Do you know that voice inside your head? You know, the one that creeps up when you're about to hit send on that email? The one telling you that your content isn't good enough to post on social media? The one that constantly criticizes your work and holds you back from trying new things?
What about the voice that keeps you distracted from reaching your goals? The one that keeps you up at night, ruminating about all the conversations that went wrong throughout the day or during your Freshman year of high school?
Well, I'm here to tell you something you need to know:
That voice isn't really you.
It might sound like you inside your head, but, in reality, it's something entirely different. So it's time we name it for what it actually is. Then we can all find the peace and freedom to create as entrepreneurs.
Origins of Your Inner Critic
This criticizing voice is often referred to as your "inner critic." This voice is a conglomerate of inherited messages you've heard throughout your life. Perhaps they were spoken over you in anger or frustration from someone you loved and trusted.
You'll never be good enough.
Why don't you get a real job?
You'll never amount to anything.
How is that going to pay the bills?
Sound familiar? Well, these voices are the echoes of the opinions of others. Perhaps they came from very well-intended people you once held, or currently hold, in high esteem.
The people we look up to can significantly influence our inner dialogue. And if we're not aware of the power these voices can hold over us, they can weigh us down and hold us back from doing our best work or even trying something we feel curious about.
If we want to let our inner creativity shine, we must recognize our inner criticism for what it is and learn to de-identify from it.
What Gives Power to Your Inner Critic
Three major factors empower your critical self-talk and keep you from being curious about life: the comparison trap, perfectionism, and cognitive dissonance.
When you compare your work to others, especially those with more years of experience, you will constantly feel behind and like you couldn't possibly measure up to their success. This comparison is unfair and unhealthy because it only fuels your inner critic and invites impostor syndrome. No one can create their best work with this weight on their shoulders, and research shows this type of thinking can derail your overall happiness.
At the same time, if you set unrealistic expectations and demand constant perfection in your performance, you'll never feel good enough. Rather than celebrating your wins, you'll use an impossible measuring stick to evaluate your success. And no one can thrive under those demands.
Finally, cognitive dissonance happens when our thoughts don't align with our actions, which tends to happen more often when the criticizing lies bubble in our minds. And then we get frustrated for even thinking those degrading things about ourselves. Feeling caught in this loop can distract us from making the positive changes we want to see in our lives.
Responding to Your Inner Critic
Recognizing this critical voice is essential to find creative freedom. And it takes diligence to quiet this inner doubt so that you can create more honestly and consistently.
I've found the Artist's Way by Julia Cameron a helpful resource in this practice. She teaches a simple method called "Morning Pages," which allows you to clear out your brain space first thing in the morning. The approach is simple: write whatever comes to mind for at least three journal pages. The only rule is that you can't think about how something "sounds" as you write. It doesn't need to make sense. It just needs to be raw and authentic to this moment.
Oh, and you're not meant to share your entry with anyone or even reread it. This gives you permission to write freely, without judgment.
Practicing this gives me room to filter out the nasty, critical thoughts in my head and provides space to reflect and find clarity on what I'm currently dealing with in life. It's been a life-changing practice that has helped free my creative, entrepreneurial spirit.
If you haven't yet, I would highly recommend giving this practice a try. See if you notice a difference throughout your day or in your self-talk. Of course, you don't need to do this every morning, but it can be an empowering tool on the days you feel weighed down or cloudy-minded.
Let's Tame Our Inner Criticism
Naming and taming your inner critic is no simple task, especially as a creative entrepreneur. That's why I want to give you the tools you need to recognize this inner, critical voice and find empowerment in being yourself–because who you are is exactly what the world really needs.
You can find creative freedom by joining my free 7-Day Challenge. It’s easy to sign up and get started. Just think, a week from now, you could be creating without feeling held back and finding even greater fulfillment in your entrepreneurial journey.
As always, I’m here to support you.