Fire Your Inner Critic

 You know who your Inner Critic is, right? It’s the voice that points out all of your mistakes, and then beats you up about it. It’s the voice of a former teacher or parent who mistakenly thought that telling you how dumb/awful/stupid you are would somehow improve you and free you from screwing up forever.

Why does making a mistake feel so bad? Deep down, many of us fear that no matter how hard we study, practice or try, that we’re just not good enough, and won’t ever be good enough. Or that others won’t like us unless we are perfect. So when we have an unhappy client, or forget to do something a co-worker asked us to do, our Inner Critic goes immediately on duty to tell us how awful we are.

 A Conscious Stylist knows that how we talk to ourselves is the key to transforming our Inner Critic into our Inner Sweetheart. Here’s how:

·      Apologize to yourself for talking unkindly to yourself. We can’t un-say words, even those we say to ourself. But we can apologize and work on speaking more kindly. How would you want to be treated after someone dealt with you harshly or unfairly? You’d probably want an acknowledgment that it was out of line and an apology, with a promise to take more care in the future. Give yourself the same treatment.

·      Forgive yourself. Every human on this planet has screwed up at one time or another. It’s just a part of being alive. Did you intend to make a mistake? No. Learn to have compassion for yourself—as someone who tries and occasionally misses something. In other words, give yourself a break.

·      Own your mistakes. We sometimes make excuses so as not to feel badly at the thought that we’ve let someone else down. By saying, “Yep, I did it and I’m sorry”, that opens the way to repairing the situation.

·      See a mistake as a learning opportunity. You did something, it didn’t work. What could you do differently next time? When you see mistakes as feedback, it can help you improve—which helps you feel better about yourself instead of feeling worse.

Train yourself to notice when your Inner Critic has your internal microphone. Kick him or her off the mic and invite your Inner Sweetheart to step up and help you forgive yourself and encourage you to move past your mistakes.

Melinda Walsh