Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Reader Week 2009

The Inner Critic

This submission from Lisa Graham of Birmingham.

My harsh inner critic is one of my biggest barriers to productivity. I quickly get frustrated when my work doesn’t progress as I planned or when I can’t seem to find that brilliant paragraph I know exists somewhere in the deep recesses of my brain, “Come on, Lisa, what’s your problem? This draft is terrible! You should be embarrassed to put your name at the top of this document!” And once this type of negative self-talk starts, it’s all downhill from there.

Interestingly, I find it much easier to offer kind words and encouragement to others than to myself. Based on what my clients and friends tell me, this pattern is pretty common. So, when I hit a stumbling block in my work process (procrastination, feeling overwhelmed, writer’s block, etc.), I ask myself, “What would you say to a good friend who approached you seeking advice about how to overcome this challenge?” Asking this question bypasses my inner critic and taps into my more reasonable and compassionate self. I’m usually able to come up with an idea – or at least a soothing message – that allows me to move forward. If you are prone to self-defeating inner dialogue, I suggest experimenting with this technique. Give yourself the same bear hug you’d give to your stressed-out best friend.

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