Quiet your inner critic and connect with your inner mentor

Everyone's heard of the inner critic. It's that loud, destructive voice in your head that fills you with self-doubt, judges, criticises and tells you you're not good enough. Even when you've done something really well, it still manages to fuel a 'negativity hangover' and you end up over-analysing what you could have done better instead of celebrating your success. Your inner critic gets in the way of your goals and dreams, always telling you to stay safely in your comfort zone. It seems hell-bent on sabotaging your success by tempting you back to old, unhelpful habits. 


It's important to understand your inner critic. Everyone has one, but they're all unique. Yours might be a perfectionist, a doubter, a critic, a catastrophiser, a taskmaster, or a procrastinator. But whatever the nature of your inner critic, it's important you don't let it run your life. You can't get rid of your inner critic, and you can't change it. But you can learn to understand it and eventually, quieten it.

One way of doing this is by connecting with your inner mentor.

The inner mentor

Your inner mentor is the best of who you are. It is a combination of your unique strengths and your kindest, wisest self. It's an internal voice you can draw upon to develop your inner strength, courage and confidence. It can help you make tough decisions, and it understands your unique path to what matters most in your life.

Connecting with your inner mentor

The inner critic is often much stronger than your inner mentor. Therefore, you have to spend time every day to connect with your inner mentor. Try the following:

1. Know your strength

Your inner critic is probably very quick to point out your flaws and weaknesses, so it's important to connect with your strengths and the best of who you are. 

The science of Positive Psychology has revealed that we are all a unique combination of 24 'character strengths'. There are many resources that help you to identify what your strengths are – I'd recommend the character strengths survey by viacharacter.org.

Pay particular attention to your top five strengths. Any time you notice your inner critic speaking loudly, think about how you can apply your top strengths to overcome challenges and achieve your goals.

2. The deathbed test

Your inner critic might be making it difficult to get clarity about what's important and what you truly want to achieve in life. This can make you feel unfulfilled. Maybe you get a sense that there must be more to life, but you don't know what it is, or you don't feel confident to go after it.

One way to connect with your inner mentor and gain clarity about what's important in your life is 'the deathbed test'. Try it now:

  • Close your eyes and imagine you are 100 years old and lying on your deathbed. Your great-grandchild asks, "Before you die, please tell me how I should live my life?" 
  • Spend some time writing what you would say. 

The advice you give to other people about how to live a fulfilling life is really the advice you need to hear yourself. Look at what you've written. To what extent are you living this life? To what extent is your inner critic sabotaging your true life's desires? 

3. Role models

Who do you look up to? Who really inspires you? This could be a family member, a real person who's dead or alive, or even a fictional character. Spend some time thinking about aspects of their personality or achievements you admire. What do you like about them? What qualities do you wish you could emulate? Chances are, you already possess these qualities but they're being drowned out by your inner critic.

When you catch your inner critic speaking loudly, ask, "What would my role model do?" This will help you tap into your inner mentor and think and behave in inspiring ways.

4. Best possible self

The inner critic loves to tell you how badly everything will turn out any time you want to step out of your comfort zone and try something new. It can be so powerful that it might make you feel too scared to take any action at all. For example, you might really want to go for a promotion at work, write a book, start a business, or try a new class, but your inner critic is telling you it'll turn out in disaster. So you don't even bother.

The trouble is, if you allow your inner critic to dictate what you can and can't do, you risk living a life of regret and unfulfilled potential.

An easy way to counter-balance this negative thinking and connect with your inner mentor by journaling about your best possible self:

Imagine a point in the future when you've achieved an important goal or outcome. Spend 20 minutes a day for three days journaling about what you've achieved.

Think about important goals you've accomplished, challenges you overcame, positive emotions you're experiencing, conversations you're having, and the positive benefits of what you've achieved.

20 minutes is quite a long time to write. Don't worry about spelling and grammar, and making it sound amazing. Just let the pen flow and be as detailed as you possibly can. 

5. Spend time in nature

It's important to get away from screens and the chaos of life by spending time in nature. Put your phone on airplane mode so you won't be disturbed and connect to the sights, sounds and smells. Sit quietly and take a few mindful breaths.

With each breath, connect with your inner mentor and give them life. Reflect on your strengths, your best possible self, and the things that truly matter in your life. Think about your achievements and what you are grateful for. 

Spending just 30 minutes in nature will help quieten your inner critic. It will make you more able to problem-solve and give you clarity of thought to make good decisions.

What next?

Coaching is a great way to explore your inner critic and connect with your inner mentor so you can live courageously and achieve what matters. For more information, contact me via my Life Coach Directory profile, or visit my website.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Life Coach Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Bridgend, Vale Of Glamorgan, CF32
Written by Rebecca Bland, Accredited Leadership Coach (ICF ACC | MSc)
Bridgend, Vale Of Glamorgan, CF32

Bec Bland is Positive Psychologist (MSc) and Accredited ICF ACC Coach helping individuals, leaders and businesses flourish in our increasingly challenging world and workplaces.

For more information, feel free to reach out and book a complimentary consultation call.

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