Managing the inner critic

Brains are so funny.

My webinar on Thursday (click here if you missed it) talked about how important it is to be nice and supportive to ourselves. Especially for our girls today, who are surrounded by perfectionistic expectations, we Moms need to be very careful not to add fuel to the fire. We’ve got to learn to manage our inner critic who says things like “I ALWAYS say the wrong thing.” or “I NEVER get it right” or whatever mean criticisms are being dished out.

So it was pretty ironic that RIGHT AFTER teaching this lesson, I walked the dog and listened to MY inner critic spew her mean girl criticisms at me. Luckily, over the years, the voice has eased up, but it still offers way more “things I should have done differently” than “things I did well”. The basic theme of my inner critic is “You didn’t do everything perfectly”. Which is handy because, of course, it’s always true. What really made me laugh, was coming home from my walk to see an email from someone who attended the webinar saying….”Torie, that was PERFECT!”  

This is one of the biggest problems of how social media is effecting girl’s mental and emotional well being! It doesn’t matter who tells them they are smart, pretty, talented, kind, etc. The beliefs they have about themselves are WAY more powerful and can drown out any other opinions. Unfortunately, we can’t just STOP thinking a thought, even once we realize it’s bad for us. The first step is to DISBELIEVE the thought. This comes from recognizing we have a choice. 

I remember teaching a workshop at the She’s All That Conference (it’s coming up again soon, come if you can!). The participants were asked to fill out evaluation sheets at the end of each session. I didn’t feel I had done as well as I could and my inner perfectionist was BERATING me. The funny thing was, as I was hearing how terribly I did, I’m also looking at the words “Outstanding” “5 out of 5 rating” on almost every evaluation paper! The contrasting opinions made me stop in my tracks and ask myself, “Who do I want to believe?” 

Surprisingly, I wanted to believe my inner critic!  I knew I could have done better, and I really like doing the best job I can do. I was afraid if I believed the evaluations, I wouldn’t try to improve.

I hear clients doing this all the time. We try and motivate ourselves to take positive action, with NEGATIVE emotion. “I’m so fat” does not actually inspire healthy eating. We tend to take care of things we love, not things we hate. “I’m a terrible mother” does not make us more patient and loving with our kids. It makes us more reactive and inconsistent. “I’m going to die if I get a bad grade” might motivate us to pull out the book, but it makes it harder to actually study.

Managing this inner critic is so important. Don’t let yours run rampant and say whatever she feels like saying. Listen to her, understand her motivation, but manage her so that she isn’t the one in charge. Our daughters are watching and listening and they need us to show them how. 

 

Please join my TWO free webinars this week: 

  1. Is your child always on her phone?  Does your son throw a fit when you take away his video game? This webinar will help parents (and teens!) understand media addiction and how it effects the brain. Tuesday, March 27th at 8:00pmPST

  2. The rates of anxiety & depression in teen girls are skyrocketing and most suffer for 11 years before receiving treatment. Don’t less this happen to you. Join me Thursday, March 29th at 8:00pmPST night to understand what’s happening to girls and to learn how to help. www.LifeCoachingforParents.com/sign-up.