The Overly-Critical Voice in Your Head

Have you ever noticed that — of all the people in your life — the one putting the most pressure on you is you??

This can be frustrating, but it happens to a lot of people. My guess is that over time you’ve developed really high standards for yourself, and you hold yourself to these standards even when they’re unnecessary or impossible to reach.

Over time the constant striving and pressure can lead to all sorts of issues like

  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Chronic pain or muscle tension
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Upset stomach
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Feelings of dread

… all possible signs of stress and burnout.

The worst part is, a lot of time my clients don’t recognize the colossal height of the standards they set, and don’t see their inner critic for what it is: just *one* voice in a sea of many. They think the inner critic, driving them to perfection, IS 100% THEM. But it’s not!

The critical voice is part of you, yes. It exists to protect you from harm, both physical (even when the odds of this are low) and emotional (rejection, disappointment, abandonment, etc). The thing to know about it is that it works too well in most cases. We don’t NEED such a high level of protection.

Some people believe that their critical voice is the main thing that motivates them. And while it can be a motivating force, unfortunately it comes with a price.

Rebalancing the inner critic with other, wiser components of self can be part of the work of individual and/or group therapy. It’s not an overnight process. It starts with noticing when your inner critic has the wheel —

  • what it says,
  • how it sounds to you,
  • the types of things it’s telling you to do or be.

Your ability to see the inner critic for what it is (often unreasonable, panicky, even nasty or desperate) is the first step toward shifting your focus to other voices within.

If you’ve been following along on this page for a little while, I hope you’ll consider getting on the list for my upcoming group, Battling Burnout! More info here>> stephaniedobbin.com/groups