How to Deal with the "Inner Critic" with NLP
Guest Blogger, Andy Smith
Many people are held back from reaching their full potential by an 'inner critic', sometimes known as the 'gremlin' or 'chatterbox', that constantly nags at them, criticises their decisions, and puts them down. Usually this is a leftover from parental criticism or put-downs from their peer group that the person unconsciously took on board during their childhood.
If this sounds familiar, you'll be aware that it's one thing knowing where the 'inner critic' came from, but quite another knowing how to deal with it. The good news is that you can reduce the emotional impact of an internal critic, without trying to challenge the meaning of what it's saying (after all, doing that would give you an extra 'inner voice' to distract you) – just by playing around with how the voice sounds.
Sounds crazy? This is how it works. Your brain decides how much attention to pay to something depending on how it perceives that thing, at least as much as the nature of what it's perceiving. For example, things that are close by get more attention than things that are far away, things that move fast rather than things that move slow, loud noises rather than quiet ones, and so on. You can see how these simple brain rules would have helped our ancestors avoid threats and gather food with the least effort.
If you have a troublesome 'inner critic,' try out the following suggestions one at a time, so you can tell which change has the biggest impact for you (if you don't have an inner critic, just smile – you're already ahead of the game).
First, notice where the voice of your inner critic is coming from – people usually locate it somewhere in their heads. Can you hear it now?
Notice what kind of things it says, and what the impact is on how you feel. After asking yourself each of the following questions, make a note of if the impact was better or worse. What change would you notice if:
a. it was coming from your left big toe instead?
b. it had a very high-pitched, squeaky voice?
c. it was louder? … or quieter?
d. it came from outside your body altogether, maybe from on the floor at your feet?
e. it had the voice of a well-known cartoon character like Donald Duck or Bart Simpson?
f. it had a humorous tone, with a chuckle in its voice?
g. it had a nurturing tone?
Everyone is different, so I expect that some of those will have worked better than others for you. Which one worked best? How does it feel to realise that you can change the impact that the inner critic has on your emotional state? And… when will this be most useful to you?
Andy Smith is an NLP trainer who specialises in helping entrepreneurs and executives use NLP and other leading-edge techniques to develop their emotional intelligence. He is the author of 'Achieve Your Goals: Strategies to Transform Your Life' (Dorling Kindersley 2006). Visit his website and blog at http://www.coachingleaders.co.uk/
Comment from Lisa:
NLP is one of the techiques I use with my clients to help them initiate change in the way they think, act & respond. Although it can be done without the trance state, I find its impact and length of effectiveness is enhanced by doing it in the trance state. Either way, try this simple and fun technique that Andy has outlined above and let me know what kind of changes occur for you.
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Marketing, Mindset & Manifesting Coach