We’ve all experienced bullying in our lives, whether it be personally or vicariously. Subjects of bullies are targeted and taunted, which could potentially leave them feeling insecure and vulnerable. The next thing you know the bully gets off feeling powerful and in control. But what happens when the bully is no longer in gym class with us, and becomes a part of our inner world?
The inner critic can take many forms but remains consistent in negative tone. Anything you do can be called into question as your inner critic reviews your life with a fine-tooth comb, pointing out any and all missteps while suggesting possible landslides in the future. The question holds fast: who invited this bully to the table?
Let’s show them the door... here is how.
1) Get to the root of the problem.
Facing our demons can be a drag, whether in person or really IN person (internally). However, sometimes we have to take a stand.
Ask yourself: When did your inner critic first show up? In what situations do they pop up for a visit? This might take some reflection, but when you find the answer you will see the light at the end of the tunnel.
As we know, bullies usually bully because they have been hurt themselves, but in this case, the inner critic is a product of our consciousness. And as much as they cause unpleasant feelings, they may need a little LOVE themselves.
How did they get so rough around the edges? Sometimes our inner critic is actually trying to protect us by preventing us from being vulnerable. However, vulnerability is key to living fully, and they may not realize that. So you can tell them if you want.
2) Make room at the table for some friendly faces.
Support systems are so important both internally and externally. Surround yourself with people who BUILD YOU UP. Notice how you feel when people put you down (even jokingly) because “What if there is an ounce of truth in that joke?” (hint, hint— that’s the inner critic talking). Notice if your friends are also friends with your inner critic. Sometimes when people are insecure they point out your flaws in a silly way, and guess who gets the biggest kick out of that? Yep, it’s that inner critic again.
So if you have a kick-butt support team, your inner critic starts feeling really unpopular and like they do not fit in (a bully’s worst nightmare).
This concept can also be applied internally. Where are the parts of yourself who say: “You can do this!” “You look gorgeous today!” “You totally aced that client call!” “Why don’t you get a good night’s sleep, so that you have a refreshing start to your day?” “It’s okay that you had a bad day, feelings are temporary!”? Find those inner parts and CHOOSE to spend more time hearing their encouragement. This will give the inner critic less time to monopolize the convo. Positive attracts positive!
3) Discover your strengths and play to them.
Do you know the feeling of being “one with the music” or when “time stops”? These phrases describe flow states, where you are just BEING, not thinking. Do things that bring you to the present moment. Once you discover these situations, incorporate your strengths. Flow states +strengths = unstoppable. The inner critic may actually see this as a good opportunity for a vacation—IF they don’t completely retire—in which case, no worries! Despite what the inner critic tells you, your inner world is a judgement-free zone.
Tomorrow is a new day.