truth for you.

Louise Hay

The feelings these thoughts create are generally around fear and doubt. They hold us back from doing what our intuition is trying to tell us to do. Our emotions can only come from thought. Think about it, if someones drives out on you at a junction you can say to yourself “What an absolute t**t, ruined my day, now I’m well angry!” or you could say “That was close” and move on. Our thoughts about situations dictate our emotions and feelings.

As children we build this script and these thoughts ready to take with us through life. It can start with anything, usually comparison or a passing comment from the adults around us. You could love to draw and paint but you tell yourself you’re not good enough to ever make a living out of it even if your friends and family disagree with you.

Moment 1; At nursery you paint a picture and the teacher says ‘What a lovely tree!’ and you think to yourself, hmmm that’s a picture of Mum.

Moment 2; You’re painting at home with friends and you spill paint over the table and the floor and your parents go mad.

Moment 3; You make a card with some of your artwork on the front and give to a friend for their birthday and it’s immediately disregarded and put on the pile with all the others.

Moment 4; A friend asks you to come play out but you decline and they mock you for wanting to paint instead

At that moment, enjoying art becomes something you forget and your adult self tells you it’s because you’re not good enough. Why? Because as a child you found a way to protect yourself from the pain and upset it was causing you. Your inner voice is your childhood self simply protecting you from what it believes is hurtful. Our little selves were stronger than we’ll ever know. They protected in ways we don’t see as adults. The trouble with this is our little selves have set a script that no longer serves us in our adult lives’. By continuing to tell us that we’re not good enough or we’ll never amount to anything they believe they are keeping us from hurt but in fact they are keeping us from growing.

So how do we rewrite our script for our adult selves?

We change the internal chat to something we do want it to say. I am good enough, I do know what I’m doing, I do deserve to be here, I have helped people. And we repeat. We repeat until it becomes the new familiar. Neuroscience research has proven it is possible to build new pathways. It is possible to build new ways of thinking. So now you know it’s possible and you know who that voice is, what will you change your script to?