Are you your own worst critic? Do you censor yourself even before you speak for fear of sounding dumb? Do you look at yourself in the mirror and point out all the bad bits about yourself instead of appreciating the good bits? Mwereti Kanjo finds out how you can kick out this cold inner critic to the curb and start believing in yourself.
Imagine this; you are in a room, a meeting at the office or church, or you are out with friends and in that group is a guy you have secretly liked for a long time. You promised yourself to behave and only say the smart things to impress but the moment you open your mouth what you say is so inane, well at least to you. The more you try to correct it you find yourself sounding more and more absurd.
You hear a voice in your head reminding you that anything you ever say is silly. This voice keeps pounding and pounding all night that you forget where you are and you just want to die of embarrassment. You know it is not the first time because you have spent most of your life listening to the voice in your head that keeps asking what is wrong with you, listing all the things you cannot do even if you try and why things will never be any different. You are always in fear of people who seem to be full of confidence and never lose their composure.
The routine has slowly eaten at your self esteem and the critic in you refuses to shut up. So, how do you get rid of that voice?
Professor in psychology, Chiwoza Bandawe says the first step is awareness of what you are doing. Next, respond in a particular way and work through it by asking yourself questions. He says it is always helpful to work with the opposite by trying to see the good of what you are doing. Ask yourself what good can come out of this (always being a critic to yourself) and then dwell on the good parts.
Bandawe advises that you make a list of all the good things that have ever happened to you or times when you felt you made a good contribution. No matter how small this list may be, try and dwell on it and realise that you have the capabilities to be more than you consider yourself to be.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It is important to ask yourself where you think the critic comes from. This is because some people have grown up in environment where family and friends never appreciated anything they did. Even though they moved away from those people, they adopted the critic. In some cases, you find that because of this background, people might criticise themselves of things that have not happened yet.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“You have to believe that things will always work for the good. When you stand up in a room to make a contribution, believe that what you are going to say is worthwhile and that you have the capabilities to stand up tall,Ã¢â‚¬Â advises Bandawe.
Dr. Martin Seligman, psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania says to get rid of the critic, you can adopt a three-step technique which will work miracles. He says first you have to recognise that the thought is there and then you must learn to treat that thought as if it were said by some third person whose job in life was to make your life miserable and finally you must learn to dispute it, to marshal evidence against it.