You have a naysayer living inside your head. It’s constantly judging you, letting you know exactly how you’re not measuring up, and shooting down every idea you’ve ever had.
The naysayer in your head is not just good at this, it’s an EXPERT. It’s had years of practice, years of tweaking its approach little by little until every argument it presents sounds logical and well thought out and utterly reasonable. Over the course of your lifetime, this inner critic has mastered the ability to convince you that your ideas aren’t good enough, your skills aren’t up to par, and you’re simply not ready to meet the challenges you’ll face.
Every time you give your inner critic the chance to speak up, your confidence takes a beating. Your flaws become magnified. You end up paralyzed, weighed down by self-doubt and unable to move forward.
So what can you do about it?
Kick that bossy pest out of your mind and reclaim your headspace. Make room for your Supportive Inner Self, the one that offers encouragement, the one that provides solutions rather than just whining about problems.
Give space to the inner self that recognizes you are enough, the self that not only knows you can handle the challenges but actually encourages you to take them on. Recognize that anything you aren’t ready for now, right this very moment, is just something you need to learn more about, an area you can improve in, not a catastrophic character flaw.
I know what you’re thinking. “That sounds great, but HOW do I do that?”
First, start small. Learn to recognize when your inner critic is talking. Pay attention to that negative voice and get a feel for what causes it to pipe up. It might be that your resident naysayer speaks up whenever you’re starting a new project, looking for a new job, or meeting someone new. There’s a good chance your inner critic takes the podium whenever you consider taking a risk — no matter which part of your life that risk involves.
If you aren’t sure if your inner critic is talking, ask yourself, “Would I say something like this to my best friend?” If the answer is a resounding “No”, you’ve found your pesky naysayer. Take note of what you were doing or thinking immediately before your inner critic chimed in.
Now that you’ve gotten a handle on what triggers your inner critic, the best way to quiet that nagging voice is to make a choice.
Make a choice to acknowledge the naysayer for what it truly is — all your fears and uncertainties and embedded beliefs — and choose to view those fears from a different perspective. Your inner critic is like a young child, wanting nothing but a bit of comfort and consistency. Fear is its way of maintaining the status quo.
Make a choice to trust in yourself and your ability to accomplish what you’ve set out to do. Consciously decide to take one step, no matter how small, in the direction of your goals today. Then, take that step. Each time you do this, you’ll build a little more confidence.
Whenever your inner critic speaks up, give it a little mental hug and tell it, “It’s going to be okay. I’ve got this.”