Who’s Managing Your Decisions – You or Your Inner Critic?

May 09, 2014  |   Inner Critic   |     |   4 Comments

I remember when I was 26 and I wanted to go back to school, my inner critic was raging with all the reasons I must be crazy even to consider such a thing.  This is what ran through my mind those many years ago…..”For heaven’s sake, don’t be an idiot, you’re not smart enough to go to college or university and even if you do go you will never pass, just stop being ridiculous.”  HARSH!! 

I still remember the strongest message playing over and over in my mind was this…”What if you fail, what if you’re not smart enough?”  I have to say, if anyone I knew ever talked to me that way, I would have nothing to do with them and yet this is what my inner voice was telling me.

That negative messaging almost won, but I vividly recall telling myself…”the only way you will fail is if you don’t try; if you try, then you have succeeded.”  That last internal discussion redefined what success was, and gave me the courage to take my first step to pursue that goal.  I set up an appointment with a career counsellor at the local college to talk about what I wanted to do.  It was hard and it was scary, and it was one of the best decisions I ever made.

That moment changed my life forever because I chose to stand in

the possibility of what could be – versus standing in my limiting beliefs.

At that time in my life, I had little to no awareness of the power of my internal critic and I certainly had no idea how often I made decisions based on the overpowering negative chatter that raged within every time I wanted to step into something new in my life.  Today I recognize whenever I am entering into change, stepping into the unknown, contemplating taking on something new in my life, my inner critic raises its ugly head and works hard to convince me to stay where I am at, to refrain from following my heart and my dreams because it is safer to stay where I am at.  That may all be true, but I have never grown from listening to that internal judge that tells me I can’t!!  If I had listened to the stories I was telling myself when considering a post-secondary education, I would never have gone to college, I would never have gone to university and I certainly would never have had the professional career I have had as a direct result of pursuing my goal to further my education.    

We all have an internal critic or several of them!  Whether we recognize it or not, we all tell ourselves stories that limit our potential and our ability to step into the unknown, to follow our dreams, and to believe fully in ourselves.  Today, I am extremely aware of my internal judging critic who I refer to as Negative Nellie and I have strategies for shutting Nellie down so she cannot negatively interfere in my decision-making. 

Tips to lessen the power of your internal critic are:

  1. 1.  Awareness – notice when it shows up and when it is most powerful in your life;
  2.      you cannot change what you are not aware of;
  3. 2.  Understand whether the stories you are telling yourself are true or lies; and
  4. 3.  Develop strategies for silencing your internal noise so it is not limiting your ability
  5.       to choose what it is you want for your life (what is in your best interest).


  1. 1.  When does your inner critic show up?
  2. 2.  How does this limit you from reaching your full potential?
  3. 3.  How are you managing your internal critic?

Here is a fun video a colleague shared with me.  Kick Your Gremlin’s AssYouTube

I’d love to hear how you manage your inner critic….


4 Comments for this entry

    May 16th, 2014 on 11:00 am

    Thank you for this post Heather – For me, simply the awareness of the inner critic helped me realize what I was or was not doing. It amazed me at how powerful the inner critic can be.

    I recently read a quote… something to the effect of… the only limitations in life are the ones we place on ourselves.

    I am actively working on kicking my gremlin’s ass :)!!

      May 25th, 2014 on 7:56 am

      Randeep – good for you!!
      Thanks so much for your response.
      It is indeed amazing how active and negative that internal chatter can be and what is most interesting is how often we are unaware of its presence in our decision-making.
      Keep on managing your gremlins…so they are not managing you!!

        August 12th, 2016 on 6:13 am

        Unevbielable how well-written and informative this was.

    August 12th, 2016 on 6:05 am

    So true. Honesty and everything reegzniocd.

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