2. Identifying yourself with your characteristics and your mistakes, thinking that this is who you are.
3. Exaggerating, such as looking at a one-time negative experience as a recurring situation rather than realizing it is an incident - nothing more, nothing less.
4. Mental filtering: the tendency to convert neutral or positive experiences into negative ones and constantly preoccupying yourself with these ‘negative’ experiences.
5. Mind reading: this refers to the tendency to instantly and persistently think you know what others are thinking, including what they think about you, like that people look down on you and think negatively of you, without any verification whether this assumption is correct.
6. The crystal ball: predicting the future with an ever bad ending without any sensible data supporting this prediction.
7. Responding emotionally: using your emotions as the basis for your thoughts and actions rather than the other way around. One example is: “I feel inferior so I must be inferior.”
8. Should/must be – should/must have thinking: criticizing yourself with should-haves and overly strict rules and impossible demands.
9. Self-blame or accountability gone wild: holding just you responsible for things that have happened (or not happened) in situations where you are only partly or totally not responsible. Be assured, this is not a plea against personal accountability which I regard as a crucial element of a healthy person and a healthy society.
confidence and it’s not getting me anywhere.”
2. Confirming your self-esteem by realizing that your worth as a person doesn’t change with a mistake, and it is not just comprised of your failures. Your self-esteem starts with accepting who you are, with your strengths and you’re your shadows. (This is again, not a license to not hold yourself accountable. It is just a license not to condemn and criticize yourself overly.)
3. Make the internal critic redundant by a healthier handling of:
a. The absolute need to do everything right, the first time.
b. An over-concern with praise and a total melt-down in the absence of praise.
c. The need to control all negative feelings like the feelings associated with failing. The good news and the bad news is one and the same: Everyone who lives and takes risks, will fail at some point in time. Fail forward and upward by learning from it and by realizing that failing is part of living.
d. Fear of rejection, anger, and frustration. Three feelings commonly known as ‘negative’ feelings but they are part of life. Know them, see them developing, curb them where you can and accept that they are part of life just as joy, pride, and happiness are.
4. Be kind to yourself. People with a strong internal critic usually haven’t properly learned to be kind and to take care of themselves. What do you see when you look in the mirror? Are you highly critical of yourself? Do you just see that slight dent in your nose and that pimple on your cheek that seems to be growing more and more important as you look into that mirror longer? These perceptions and thoughts leave you feeling inadequate and unattractive. Or do you notice that your hair has a beautiful shine to it and that your eye lashes are long and beautiful, despite the dent and the pimple that are also there? The picture in the mirror, of course, remains the same, but what you focus on, whether it’s when looking in the mirror or when evaluating your day or your skills and accomplishments, your positive and caring thoughts about yourself make a difference in terms of your mood and your self-esteem, and therefore in your next steps and the results you create.
5. Last, the way you handle guilt and mistakes is often related to the internal critic. Guilt is only a helpful emotion up to the point where it leads to insights and correction and where ever it leads to more responsible future behavior. For many people, however, guilt simply leads them into feeling bad, worried and depressed, possibly avoiding the issue or self-medicating with alcohol or drugs. Remember, guilt can go on forever, while a mistake, so common for humans, can often be corrected.