how I handle my inner critic

Ok, so that little comic there is a simplified telling of how I handle my inner critic. Let me explain.

I was browsing through Tumblr one day when I came across someone who said something like, “Just imagine your inner critic is a 12-year-old boy playing X-box live and trying to trash talk you.”

This a valid way to approach how to handle an inner critic. It’s not the only way, but it’s a way that works.

I like to think my inner critic is more like the younger me who thought they knew everything, but doesn’t. And they try to make up for not knowing everything by throwing comments at you that make you doubt your worth.

The simple fact is – I don’t know everything. There’s a lot of stuff I don’t know, and probably a lot of things I will never know.

The problem comes from my inner critic trying to cut me off from my curiosity, to try and keep me from learning my unknowns. My inner critic wants me to stay in the realm of the things I know.

My inner critic is driven by fear, especially the fear of trying something new and failing.

This is a valid fear to have, but it can get in the way of creating.

I’m not going to tell you to beat up your inner critic, shut it off completely, or completely ignore it. That kind of mentality is actually unhealthy.

There’s a great book about creating, called Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. In a passage in the book, she talks about how she copes with her inner fears and how she still creates.

I’ll sum it up for you here: she doesn’t beat up her inner critic, aka her fear. She says to it, “Thank you for caring. But I don’t need your input right now. You’re welcome to ride with me on this creative journey, but you’re not allowed to drive, or touch the radio, or look at the map.”

I like to think my inner critic, aka my fear, is a little twelve-year-old trying to tell me I’m not good enough so I should stick to my inner circle of comfort. I like to put my inner critic to bed so it can nap and rest, and I can focus on my work.

I’ll wake up the critic when I need it, but the only times I need it are when I’m editing things. That is the inner critic’s FAVORITE job.

But I don’t let the inner critic do anything else, because it is very bad at being impulsive and creative. It’s my self-preservation voice – it doesn’t need to be present during the creation process.

I hope this inspires you to find a new approach towards your inner critic. Let me know how it goes in the comments.

Thank you for reading.

You. Are. Awesome.