Here’s another way to handle your inner critic. Have it speak with a British accent. Or a French accent. Or if you’re British, try an American accent.
In other words, if you speak with an accent when you hear your inner critic speak, you can reduce the emotional charge of what your inner critic is saying. Your inner critic sounds different, and that shifts your perception.
Here’s an example of John using the technique…
Meet John Smith. He’s just said the wrong thing during a Zoom call. And he’s beating himself up over it. John says, “Ugh! You’re so stupid! Why’d you have to say that? Now they’ll think you’re incompetent.”
Now imagine John’s just learned this technique about the British accent.
Now he’ll speak aloud using a British accent. I realize this is text on a screen, so you’ll have to imagine him speaking with a Hollywood-style, stereotypical, British accent. It’s the type of accent that would offend Brits… or just make them laugh if they heard him.
With the accent, John says (as his inner critic), “Oh bloody hell! You’re going to make me chunder my lunch! You cocked up that meeting trying to be so posh.”
Again, remember John’s saying it in a comedic way with an over-the-top British accent.
If John didn’t know British slang, he’d use his usual words, and he’d spice it up with whatever British phrases he has. If that’s zero, he’d just use the accent. But it’s helpful to throw in something British, even if it’s just a British word or famous name.
He’s not offending any British friends as he’s doing this privately. The more over-the-top and funnier he makes it, the larger the benefit.
Remember, the goal is to decrease the emotional charge from the inner critic’s words.
How we hear the inner critic’s words affects our emotional state. If the inner critic speaks in an accent, speaks in a comedic way, or a sexy way, or has some different characteristic, the more we may decrease the emotional charge.
If you prefer to use a French accent, go for it.
Really, any accent would be fine, as long as whatever accent you hear makes you smile. Obviously don’t use an accent that makes you feel bad.
You may also choose a voice, such as a cartoon character’s voice.
Or a celebrity’s voice that you’d find amusing. Speak in any accent/voice that makes the inner critic’s words feel less serious.
If you practice this whenever you criticize yourself, you’ll likely find that your inner critic’s power becomes smaller and smaller. Have a conversation with your inner critic, and each time it says something, remember to have it speak with the accent.
It may take a few days or weeks to remember to speak in that way. Consistency takes a bit of time.
Heck, even if you only do it once, you may find benefit. Do an experiment or two or three… and let me know how it goes via email or in a blog comment.