Changing Your Mind:

Taming your internal critic

By Suzen Fiskin
Reader Columnist

You’re going about your day minding your own business. You go to the mailbox and discover that you spaced out on paying your credit card bill. Fill in your favorite obscenity, and then “KABOOM!” – that nasty voice from within gets busy.

“Can’t you do anything right? What are you, stupid? You’ll never get ahead . . . you’re a loser!”

Ah, yes . . . the familiar rantings of our internal critic. That personal saboteur that never misses a chance to make us feel like something we stepped in and have to wipe off our shoes.

Suzen Fiskin.

Suzen Fiskin.

The real challenge is that these voices are usually beneath our conscious awareness, and most folks don’t believe we have any control over them.

Think again! You can make peace with that critical voice and have it work with you rather than against you. While I can’t dig deeply with you individually here, I can offer a fun technique that will give you a running head start on how to turn that negativity around.

I had a client who came to me because he felt like a failure. By all external signs, Bob was very successful. He was a partner in a thriving law firm, made upwards of $500k a year, had a wife he loved, happy kids, and he’d just won a huge case. Not exactly the makings of defeat!

It was time to check in with his unconscious mind. I got him relaxed and put him into a light trance. From this state, I asked him to go back to a recent time when he felt like a failure (his word for it). I watched his face contort and knew he’d landed on something. With a few more questions, he revealed that the morning after winning his recent big case, he had a loud, authoritative voice coming from the behind his head that said, “That’s not good enough . . . You can do better!”

His best wasn’t good enough. No wonder he couldn’t feel successful!

I asked him to recall some other times when he’d heard that voice. It was no surprise that it was his father’s, and I asked him what his father’s positive intention was. Bob shared that his dad had sacrificed his own dreams of being an attorney so that his son go to law school. He wanted his boy to enjoy the success that he’d never known.

After understanding this, Bob was better, but the voice still had an impact. We did a variation of the following technique that you can do for yourself that helped him change that voice around:

1. Close your eyes and relax somewhere quiet. Take some slow, deep breaths.

2. Remember a time when your inner critical voice gave you a hard time.

3. Pay careful attention to where the voice comes from, the tone, the pitch, the volume, the pace, the words. Whose voice is it? Is it angry, sad, urgent, or?

4. Ask the voice what its positive intention is for you. How is it trying to help you? What does it want to make sure you do, or say or believe?

You might need some help from a pro with this one, however, the next step should reduce the impact of that inner negatoma!

5. These voices usually come from behind or in either ear. Move that inner critic to the front of you. Push it away from your body and shrink it until it’s very small.

Here’s the fun part!

Pop that voice into your right big toe. Now give it a big hit of helium until it’s a high pitched squeak like Mickey Mouse. Have the voice say what it said over and over in this new weird tone.

Nine times out of ten, #5 will take away a lot of the sting from that nasty voice. If you manage to laugh, it’s even better.

Please write me at the email address below if you had an interesting experience with this process or have a question.

Have a great week!

With over two decades of experience, Suzen Fiskin is a certified Clinical Hypnotherapist, Master of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Success Coach, and speaker. She has a blossoming personal development practice in Sandpoint. She is also the author of “Playboy Mansion Memoirs.”

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