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The Role Played by Your Inner Critic

Anna Watkins
 


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"You are today where your thoughts have brought you;you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you. "- James Allen, author of As a Man Thinketh

We all have an inner critic, that annoying little voice that keeps reminding us of our shortcomings. Who knew, though, that the inner critic can play a positive role? Shad Helmstetter, in “The Self-Talk Solution", points out several ways that the inner critic can serve in a productive way. According to Helmstetter, the critic's function is to push you to achieve, protect you from fear of rejection, and make amends for your guilt.

However, the critic's tactics are not the most constructive. The author recommends ways to hear the message and then use your own strong values and beliefs to learn from the critic.

Some of his suggestions:

Need to achieve - Challenge the belief that what you do is who you are. Evaluate your goals to see if they are appropriate.

Fear of rejection - Reframe social errors as the best decision you could have made at the time. Learn to check out an assumed rejection rather than trying to mind-read.

Guilt - Determine if your guilt violates a healthy or unhealthy value. Reaffirm your values and live by them.

More good advice comes from Jack Canfield in “The Success Principles. " Canfield includes a chapter on transforming your inner critic into your inner coach. He advises that you teach it to tell you the whole truth. The prevalent message you hear from your critic is that of anger. Underneath the anger is the rest of the message that includes fear, requests, and love.

Here is a brief example of the progression from partial to whole truth:

Anger: You're lazy! Why don't you finish the things you start?

Fear: I'm afraid that you will never reach success that fits your ability.

Request: I want you to work on this current project every day for at least one hour. Stick to it!

Love: I love you, and I want you to fulfill your potential.

Another very pro-active way to counter critical messages is to use positive affirmations. Do affirmations work? Let's look at another question. Does negative self-talk work? You bet it does! Most of us have been using it for many years, and it has worked very well at undermining our self-esteem and keeping us from achieving all sorts of goals.

This won't be easy. You will have to say a lot of affirmations to make up for the old negative self-talk messages. Are you ready to try?

Obviously, if we say positive affirmations for five minutes each day but then go back to our old, negative groove for the other twenty-three hours, fifty-five minutes of the day, it will take a long time to notice any progress. - Chellie Campbell in “The Wealthy Spirit"

Anna Watkins is a Career Coach with a special interest in group coaching and Master Mind Groups, networks of like minded people who support and help each other stay on track with their life goals. You can learn more about the resources she offers through her website: http://www.one-e-anna.com

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