Shame: A Feast For The Inner Critic

Let's get real--everyone feels embarrassed sometimes.

You’re sure that you were right, and it turns out that you were wrong. 

You were late for your best friend’s wedding. 

Your zipper was open or your skirt got tucked into your underpants. 

Yes, your red face lasts for a few seconds then fades. You might blush every time you remember over the next day. But you DO forget. Eventually, you don't even remember that moment. But shame is another story.

Shame can last a lifetime.

It can begin in childhood when a teacher says, “you should be ashamed of yourself.” When you misbehave, your mother might tell you she's ashamed of you. Every time you do something wrong or make a mistake this feeling of shame gets reinforced. 

Eventually, shame becomes an ingrained, conditioned response any time you don’t meet your own idealized image of being right (or being good or being strong or being smart or being anything less than perfect).

This becomes a...

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How Your Inner Critic Makes You Go Dumb

What happens when you get stuck in confusion? When you are just uncertain about what is going on in your life, what is actually going on? This might surprise you, but it comes down to fear and your Inner Critic trying to suppress your emotions. Tune in to this week’s episode of the Dethroning Your Inner Critic Podcast to hear Joanna’s take on your Inner Critic Making you go dumb:

Here are this week’s reflection questions:

  • Where are you stuck in confusion, or the “I don’t know” in your life?
  • What feelings come up for you around making decisions: past, present, and future?
  • What’s the next decision that you’re going to make?
  • Those emotions that you don’t want to feel: where is that emotion in your body?
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Your Inner Critic and Your Relationships

On this week’s episode of the Dethroning Your Inner Critic Podcast, Joanna talks about how to rewire your automatic thoughts that affect your automatic reactions regarding relationships. She talks about how your Inner Critic takes control of your emotions to make you feel like a victim in relationships.

Here are this week’s reflection questions:

  • Where is your Inner Critic hiding in your relationships with others?
  • What’s the impact of your Inner Critic’s messages on your current relationships with the people who matter the most to you?
  • What expectations of your Inner Critic are you currently listening to?

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People Pleasing and Your Inner Critic

This week on The Dethroning Your Inner Critic Podcast, Joanna is talking about people pleasing: what it means, why it happens, and how to talk to the people pleaser in yourself to take back control. People pleasing is a huge operating tactic for the Inner Critic, she latches on to the thoughts you may have about upsetting someone and uses those thoughts to control your interactions with others. To transform your life, it’s imperative that you become intimately familiar with these old, automatic, conditioned thoughts that come from your Inner Critic.

Here are this week’s reflection questions:

  • What is the voice inside your head truly saying when you say “yes” to something that you don’t want to do?
  • When was that time in your childhood when your Inner Critic latched on to your feelings of unworthiness?
  • What can you do today to recognize when these conditioned thoughts from your Inner Critic are appearing?

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Is Your Inner Critic Being a B*$ch about Spring?

Now that it’s Spring, we’re putting away our winter coats. The daffodils are out, the sun is shining, and the days are longer. Many of us feel the pull to spend more time outside, clear away the cutter in our homes, or maybe take on a new eating or exercise routine.

For others, the change of the season is just another reason for their Inner Critic to hyper-focus on what is missing in their life. The newness of Spring is another reminder that someone else is happier. (And if you need proof, just take a look at your Instagram feed!)

When it feels like life is better for your Facebook friends on the beach for Spring break, your Inner Critic is jumping straight into the “shoulding”. She’s saying, “It’s Spring. Everyone loves Spring. You should too. You’re supposed to be happy! Everyone else is!”

Does any of this sound familiar? You’re not alone.

Here’s the thing: When your Inner Critic is triggered by the newness of...

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The Key to a Joyful Life

In over twenty years as a psychotherapist, I’ve discovered that the voice in my head, which is what I call my Inner Critic, constantly wants me to look to the outside world - relationships, degrees, achievements, and everywhere but inside myself - to give me my self-worth.

For most of us, our Inner Critics tell us, “If you just lose that weight, make more money, get married, get divorced, get a different job, find new friends, get a bigger house, then you’ll truly be happy.” Or she might say, “you need to be more spiritual in order to be happy. You need to pray more, meditate more, relax more, have more free time, have a hobby, find your passion. Then you will truly be happy. ”

But the truth is that the longer we pursue these goals as a means of attaining happiness, the more we recognize that the feeling of happiness or peach when the goal is met never lasts long. We don’t stop to realize that the automatic thoughts about ourselves and our...

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How to Ignore the Lies Our Inner Critic Tells Us

For so many of my clients, their sense of self actually comes from the messages of their Inner Critic. It's so easy to believe her negative messages even when our lives give us a totally opposite message. 

This means that if your Inner Critic tells you that you're are not good enough, no matter how many people love you, no matter how much success you've had in your life, no matter how many compliments you have received, you'll only listen to what our Inner Critic says.

In fact, when we hear those positive things about ourselves, we think we've fooled the ones we love. If they really knew us the way we “know” ourselves, they would see what we know to be true. 

What if who we believe we are think we are is really the lies our Inner Critic has been telling us for our whole lives?

Listening to the lies of our Inner Critic means that we don't allow people to get too close for feat that they'll discover we're not good enough. She keeps...

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How to Move Past The Feeling You're Not Enough

I've always loved this old Cherokee Indian legend that illustrates the battle between ourselves and our Inner Critic beautifully. 

An old man is teaching his grandson about life. 

“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil–he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”

He continued, “The other is good–he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.

The same fight is going on inside you–and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

So many of us struggle with unrealistic expectations about what our lives "should" look...

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Moving Past The "What Ifs"

The only thing that's consistent in life is change. Our lives are full of opportunities to make decisions. 

Most choices are easy to make: 

  • Which movie should I go to?
  • What should I make for dinner?
  • What outfit should I wear today?

Much more difficult and confronting are the decisions which are life altering:

  • Do I get married?
  • Do I get divorced?
  • Do I have a baby?
  • Do I have another child?
  • Do I quit my job?
  • Do I relocate my family for my work?

Any time you face a decision (big or small), you set your Inner Critic up to scream. She can ruin your evening if you find yourself overdressed at a party. She can spoil lovely family time if they didn’t like what you prepared. But much more significantly, she can paralyze your ability to take action in circumstances that will change your life.

Your Inner Critic can keep you stuck in mind boggling indecision, undermining any possibility of moving forward, one way or another. Her favorite way of accomplishing this is...

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