How to Deal with Your Biggest Critic

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There’s a great Seinfeld episode where Jerry, a stand-up comic, gets heckled during oneof his sets. He decides to seek the ultimate comedian’s revenge by going to the woman’s workplace and heckling her at her desk. She gets so upset by the heckling that she rushes out of the office and a street sweeper runs over her toe, severing it.

(This results in one of the most famous comedic monologues of all time.)

The truth is, we all have a heckler following us around, booing and hissing, but our heckler lives inside our heads. I call it the inner critic.

The inner critic tells us we’re worthless, that we don’t try hard enough, that we’re going to fail, so why even try. And because body language begins in the brain, if we want to be rock star communicators and live rock star lives, we’ve got to deal with our inner critic.

Here are three ways you can deal with your inner critic:

 1. Become aware of your inner critic. Most of us are so used to being heckled that we don’t even realize it’s happening. The first step in taming the critic in our heads is to realize it’s there. When you hear yourself saying things like, “I can’t believe I did that!” or, “When will I ever get this right?” or even, “I should,” recognize that’s the inner critic and not the real “you.” Which brings us to the second point:

 2. Begin to see your inner critic as “other.” Because our inner critic is often out of our awareness due toits never-ending stream of negativity, we just accept it as our own voice when it really is something else entirely. Start to listen to your inner critic as if you were listening to another voice that is separate from your own. How can you tell the difference? My brilliant coach, Shell Tain, shared this bit of advice with me: Your inner critic always has a “tone.” Your inner wisdom does not. Your inner wisdom voice is always neutral and calm. When you hear that snippy critical voice telling you you’ve screwed up once again, that’s your inner critic. Recognize it as such so you can begin to see it as “other,” not “you.”

 3. Allow your inner wisdom more space in your head than your critic. Once you begin to recognize that there are two voices talking in your head, hand the microphone to your inner wisdom more often. You can do this by telling yourself things that you know are true (also known as affirmations), such as, “I am a freakin’ rock star.” Louise Hay, one of the biggest proponents of affirmations and one of my favorite authors, just died this past Wednesday at the age of 90. In her book You Can Heal Your Life, she says, “What you choose to think about yourself and about life becomes true for you.”

Rock star communication begins with how you communicate with yourself. Change your communication (with yourself) and you will change your life.


Sari de la Motte is the CEO and founder of FORTE, a communications consulting firm that specializes in helping attorneys communicate their real selves. Are you working on a case and need help? Schedule a free 30 minute consultation with Sari now!

4 thoughts on “How to Deal with Your Biggest Critic

  1. Kick that inner critic to the curb! I was a frustrated wannabe writer for so many years. One day, I started reading a book to help start writing, and the first key lesson is to tell your inner critic to go on vacation for 30 days. They can and will come back, but for 30 days send them packing. From that day forward….the words started pouring out of me.

    We have two voices in our head? Speak for yourself….I have at least 3 or 4!

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