Master your mind so your mind does’t master you.
While doing a bit of research on the mind and negative thought patterns, I came across an inner critic quiz that helps you discover your inner critic patterns so you can create a plan for how to change them. Now I won’t list the 7 types of critics revealed in the quiz (you can discover them by taking the quiz via the link below), but I do want to start this post by defining ‘inner critic’.
Your Inner Critic
Your inner critic is the inner voice in your head that judges you, demeans you and labels you. It undermines your self-esteem, self-worth, self-concept, self-image, and self-confidence. After taking the quiz myself, I was able to view the 7 types of inner critics. You can discover them all HERE.
If you have read some of my past posts and taken the critic quiz, you may have guessed I scored high on the perfectionist critic. The perfectionist tries to get you to do things perfectly. It has very high standards for behavior, performance, and production. If you would say yes to all of these characteristics below, you too may have a perfectionist critic in your head:
- You hear a voice telling you your work (product or performance) isn’t/wasn’t good enough.
- You find it hard to get started on projects. You think you need to do more “research, prep”.
- You’re often late on projects because you can’t stop working on them-fine tuning them. You think it’s not good enough yet.
- You obsess over getting all the details right.
- You spend too much time working and striving instead of relaxing and reviving.
Perfectionist or Achiever?
What’s ironic about these patterns is that I always considered myself as someone who knows how to hustle and get things done. But I can relate to the voice that tells me my work isn’t good enough—especially when it comes to something I write. I also find it hard to get started on my writing projects. And I do have a tendency to obsess a bit about the right wording, phrasing, formatting, etc. to get my point across. So I tend to edit my work as I go rather than write it all and then edit afterward.
The first time this tendency was brought to my attention was in graduate school while I was writing my thesis. I struggled to even start my thesis because I wanted my first draft to come out ‘perfect’. I remember my thesis advisor telling me “students who struggle with perfectionism often find the thesis writing process daunting because the process requires a tremendous amount of editing and rewriting.” Every perfectionist’s nightmare right? I still find myself running up against this pattern. BUT the good news is I have learned to accept “good enough.” Because “good” is subjective anyhow. Right?
Perfectionism. The Great Paralyzer
Recently, I was talking with my big brother who was asking me how my first book was coming along and I shared how I stopped writing it because I wasn’t sure I was saying what I really wanted to say. I was unsure of my topic, my book title, my key points, etc. so I figured I would wait until I had more clarity.
But as I now reflect on the root issue for the delay—it comes back to my belief that my book/thoughts may not be ‘good enough’–which to me means not “thought-provoking, helpful, captivating, motivating and inspirational” enough. But my brother (being the awesome encourager and coach he is) challenged me to just write and get it all down. Regardless of the wording, topic, phrasing, etc, I needed to just start (or in this case, keep going with the project). And so thanks to his encouragement and coaching support–I’m back on the grind…
The Destroyer Critic
But there was one inner critic named in the critic quiz that I found particularly interesting: The Destroyer. This inner critic shames you and makes pervasive attacks on your fundamental self-worth. Sounds like the devil to me because he comes to steal, kill and destroy every aspect of our lives—our health, wellbeing, sense of worth, purpose, significance, and destiny. The destroyer comes to blame, degrade, devalue, disgrace, disregard, disrespect and dishonor us. Some of the lies this critic (dare I say spirit?) has told me throughout my life that I now no longer believe are:
Classic Lies of the Destroyer Critic
- You’re not enough: talented enough, gifted enough, skilled enough, qualified enough, smart enough, equipped enough. Therefore, you’re insufficient and not good enough.
- You’re not worthy: of unconditional love, acceptance and belonging. Therefore you don’t deserve to be loved, to be happy or experience a good life.
- You’re not capable: You’re not able to do difficult things, overcome challenges or achieve your goals and dreams. Therefore you don’t have what it takes to achieve great success in life.
- You’re not significant. You’re not important. Who are you to think you’re inspirational, influential or impactful?
- You’re not destined for greatness. Your future will be at best mediocre—average. Therefore, you’re destined to live an ordinary life.
Have you ever dealt with these destructive thoughts— these lies that come from the thief, the destroyer and enemy of your soul? To each lie, I want to encourage you to believe:
- You are enough. You have been divinely equipped with everything you need to succeed in life. (Heb 13:20-21; 2 Pt. 1:3; 2 Cor. 9:8)
- You are worthy. Your value and worth come from God-the one who formed you, fashioned you and died for you to give you life everlasting. You were worth dying for (John 3:16). You matter to God (Ps. 139:13-16)
- You are capable. You are power-FULL You’ve been divinely empowered to do all things through Christ who strengthens you. (2 Tim 1:7; Phil 4:13; 2 Cor. 12:9-10))
- You are significant. You are impact-FULL. You have been divinely chosen, appointed and anointed to be Christ’s ambassador and a witness who will greatly impact the world (2 Cor. 5:11-21; Acts 1:8; 1 Pt.2:)
- You are destined for greatness. You are purpose-FULL. You are Your life purpose and path are divinely directed by God. He has plans to prosper you and give you a good future here on earth and everlasting life for all who believe in Him. (Jer.29:11; Eph. 2:10). He will fulfill His purpose for you (Ps. 138:8).
Wellness begins with awareness of the WORD
Friend, what I’ve realized is having a healthy, positive and peaceful mind first starts with noticing my thoughts. When I became more aware of my negative thoughts, mindsets, and beliefs, I was able to capture them, demolish them, and make them obey Christ (2 Cor.10:5) by aligning them to His Word. It really came down to renewing my mind DAILY in God’s word (Rom. 12:2). This renewal process is kinda like washing your mind clean with Truth. Being mentally washed in the Word of God.
And when I began to wash my mind by taking every negative thought captive, I began to experience a healthier, happier, more abundant life. A life filled with more joy, peace of mind, love, generosity, kindness, hope, trust and goodness.
I have experienced first hand “as a man (or woman) thinks in his/her heart, so is he/she” (Prov. 23:7) —for the heart (our mind, will and emotions) is the wellspring (our source) by which all things overflow in our lives (Prov. 4:23). And because our hearts are constantly being attacked, we must guard them above all else– because as our hearts go, so go our lives. Here’s to you minding your mind so you can master your life!
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Taming Your Inner Critic (Forbes Article)
Tips for Taming Your Gremlin (inner critic)