How often do you find yourself “stung” by criticism?  I found myself fearing the possible sting of criticism in writing this blog post.  It’s a fact; putting my thoughts out on the internet is an opening for criticism.

Thanks to some recent reading and program work (Positive Intelligence by Shirzad Chamine and Playing Big by Tara Mohr), here are a few ideas I’ve woven together:

The harshest criticism comes from the voice in our head.  This voice, often called the inner critic or saboteur, is intended to keep us safe.  Based on the work by Mr. Chamine, the universal saboteur and harshest critic is the Judge.  The Judge exaggerates the negative and assumes the worst. This made sense when we needed to assume there was a tiger in the bushes and run.  Today, the Judge criticizes us personally by reminding us of past mistakes and perceived shortcomings. The Judge also criticizes the people around us and makes us self-righteous.  The Judge is seen as the cause of much of the drama in our lives.

We are also surrounded by real-life, 2-legged critics every day.  Maybe it’s your boss, spouse, or a co-worker. Historically, I told myself to, “Get a thicker skin, Sue.” What I finally realize is the criticism; or as I prefer to call it, feedback, says more about the person giving it than it does me. The aim is to hear the criticism and not get “stung.”  Remember this is another person’s view of the situation or circumstances. It does not have to be your view.

Okay, so what do you do when you notice you have been “stung?”  

Here are a couple of “remedies” for your medicine cabinet:

For the harshest of critics, the Judge, consider simply noticing when that voice shows up and call it out for what it is. Make it a game and see if you can catch the Judge criticizing you, others, or your circumstances at least 20 times a day. This may sound easier than it is.  My personal experience is my Judge was such an integral part of me; I didn’t recognize it as anything but my own voice. Be patient with yourself and really listen, you’ll hear it.  Give yourself a gift the first time you catch it 10 times in one day.

And what about those 2-legged critics?  On one hand, it’s good to be aware of other’s feedback.  On the other hand, it’s not about taking it to heart and believing every word.  Feedback should be filtered for what’s useful and processed appropriately.

Have you ever noticed how some criticisms stick like glue and others just flow off your back?  Typically, the criticisms that stick are the ones we might actually believe about ourselves. These criticisms are good places to start looking at your own negative beliefs about yourself.  Consider doing some journaling around these beliefs to discern what’s true and what isn’t.     

Engaging with a certified coach can help you identify your inner critic, how it might be “driving” you, and put you on a new course.  A coach will also help identify and reconcile negative beliefs that might be keeping you from being your best self.

TAKE ACTION:  Notice your Judge, journal about your negative beliefs, and schedule a complimentary session below or click: (https://suefrystriveandthrive.as.me/Sting) to dig a bit deeper into what’s keeping you from being your best self.