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Please note that Current of Life was previously published under the title: Living Your Potential

Living Your Potential

Your Toughest Critic

(#2 of 7) from the series: Does Positive Thinking Really Work?

Your Toughest Critic is YOU

In the last issue, I invited you to begin noticing your internal dialogue.  What do you say when you talk to yourself?  If you are like most people, you may have detected the voice of a critic who occasionally intrudes with unsolicited commentary on just about anything. 

We all have an internal critic and these critics are not objective reporters.  Their editorials are more like rants and they tend toward sarcastic exaggerations and distortions.  They say things like…Wow, you really blew it this time.  Are you kidding me?  That’ll never work.  Remember when you tried that before? 

Give it a Name

One way to diffuse the impact of your critic’s words is to be familiar enough so that you realize when your critic is “in the room”.  Don’t be afraid to meet this creature.  Give it a name.  One woman with whom I’m working calls hers “The Sneak”.  Another man refers to his as “Captain Blubber Mouth”.  This may sound a bit silly, but humor loosens the critic’s grip. 

It is also a good idea to identify when you are most vulnerable to an attack from your critic.  For instance, mine tends to come knocking when I’m overtired.  Another common experience is to hear from your critic right before you are tackling a difficult task or considering a new idea.  Just knowing this helps put your critic’s remarks in the proper perspective.  You can give your critic air time, as long as you limit it.

A good resource for this work is a book entitled Taming Your Gremlin® by Rick Carson1.  (It’s easy to read, insightful, and written with humor.)

Your Assignment

Think about the characteristics of your critic.  Is she subtle or blatant?  Does he whisper or scream?  Give your critic a name.  Write down some of the remarks you hear.  What are the underlying messages and assumptions?  That you’re too young, too old, too smart, or not “something” enough?  Identifying them is the first step toward balancing the scales.

Your toughest critic may be you, but actually, your critic is just a figment of your imagination.  You are not your critic. You are much more. 

Next time we’ll explore what you can do with operating beliefs that you’ve outgrown.

Here's to you,
Ginny's signature

(1) Rick Carson, Taming Your Gremlin®: A Surprisingly Simple Method for Getting Out of Your Own Way, (New York, HarperCollins, 2003).  You can also visit Rick Carson’s website at:

© 2005, Virginia M. Kravitz and In the Current®. All Rights Reserved. You are welcome to reproduce this article provided it is without any alteration, includes the copyright above, and if distributing electronically includes a link to

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