Your inner critic is the dialogue in your head that criticises you mercilessly, knows all your weaknesses and failings, and almost always finds you unable to measure up.
You may not even be aware of your inner critic because you’re so used to the negative commentary running in your head that has been there longer than you can remember. In this post, I will be offering some ideas to identify your inner critic, and how you can learn to work with it so that you can get past the idea that you aren’t a creative person.
Please note: No inner critic was actually harmed in the making of this blog post.
STEP 1 | RECOGNISE YOUR INNER CRITIC
The inner critic is not a voice as such, but a series of thoughts with a degrading, punishing quality. It tells you that you aren’t capable and will look foolish if you try. It is essentially a collection of core negative beliefs that you hold about yourself.
You can recognise it by its demeaning tone.
Your inner critic will turn up when you are thinking about trying something new and say things like:
I am not good enough.
I am not talented enough.
I am too disorganised and lazy.
I am too old to learn.
I’m not creative.
If your inner critic isn’t obvious to you, try step 2 to give it a little prod and get it excited.
STEP 2 | GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO CREATE
If you are here reading this then you most likely have an inner critic that gives you a hard time when you consider making art. You may have been discouraged from making art at some point in your history, and now you can’t get yourself to sit down and create, or even buy art supplies or take an art workshop or class.
Warning! Affirmations make your inner critic feel really prickly.
Affirmations are a useful tool to help you change your beliefs about yourself and your worth.
Pick one of the affirmations below or make up one that feels more appropriate to you.
As I create and listen, I will be lead.
My creativity heals me and others.
I am willing to create.
I am willing to learn to let myself create.
I am willing to experience my creative energy.
I am willing to use my creativity.
Once you have chosen an affirmation or two, try this out:
Say your affirmation to yourself a few times.
Notice any demeaning or unkind replies from your inner critic.
Write your affirmation down in your notebook. Also, write it on Post-Its and leave one on the fridge, one in your car, one on your mirror, etc.
Stay tuned-in to your inner critic. Pay it special attention. Listen to the way it speaks to you. Do you like being spoken to like that? Notice what activities and events set it off and examine your beliefs about yourself around that area.
Repeat your affirmation/s daily.
This can seem silly at first, but it works very well as an exercise to root out your inner critic and really be aware of it.
STEP 3 | PRACTICE MAKES EASIER
Here’s the good news! You can shift the balance of power in your head. The more you practice hearing your inner critic, the more obvious it becomes.
Use your affirmations to counter what your inner critic has to say. Have a phrase or two ready for when your inner critic starts discouraging you. Repeat as often as possible.