This month, I’ve been actively looking at myself and observing my patterns of thought. We all have an inner critic, but for me, I feel like I have a particularly strong one.

I notice when things don’t meet my expectations. I notice when others behave in a way that contradicts what I value. I notice when I’m not disciplined and procrastinate. I notice when I’m feeling self-conscious, guilty, or not enough. I notice my need for approval, and how much rejection affects me. I notice when I’m stuck in analysis, and my fear of uncertainty in taking a big next step.


I believe that the first step in changing our patterns is to first become aware of them.


Through self-observation, and tracking it in a journal, I’ve become aware of these 10 beliefs that are holding me back:


1. I’m not enough

It’s so easy for my inner critic to find flaws in myself. I catch it telling me that I’m not where I “should” be for my age professionally or in terms of marriage. I catch it telling me that my body isn’t great because of the blemishes in my skin, the graying of my hair, or the changes to my physique as I’m aging. I catch it telling me that I’m not making enough money compared to others or not taking enough action towards my goals, and that’s why I’m not successful. It makes me buy into societal norms and expectations that I’ve believed about success, instead of measuring against my own standards, not others.


2. I’m not disciplined

My inner critic gets upset with me when I decide to take a break, makes me feel guilty when I’m doing something fun instead of working on my projects, and makes me feel bad for procrastinating.


3. I’m alone

When I’m working from home, and not taking enough time to connect with people, my inner critic tells me that I’m isolated, don’t have enough friends, and people don’t like me. It tries to latch on to the negative emotions when someone doesn’t invite me out to an event, a friend visits town and doesn’t make an effort to connect with me, and people whom I thought were on my side turn out to not be genuinely interested in making a connection.


4. I’m not healthy

Having grown up with a health condition, survived a brain tumour, having a weak immune system, and this year, coping with an anxiety issue, there are many ways my inner critic tries to remind me that I’m not well enough. It tries to sabotage my success, keep me in my comfort zone, and tell me that I shouldn’t aim for my lofty goals because my health won’t help me get there.


5. I’m not good at it

My inner critic looks back at the past to see examples of times I’ve failed, stumbled, or struggled, to show me that I am not good at things. For example, I didn’t do well in first year of law school, so my inner critic wants to make me believe that I won’t be successful in the profession. It wants to show me why something is too difficult for me to achieve, and tell me that I don’t have the skills, knowledge, network, resources or experience to succeed.


6. I won’t get approval

My inner critic thinks about the worse case scenario of how people will react; that my loved ones will reject my ideas, my customers won’t buy it, or that I will lose face. It wants me to believe that the opinions of others are more important than my own conviction. It wants me to believe that if some people don’t approve or support me, no one will, even though there are always people out there who are willing to support me.


7. It won’t work

Doubt is so easy to focus on, as I can easily focus on all the reasons why something might not work out. It gets me to think about what isn’t working now, and see things in black or white. It doesn’t help me create solutions, get creative, or pivot my ideas to figure out what works. It wants me to believe that just because I get stuck or reach a roadblock, I won’t be able to endure the challenge and find a way through it.


8. The timing is not right

My inner critic wants me to believe that I’m either too old, too young, it’s too soon, or it’s too late to do what I’m doing. It wants to tell me that I should have started sooner, or that I should wait to get more preparation. It wants to essentially tell me that I’m not ready to achieve this goal or claim this opportunity now.


9. I’m not deserving

This is essentially a fear of me stepping into my own power. It is the part of me that knows I am capable of greatness, but limits me because it makes me believe I am not worthy of it. It wants to keep me safe, comfortable, and protected. It puts on the brake when I’m going too fast, shuts down dreams that are too big, and negates me when I’m trying to tell this voice otherwise. It wants to tell me that other people are better than I am, more skilled, and have done more to get to where they have, and that it isn’t my time yet.


10. I won’t be okay

This is the voice that is afraid of the unknown and the uncertainty of going after what I want in life. It wants to know that the risks are calculated, the mistakes will be small enough to manage, and that the analysis of all the steps has been carried out. It wants to keep me in a state of preparing and analyzing over and over, instead of just taking the leap and learning how to swim. It wants to know the future with certainty, when that is the most unlikely possibility.



By becoming aware of what my patterns of thoughts are, I can look to my inner critic with compassion and see what it needs. It always has reasons why it is doing what it is, and the reasons reveal the underlying beliefs I hold in my subconscious. By acknowledging and recognizing the voice of my inner critic, I find it helps me then challenge the thoughts, observe the thoughts and let them pass, and as has been the case this month, spend time rewiring the limiting beliefs I have.

Enjoy recognizing the limiting thoughts and beliefs your inner critic has, and that it helps you start the process to transform them towards becoming your best self.


Reconnectfully Yours,