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  • Zoe Wong

Facing Your Inner Critic

We often over analyze our thoughts, feelings, and actions so much that we get caught up blaming ourselves for things that are not within our control. This is because within each of us, there is an inner critic, one that articulates disdain in the actions and the choices we make. Some of us believe that our inner critics are beneficial to making decisions while others think that this inner voice can be dangerous as it tears down our confidence and self-worth.

I believe that it is important to know when and how we should let our inner critic judge ourselves. There are times when we are the only ones with the right to weigh in on our actions, and yet others times in which we must take a step back, and hand some of that judgement off to the people we trust.

When it is appropriate to let our inner critic take reign:

When we evaluate how much time and value we should place in worrying over someone or something in our lives.

Our inner voice acts as wake -up call when it disapproves of our decision to let unnecessary people or situations stress us out. We shouldn’t always let others tell us what we can and cannot stress over. What’s more important is realizing for ourselves, whether or not someone or something is worth the tears, time, or energy. For me, I sometimes let my inner critic be the judge in telling me what's worth lingering over and what's just unnecessary stress.

When we want to improve and change something about ourselves.

Fixing my posture—no matter how many times others try to correct my slouch, it will never work permanently unless I make a conscious effort to notice it before others do. Changing and improving something about ourselves begins with us and we need to be self-aware in order to fix it.

When should we bench our inner critic and allow others to evaluate ourselves:

Receiving feedback and monitoring our improvement.

When monitoring our progress, many times we need others to tell us where and how much we’ve improved. Their feedback is vital towards our continued growth. Without it, we often focus on what still needs to be improved, while forgetting just how much we’ve progressed. That recognition is important if we are to understand how we develop as individuals for our future plans of potential improvement.

For example, my professor made my class write anonymous feedbacks on slips of paper to each person who gave a speech. After giving my speech, I felt as if I blanked out too much and did not remember a lot of things I was supposed to say and I felt embarrassed and despondent because of that. After reading the feedback on the slips, I realized that I had to improve on speaking more naturally and fidgeting less instead. People also pointed out my strong sense of confidence while I spoke—something that I never noticed.

Deciding whether we are ready for a challenge or not.

Our vulnerability is played on by the doubtful ministrations of our inner conscious. We will never feel ready to take on new responsibilities and opportunities because of those feelings of inadequacy. Having others to provide us with these opportunities and to tell us that we are capable, allows us to slowly believe in our own potential.

After applying to two different committees for WIB, I felt guilty as i was honestly unsure of whether my current skills would allow for me to take on each committee's responsibilities. A voice within me kept telling me to “forget the interviews” because I am “not ready for something big like this.” However, after I was interviewed by Kseniya and Sunny for their committees, I felt confident in joining because of their welcoming and empowering aura. I learned from the both of them that to others, I seemed like a young woman who was motivated and ready to handle different responsibilities.

We will never be rid of our inner critics, but if we can wield them properly, they can be the best thing for us in our respective journeys.

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