Banishing Your Inner Critic

by Denise Jacobs

45 Reader Comments

Back to the Article
  1. ^^ Not only am I stuck in a procrastination loop, my xbox is broken and my ass hurts… Thank you ALA ;)

    But seriously, good stuff on the tips and tricks to wrongfoot your inner troll; there’s a lot of photo work I’ve passed on recently due to low self-work esteem (or conversely on occasion, low esteem for clients who will accept low quality work from other ‘professionals’)… A bit of spirited inner dialogue should help here :)

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  2. “Butcher the example image with comic sans, canned Photoshop filters, and hot pink.”—-oh but thats what I do anyway….

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  3. This is a really great article!  It mirrors a lot of the concepts from the book “Self-Esteem” by McKay and Fanning.  I found it really helpful with trying to deal with this stuff :)

    I’d like to see more stuff like this – if anyone knows any related posts or books I’d love to see them.

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  4. Very well thought out and extremely well written article!

    I definitely identified with some of the different incarnations of the inner critic, and now that I’m able to identify them I will be able to work on silencing it, or at least making it wait its turn :)

    Thank you for the time and effort put into writing this, I have no doubt it will aid lots of people, including myself in dealing with their inner critic, which is something I am personally plagued with!

    Thank you! :)

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  5. This was a fantastic article and I will share it with everyone I know! It was most encouraging to me to think of my inner critic as actually looking out for my best interest in a weird way. It makes it easier to actually empathize with that voice but not have to take it seriously.

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  6. It’s now a year since I overcame my personal inner critic (oh lord, how have we fought and argued and”¦ well, you possibly know) and as I read through your text I nodded intensely at several occasions.

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  7. Fantastic article and very true.  For those wishing to explore this and other creative blocks further, I would like to suggest The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.  Although directed at artists (particularly writers), it is a fantastic resource for anybody desiring to tap into their inner creative self.

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  8. I am guilty of not following my own advice, but I find one can spend n months trying to decide how to do something, or spend n months trying to do it. The difference is that at the n month mark the latter method has yielded nothing less than n months of experience.

    The moral of the story: Just Do It.

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  9. I love this technique….but it never really occurred to me that I could consciously use it to banish my inner critic.  Prior to reading this, I had used it almost exclusively for entertainment purposes.  I’ve found that by being very, very bad in the past, I’ve been able to to make myself laugh…therefore side stepping ye olde critic by indirectly mocking him (me) and refusing to take him (myself) too seriously. 

    Thanks Denise!

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  10. Denise, this article is the perfect mix of big picture and actionable how-to info.

    Readers familiar with Ekhart Tolle’s “The Power of Now” will recognize some common ground. He promotes the idea in a slightly different way—that you are not your thoughts—that you are the witnessing presence for thoughts that pass through your mind. When you witness your thoughts, you can assess whether they’re valid or not (mostly not, in the inner critic context).

    Incidentally, I tried the Be Bad, Very Bad tip for a writing burst, choosing ridiculous font and everything, and it worked like magic. Thank you!

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  11. Thought I would post this here. My friend forwarded the article to me. Thanks Denise for a timely read.

    - – -

    Nate, thanks for passing this along. I subscribe to their feed but as with the more important stuff, a worthy article like this just sits on the sideline.

    I really good article and it hits very close to home. For years now I’ve felt trapped by myself. The majority of my life has been creating. There was a time where I just did, and explored and learned all kinds of stuff. It was like I had a greater fire in me that pushed me to chase my passions. It wasn’t affected by what other people thought. And my inner critic wasn’t even given the time of day because he/she didn’t exist in my world. But somewhere along the way that changed”¦

    Maybe as the article said it’s because I had achieved a certain amount of success and/or “mastery”. Now my inner critic was awakened. Funny how life works. Just when you think proficiency should be the wind behind the sails, it jumps in front of the ship and causes you to reflect too much*; very much obstructing your progress. At times it’s even paralyzing.

    The first paragraph very much sums up the nuances of navigating life: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sailing

    It’s time I turn off my thinking cap and embrace the opportunities that lie ahead. Got to get out there and just do it”¦again.

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  12. Denise, I enjoyed reading this so much. Really struck a lot of chords with me. I feel reading this has given me a different perspective on how I interactive with my work, a beneficial one too.

    thanks again.

    Cheers,

    Ian

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  13. /\ /\ /\

    PS. Sorry I said ‘Thanks again’ but I hadn’t thanked you the first time.

    Ian

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  14. @Nice2MeatU (aka Marco) – You hit the nail on the head! While this article is aimed at web industry folk, the message and advice truly is universal and can (and most likely does) apply to most people, regardless of industry. My hope is that this information gets to all of the people who need to hear it when they need to hear it.

    Congratulations to you for overcoming your troll! Good on ya for that major triumph!

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  15. @csherl – I am so glad you have decided to again take up the challenge of silencing the inner critic instead of living in what seems like an acceptable truce. Indeed, it is harder than just following along with a bunch of tips, but I do believe the effort is worth it.

    I’d love to hear of any progress you make, so feel free to reach out to me and share!

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  16. @NoneMoreNegative—ooh! I’d love to see you take on your inner critic in order to take on better projects! Please do give it a shot to tell your critic to take a hike so you can do the work that you know you can do :). And if you are willing to share any progress or triumphs, let me know!

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  17. @bespoke web desig by lawrence – Heh. I bet your work is fantastic. Comic sans is extremely underrated :).

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  18. @foxumon – So glad you liked the article! Yay!

    In terms of related resources, I would check out the site http://www.owningpink.com. They have a lot of great self-development articles. I think you’ll particularly like the ones by http://twitter.com/danatheus—her writing is a joy to read.

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  19. @adam_faux – Thank you for the compliment on the article, I’m pleased that you liked it and were able to get something out of it. My hope and goal was indeed for this information to help as many people as possible, so here’s to seeing it get in front of the eyes that are ready to see the information and the brains that are ready to process and act upon it.

    And you’re very, very welcome for the article. It was definitely my pleasure to write it.

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  20. @danchristopher – Yes, I like that concept as well, because then you can be understanding about it instead of combative. Going to battle usually is not as good as negotiation, right?

    By the way, I love your new app, http://colrd.com/! I hope it does well for you. I’ve saved it to delicious and tweeted it as a “Great Resource”. Good on ya for launching it!

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  21. I LOVE the video!! How perfect. I agree with Ira—I the root of people feeling that they are a failure is not lack of talent, but lack of perseverance. It is in the doing that we become inspired to keep going and do more, and it is in staying with it and doing more that we master skills. If you stop short, you rob yourself of the opportunity to have what you initially desired.

    Thanks for sharing that video. It is completely spot-on.

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  22. @DonHartness – Yes, The Artist’s Way is a fantastic resource for anyone looking to reclaim and own their lost/suppressed creativity. The process is intense, however—it definitely requires a true commitment to “go there”.

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  23. @Matt Fitzgerald – Yes, exactly! To paraphrase, it will take just as long to think about doing it as actually doing it, except with the latter, you actually have something to show for it.

    I’m definitely a fan of doing over thinking or talking about. I’m with you 100%.

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  24. @wilkowske – I have been wanting to read “The Power of Now” for years, ironically enough. And yes, exercising mindfulness/controlling the monkey mind is part of the underlying message of this article, although easier said than done without constant practice.

    I’m thrilled this you applied the advice and it got you through a writing burst. I realized that what you did is the equivalent of writing with your left hand in crayon: completely releasing the need to be right and perfect in order to better access the information that is waiting to get out of your brain onto paper. Nicely done!

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  25. @theFreelanceDesigner – it’s my pleasure to write something that resonated with you so much. And I say “yes” to removing the barriers that keep you from the success and flow that you used to experience. Here’s to embracing new opportunities!

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  26. @Bumph(aka Ian) – Awesome! Fantastic that you’ve got a new, positive perspective on and approach to work from this article. My nefarious plan worked! :)

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  27. Breathtakingly honest and very timely for me.  I appreciate your openness about a not oft talked about topic.  Definitely bookmarked for future emergencies!

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  28. @nataliedewhirst – Wonderful! It seems that the timing is right for quite a lot of people, so it should be comforting that you are not alone! I think that inner voice is everyone’s little secret, and they think they are the only ones that have such a voice. Not so – we all have it at one time or another.

    Some people have suggested the extreme of using the article as wallpaper, but I think just saving the link will probably be sufficient :).

    Please do let us know if you use any of the tips and which ones work best for you!

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  29. Some deep and thought provoking ideas here. Think I still have a long way to go (in a positive way) as I’m about the journey as much as the destination.

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  30. Very sound advise, this article reminds me of Seth Godin’s book Linchpin

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  31. Brilliant. Thank you!

    I was working on some logo designs yesterday. Each idea I had, I thought would be no good. When I allowed myself to put the “bad” ideas on paper, I was able to come up with some pretty decent work.
    It does take a bit of negotiation with your inner critic to get creative done. Thank you for the fantastic articulation.

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  32. I really needed to read this.

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  33. I’ve just realised I probably spend more time listening to my inner critic than I do my wife and kids. I suppose any advice for getting on well should be appreciated. Nice article Denise.

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  34. At a lost for words as my inner critic has officially taken a backseat.

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  35. Great Article. Really plesant read and so very true. Your examples felt bang on and I took away some great tips aswell as knowing that other creatives feel exactly the same.

    Thank you!

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.