Challenging your inner critic

Our inner voice is incredibly important, but sometimes it can be a little cruel. By understanding its concerns, and welcoming it as a friend, we can reclaim our power

CREDIT: This is an edited version of an article that originally appeared on Happiful

What is self-doubt?

Psychotherapist Neil Turner says, “Many people fear that, without self-doubt, they may become arrogant. This is a common misconception as, actually, it is self-regulation that is our moral compass, and is tasked with getting our self-expression safely out into the world.

“Both are a part of our internal querying mechanism, but self-regulation is rooted in reality, while self-doubt comes from fear, informing us that the world is neither safe nor ready for us. Each can be observed as energetic movements within the body and, with this awareness, we can shift out of the cycle of limitation and, instead, into a cycle of possibility.”

So what steps can we take to overcome the ‘voice of self-doubt’ and reach our true potential?

Acknowledge the voice

Talk to the voice, be kind and understanding and, most importantly, welcome the voice as a supportive and encouraging friend, instead of an enemy.

“Self-doubt has the power to hinder and prevent us from following our dreams,” counsellor Beverley Husbands says. “It can bring feelings of disappointment, which often leads to unfulfilled needs. Self-doubt has a way of overtaking us in an instant, which can leave us feeling powerless.

“A familiar scenario – you’re applying for your dream job but, when the time comes to hit send, you are suddenly overwhelmed with the voice of self-doubt,” Beverley continues. “Thoughts of ‘I’m not good enough’, ‘It’s a waste of time’, ‘What if I’m called for an interview?’ flood in.”

Acknowledge the doubt

It is a vicious cycle, so it’s important for us to notice, and be aware of, our own personal default button in order to engage with this negative chatter. When the inner doubts kick in, and the negative thoughts begin, gently notice them within your awareness.

Talk to the voice

Don’t let it get out of your control. Talk to the voice to prevent it growing from a dull chatter to an unbearable shout. Saying things like, “No, we are not doing this today. This is really important to me,” helps stop the inner doubt, and disrupts that negative thought pattern. Take your time, this will take practice.

Welcome the voice as a supportive friend

Remember that how we talk to ourselves really does matter. Let your self-talk be a supportive and encouraging friend, instead of an enemy. Welcoming the inner voice will give you your power back. Embracing the support will allow you to make small, achievable steps towards your goals, without judgement.

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