When I started copywriting, my “inner critic” hated everything I wrote.
There was A LOT of self-loathing back then. I’d spend days on sales page applying all the tricks and methods I’d learned, only to stare at it and think, “This is terrible. I suck at this.”
Then I’d fall down a nice little spiral of despair, thinking: “My client will hate it. They’ll tell everyone I suck. Nobody will ever hire me. I’ll die broke and alone.”
Through years of therapy, coaching, workshops, and books I’ve found how to handle my inner critic so it doesn’t really bug me any more. So I can do my job, enjoy my writing, and move on without agonizing over every little thing and feeling like a failure.
So I’m going to spend a few emails sharing what I learned.
Because most people handle their inner critic in unhelpful ways.
1) Try to ignore it
2) Get angry and tell it to shut the F up.
Ignoring your inner critic is like ignoring your feelings.
It doesn’t make it go away. It just bottles it up and builds the pressure until it explodes. You end up lashing out at people for no reason, get paralyzed, and lay on the couch trying to numb yourself with Netflix, etc.
Your inner critic has a message for you. Trying to ignore that message can just make your inner critic stronger and more persistent.
So instead of ignoring it, notice and validate it. It’s almost like a little kid that just wants to be seen and approved of. “Yes Timmy, that is a great picture of a shoe you drew.” Same thing with the inner critic, “Okay, I see that you don’t like the sales page, thanks for letting me know.”
(I got more tips for how to handle the situation in upcoming emails.)
That brings us to #2: Getting angry.
When ignoring it doesn’t work, people will try yelling at it.
They get all white-knuckled and tense and tell their inner critic to “Shut the F up!”
Lots of accomplished people will tell you this is a great idea (Tony Robbins and David Goggins come to mind.)
And getting angry can lead to a burst of energy that helps you break through that wall and get stuff done.
You see it a lot in fitness. People get angry at themselves, tell themselves “Don’t be a wimp!” and that gives them the motivation to finish their reps or run an extra mile.
The issue with this is that your inner critic is part of you. So when you yell at it and tell it to shut the F up, you’re yelling at yourself and telling yourself to shut the F up.
You’re treating yourself poorly. And treating yourself poorly lowers your sense of self-worth.And lowering your sense of self worth makes that inner critic louder and stronger. It finds even more things to criticize and you spend more and more of your day having a shouting match inside your head.
Which isn’t the best way to go through life.
Again, that voice in your head is part of you.
When you see that voice as bad or weak or a thing that needs to be gone, then it means you’re not accepting yourself fully.
And when you don’t accept yourself fully, you don’t feel whole and complete. So you’re always left feeling like you’re not good enough and need to be different from how you are.
And that leads you on a never-ending journey of thinking once you’re different or your life is different, THEN you can be happy — instead of being happy right now.
So yeah, yelling at your inner critic can lead to external accomplishments and rewards. But it gets in the way of wholeness and inner peace. And we keep chasing more accomplishments and rewards thinking they will lead to that wholeness and inner peace only to find the relief they provide is short-lived.
Now does this mean you give in and let your inner critic run the show?
Nope. You’re in charge. Not it.
So the next emails will have tips on how to handle your inner critic and even keep it from constantly criticizing you in the first place.
Until then, is there any area where your inner critic shows up a lot that you’d like to handle?
Reply in the comments and let me know.