Ever wish you could silence your inner critic?
You know that voice that tells you not to do what you want?
That you’re not good enough?
That maybe you should change something about yourself.
That the career you want is out of your league?
We have our reptile brain that drives our inner critic – the part of us that tells us we can’t do things and then we have our prefrontal cortex which is our logical part of our brain, responsible for our dreams, that tells us we can do anything.
We are digging into why strong women that have success and do amazing things, still have this inner critic and how can you get her to be quiet?
Listen in as I share the purpose of your inner critic, how your inner critic is stopping you from getting the job, having the relationships, and living the life you want.
What You’ll Learn
How to silence your inner critic
How to disrupt the negative thought patterns that stifle your growth
How to know if you should listen to your critic or not
How to make immediate changes to make your critic your ally
Featured in This Episode
Apply for 1-1 coaching at www.melissamlawrence.com/apply
Taming Your Gremlin by Rick Carson
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Welcome to Navigating Your Career, the only podcast that blends personal development, professional skills, and psychology to help you get happy at work and live the life you want. If you want to stop feeling stuck and start are feeling better, this is the place for you. I’m your host, Melissa Lawrence. Let’s get started.
Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of the podcast. Today. I am bringing you another MVP, most valuable podcast episode. And you’re in for a treat because this episode is one of the very first ones I did. It is the original episode seven, and we are almost on episode 100.
So I think it’ll be really fun. If you’ve been listening for a while, you’ll see how my voice has changed a little bit. You can probably as you see over the podcast and as you listen to more episodes, you can hear how my own confidence has grown as I talk about the different things that I help people with and that I help you with on this show. But this episode is all about your inner critic. And so I’m talking a little bit about the brain science behind why we have that inner critic.
Why we have that little voice in our head that doubts us. That tells us we can’t do the things that we want to do. That we need to stay in our place. And especially as high achievers and I work with a lot of high achieving women. They achieve a lot of success even with this critic.
But it can cap off the capacity of what they’re able to achieve. And so in this episode. I’m going to talk about how to actually silence that inner critic. Make it a little more muted. How to disrupt negative thought patterns that can stifle your growth.
How to know when that inner critic is there to help you and you should listen to it and when it’s actually holding you back. And then how to make changes that you can implement right away today to make that critic your ally so that you can really achieve all of the big. Wonderful things that you want to. So let’s go ahead and dive right in here is Silence Your Inner Critic. Hello and welcome to this week’s episode.
I’m so glad that you’re here. We are going to talk about something super fun and super common, and that is your inner mean girl, inner cavewoman, inner critic, whatever you want to call her. So before we get talking about that, I want to share that I started working with a new client this week, and one of the things that we do when we start working together is we go through a life audit all of the different categories in your life and how fulfilled you are and if there’s any room for improvement. And one of the things that came up with this new client is her inner critic or inner cavewoman that talks her out of doing what she actually wants to do. And this comes up with work, it comes up with relationships, with family, really in every area.
It’s so common. And so it’s really interesting because this is something that comes up with pretty much all of my clients, where there’s at least one part of their life where there’s something that they want. And then when we dig into why they’re not doing it, whether it be calling a family member more or something at work, the responses often, I don’t know, I want to, but I don’t know. And then we dig into that and it’s just really, really interesting how this inner cave woman, as I call her, really takes over. It’s just really common.
So when we talk about becoming fearless, we also have to talk about that inner critic, that intervene girl, or inner cave woman, whatever you want to call her. So we have our reptile brain and that drives our inner critic the part of us that tells us that we can’t do things and that we shouldn’t do them, or that things like if you’re talking about working with other people, that could be, oh well, they could do this too. I don’t always have to be the person to do that, even when it’s something that you want. So that part of you that just stops you from actually doing the things that you want to do for yourself, that is all part of your inner critic. And then we have our prefrontal cortex, which is our logical part of our brain.
This is responsible for our dreams that tell us that we can do anything, that we can have those relationships, that we want more, that we want to get that promotion, that there’s just more out there for us. So like I said, I refer to these as our cavewoman brain and our evolved woman brain. So our cave woman brain is there to protect us from saber tooth tigers. Y’all obviously not a real threat these days, but that’s what it’s there for, right? From the time that humans came into existence, when we were living in caves, we had to protect ourselves.
And so that part of our brain is really there to make things easier for us, to help us run efficiently, to protect us from danger, and to help us seek pleasurable experiences. So it’s really there for back in those days when the saber tooth tiger would come out, that it would tell you to run or hide or to protect yourself, right? And then we have that evolved woman brain, which is that prefrontal cortex that lives in the world of possibility and dreams and is pushing you to do all of those big lofty goals that you want to have. So why do strong women like you, like my new client, that have success and do amazing things, still have this inner critic? Right?
And how can you get her to be quiet? Because you’re successful, right? Like you have some success in your life. So you have gotten this far with her there with you. But why is she still there even with all the success you have?
So first of all, it serves you right. Like you’ve had success with her. You’ve gotten where you are with her, the money you’ve earned, the things you have, the success you’ve built. Your inner cavewoman was along for the ride, right? So you did it despite her or in spite of her.
You’ve also needed her to protect you. So your brain wants to protect you. Your brain doesn’t want you to do things that are uncomfortable. And your inner cave woman does serve a purpose. She protects you.
She keeps you from doing things that are dangerous or potentially harmful. So how your cave woman shows up is a cycle of feeling like crap due to some circumstance around you. This could be a bad day. It could be that you didn’t get a promotion, that you were overlooked in a meeting. Your partner takes you off.
You feel that you’re failing at virtual learning. You don’t like how you look in the mirror. So she comes out and she tries to get you to avoid all the pain and avoid feeling bad. So this is where the numbing comes in, where you distract yourself with social media, with food, with drinking, shopping, TV, whatever your chosen go to is. And then of course, you feel a little bit better.
Then the cycle repeats itself. So you don’t ever really process those emotions. And you don’t experience the depth of the fear or sadness, disappointment, grief, or whatever it is your inner cave woman. She distracted you from the pain. But if we don’t manage our inner cave woman, we turn to distractions.
And those distractions can take us farther from our goals. We self sabotage and we become stagnant in our growth. We don’t show ourselves or the world our authentic selves, our true selves. We feel stressed and negative. We people please.
And we make decisions based on what everyone else wants from us. But we need to embrace her, our inner cavewoman. We need to acknowledge her, feel the feeling, process the feeling and embrace it. Friends, your inner critic or inner cableman is never going away. You can learn to manage her, but she isn’t going to suddenly disappear.
And so if you don’t manage her, then that cycle is going to repeat itself where something bad happens in circumstance around you. And instead of embracing it, you distract yourself so that you can feel better. And then you just kind of repeat that cycle. And then that is going to create those voids when it comes to your development. It’s going to essentially get you to a place where you’re successful, but you’re only going to reach a certain level of success.
You’re not actually going to live up to your potential because you’re holding yourself back, because you’re letting that inner cavewoman rule you. So we really need to learn how to manage her. Now, you probably have someone in your life who loves you very much, but it’s kind of a jerk, right? Maybe it doesn’t always offer the best advice, maybe oversteps criticizes your clothing choices, the way you parent, the way you look, you get the idea. A lot of people experience this with in laws, right?
It could be your own parents, it could be a friend that you have. So when you approach this person from love and you listen to what she has to say, but you have a choice if you want to take her words as fact, if you want to let them stop you, or if you want to just listen and move on with what you’re doing and kind of sache. And your fabulous outfit that was just criticized, right? So if you think about a big one I hear is in laws or parents and their involvement with your children, if you’re a mom, for example, and having an opinion about how you do everything, or maybe an opinion on how you’re dressing or how you’re dressing your children or whatever that is, right? So you want to approach that person with love and you want to listen and acknowledge them because they are someone that you love in your life, but you don’t have to listen to what they say.
So if they say, I really don’t, let’s say you have a grandparent in your life that thinks you should spank your children and you don’t think you should spank your children. So you could listen to your parents and their opinion about your discipline of your own children and you can validate them and their opinion, and then you can still choose to not speak your children, right? You don’t have to go do what they say just because they are criticizing you. And so your inner cavewoman is the same way. Now, it sounds a little cookie because this is all going on in your brain, right?
It’s like you have this inner cave woman and this evolved woman and you need to acknowledge the thoughts or feelings, take some deep breath, which deep breathing side note is something we can all do more. Just taking a few moments to take some deep breaths without distraction, without getting just sidetracked with what’s really frustrating you so that you can really get in touch with how you feel, makes a world of difference. You can acknowledge the thoughts and say I see you, I hear you, and I don’t have to listen to you. So when those inner cavewoman thoughts come in, they tell you that you can’t get that promotion, that you look like crap, that you’re too old for that outfit, that you’re failing as a mother, whatever those thoughts are that you might have, you can acknowledge them the same way you would that in law or other person that’s criticizing her parenting skills or whatever it is. You can acknowledge yourself and say, I see you and I hear you.
You can acknowledge that your brain is just trying to protect you, but then you go on anyway and just accept that you don’t resist those thoughts that you’re having and just know that you get to choose if you want to listen to them, right? So just because you have those thoughts doesn’t mean they’re true and doesn’t mean you have to listen. And that is such an interesting concept I understand, because we all live in our own brains and we grow up believing our beliefs and thinking only the way that we think. And we think everything we think is true, right? Like, it’s coming from a logical, sound place based on your experiences and your education and all of those things.
But I feel like so many people, myself included, for so many years of our life, thinking that we have to believe our thoughts and that we all thoughts are created equal. And that’s just simply not true. Because you have a part of your brain whose core function is to help you survive and to make things easy for you. That has your fight or flight response. And you’re going to have thoughts that are not going to be in service of those big goals that you have.
And sometimes I think most of the time we listen to those thoughts and we let them hold us back. And we think if we’re having that thought, it’s for a reason, and so we need to listen to it. But instead, what I’m offering you is that you can embrace that thought and just choose not to listen to it, right? You can put that thought to the side. If you’re driving a car, you can still steer the car and put that thought in the passenger side.
You can choose to acknowledge that thought, take some deep breaths and go on with your day instead of, holy crap, what is going on? This day was shit. Excuse me, language. I need a glass of wine and a candy bar, stat. Right.
This will change the cycle for you. So instead of feeling crappy, distracting yourself, feeling a little better, repeat and have the same result of staggering your growth, self sabotage, frustration, and not actually achieving what you have the potential to achieve for yourself. You can instead feel crappy, acknowledge and embrace it, feel all the feels, keep moving forward, and have the result of achieving even higher goals and feeling more fulfilled. So next time something happens that ticks you off or something doesn’t go your way, just try it. Try embracing your inner cavewoman, taking deep breaths, acknowledging the feeling and thoughts, and make a decision to let them stay while you keep going.
Walk away from the distraction that is calling your name. Tell your inner cavewoman, girl, I appreciate you having my back, but I got this. If you want to dig deeper on this topic, I suggest the book Taming or Gremlin by Rick Carson. There are many exercises you can dig into that will help you gain freedom from self defeating behaviors and beliefs and kind of help you tame that inner cavewoman that you have, or as he calls it, the author. He calls it a gremlin from negatively affecting your life.
And if you want to really get a good look inside of your brain. I really invite you to reach out to me for a free call where we will spend a whole hour talking about your goals. Talking about where this critic is showing up for you and decide if coaching is a good fit to help you overcome that so you can actually achieve all of the things that are within your capacity and potential to do so. To do that, you can just go to my website as www.melissamlawrence.com and you can book directly from there. I’ll also put a link in the show notes.
All right, that is all for this episode. Now go get it and have an awesome rest of your week. Bye.
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