Since the beginning of this year, I have been doing several things that are pretty new to me and have required me to step out of my comfort zone.
My experiences have taught me that you should never let your inner critic overpower you and convince you that all your efforts amount to nothing.
Read on to find out how I chose to tune out my inner critic and listen more to my inner voice and how that has changed my life for the better.
Once you get down to doing new things in your life and pushing boundaries, you will very quickly find yourself outside of your comfort zone. That’s normal. But this is when your inner critic will start to kick in. It will try to suppress your efforts and make sure you stay in your comfort zone. It wants to keep you safe and comfortable.
This year, I’ve been juggling several things, I started part-time post-grad studying on top of my full time job. So I now have to juggle exams, readings, tests and some of these topics are on things I’m completely clueless about (and have zero interest in) – neurochemistry for instance. Biology. Ugh. Going through the course also brings back lots of not so great memories about struggling through science subjects – never my strongest point – from my school days. And before I even properly began anything, I was already tempted to give up completely.
On top of that, I’ve also been trying to change my business direction, grow my social media and develop new products for my audience. This has been quite challenging to be honest. On top of juggling a full time job and studies, it means I have less time to invest in the business, so my momentum can get really thrown off. Also, all these takes time, experimenting and lots of effort, and I’m a one-woman team. It’s probably easier at this point to just give up!
At the same time, I’m also going about my job search. And it has been probably one of the most stressful episodes in my entire adult life so far. The stress of finding suitable positions, the time and effort I put in to applications only to end up getting rejected. Getting ghosted (seriously, organisations are so rude these days).
My inner critic is having an absolute field day with this. I’ve been feeling inadequate in all sorts of ways.
A couple of months into all these, I still struggle a lot with perfectionism and finding my “worth”. Whenever I don’t have any significant success, I dismiss my achievements and progress – big and small. I tell myself that I haven’t done anything. That my progress isn’t worth anything. My inner critic is always out to let me know that I am not enough and haven’t done enough.
But you know what?
Doing things I never thought I could
When I was going through all these different things, I ended up doing stuff that I never ever thought I was capable of doing. I could write 4 1000 word essays in 3 days, I tried my best with my neurochemistry modules and still passed, I could design courses, make sales on my products and yes, employers are interested in what I have to offer.
These experiences have taught me some invaluable lessons about life – sometimes we need to take that huge step, albeit filled with fear in order to challenge our small mindsets and limitations and grow. It’s only through these experiences that we realise how capable we are of so many things. And that we dumb down our efforts and capabilities more often than we should.
So why do we tend to talk ourselves out of things that we would like to do?
- We talk ourselves out of doing things because we tell ourselves: I am not good enough. I won’t be able to do all these so why bother trying??
- We are afraid of success, yet afraid of failing too. We’ve tried so hard, what if we end up failing in the end? Or if we become successful, what do we do with this newfound success? You might even start asking yourself if you deserve this success.
- We have a perfectionist streak. Nothing is ever good enough.
So instead of doing what we could be doing or are capable of doing, we end up self-sabotaging.
This is how the inner critic works
It doesn’t overtly punish or berate you, but it keeps playing the negative tapes from before. It brings out the negative associations, the beliefs, the experiences to the forefront to prevent you from doing what you want to.
Another thing about the inner critic? It is usually pretty useless and not updated. It brings up things from the past and makes you feel small and worthless. It prevents you from going forward and enjoying the present.
The only way to break free of the inner critic is to challenge it and do something opposite from what it is trying to get you to do.
It will bring you down by reminding you of your past and rewinding negative recordings from others or from your past life experiences that you’ve got stored in your head.
And anytime you agree with your inner critic and allow it to make you feel like crap, it means you are forming even stronger associations with your negative talk and this keeps you stuck in the past, and stuck in your comfort zone.
When you let your inner critic take over, you don’t experience the growth and progress that you need.
And what I really took away from my experiences was that you may think you are incapable of many things – but what you think you can’t do and what you really can’t do is actually very different.
You will be surprised at how extremely capable you are, if you turn off that inner critic and go beyond your limitations and comfort zone.
What do you think?