Your Inner Critic vs Inner Coach – Let your Inner Coach Win

embracing inner coach

Your Inner Critic vs Inner Coach – Let your Inner Coach Win

We all have that internal battle between our inner critic and our inner coach. But let’s take a look at letting your inner coach win – once and for all.



Your Inner Critic vs Inner Coach

Does everyone have an inner critic?

The True Benefits of Self-Compassion and Inner Coach

Steps to Silence our Inner Critic

Steps to Embrace your Inner Coach

If you too are sitting on the fence about Self-Compassion and Inner Coach, here’s what you need to know


Your Inner Critic vs Inner Coach

More Connection Less Judging
More Connection Less Judging

It was Sunday night and I was clearing up in the kitchen. I’ve always enjoyed this time alone because it gives me a chance to savor the weekend and mentally gear up for a week of work.

That night though, I struggled. I’d wanted to get an important piece of writing done all day but had put it aside to spend time with my children who were visiting from college. They had loaded their dishes in the dishwasher and were now enjoying the Raptors game on TV. Their enjoyment grated on the frustration of my unfinished work and my inner chatter found the crack it had been waiting for.

Sneakily, it knocked onto deep-seated feelings of hurt:

They really don’t care about you as long as they’re having a great time” it whispered.

And because I listened, it became louder and more catastrophic by the minute, until it announced with a flourish:

One day you’ll be hospitalized and all alone, and no one will come to visit.”

I wish I’d realized the absurdity of my thoughts instead of letting them feed my emotions. I didn’t, and was soon beside myself with anger, until, I’m embarrassed to admit, I burst out of the kitchen like a raging bull and unleashed my fury all over my startled children.

What followed then is best left alone. Suffice to say that once I’d extracted myself to the quiet of my bedroom, I was flooded by the warm wash of shame. My inner chatter, the same voice that had egged me on, now turned against me. 

Oh, so you’re a coach are you, helping women manage their emotions?”

“If only your book publisher could see you now, you fake little expert on women’s leadership.”

“You’re pathetic Homaira, fat chance you have now of your children ever wanting to come home for the weekend.”

If you’re a parent, you’ve likely reacted in similar ways. Let me make you feel a little better by reminding you that I’m not only a mother, I’m also a women’s leadership coach writing a book on women’s confidence. Even if you’re not a mother, you’ve undoubtedly had moments of surging thoughts and emotions that lead to reactive and regretful behavior. Coach or not, it happens to all of us. As humans, we’ve been gifted with what professor Paul Gilbert, founder of the Compassionate Mind Foundation, calls a “tricky brain” that monitors our world AND ourselves, and gets hung up on the negative as a way to safeguard our survival.

In a world where actual threats to our physical safety are rare, our brains aren’t always our best friends. Way too many of us beat down on ourselves for minor transgressions to our standards, and for our human mistakes. Women in particular have an especially vicious inner critic that turns up its nose at our successes and flagellates us for our failures.

Here’s the thing. When we beat down on ourselves for what we did (or didn’t do), we lose sight of the full picture, and our actions are aimed at self-protection. We can shut down in shame, justify our actions, blame others (especially those weaker than us), or seek sympathy in a desperate attempt for love and acceptance. Ironically, none of these behaviors builds the confidence that comes from knowing we did the right thing.


Does everyone have an inner critic?

does everyone have an inner critic
Does everyone have an inner critic?

Yes, everyone has an inner critic. 

We all have that little voice inside our head that tells us we’re not good enough, that we can’t do something, or that we’re going to fail. For some people, this inner critic is louder and more negative than for others. But we all have it to some extent. The good news is that we can learn to silence our inner critic and to focus on our strengths instead.


The True Benefits of Self-Compassion and Inner Coach

your inner coach
What you say to yourself matters

Luckily, there’s a better way. It’s in being kind and understanding of ourselves precisely when we’ve acted in ways that didn’t make us proud. Because it’s easy to blow good morning kisses in the mirror when things are going well. But how often have you been there for yourself when you’ve needed yourself the most?

When I talk about self-compassion or your inner coach with my clients, I get one of two responses. It’s either disbelief — they look at me somewhat thrown off, not sure how to talk to themselves in a kind way. Or it’s resistance. They’re convinced that acceptance of their actions means they’ll fall short of their standards. This is especially true for my Type A personality clients who are ambitious, and want to get ahead. Little do they realize that their self-talk is what’s getting in their way.


Steps to Silence our Inner Critic

your inner critic
Try positive self talk

Our inner critic is that little voice in our head that tells us we’re not good enough, that we’re going to fail or that we’re not worthy of success. It’s the one that holds us back from going after our dreams and achieving our goals. 

Here are five steps to silencing your inner critic: 

Acknowledge your inner critic. Acknowledge it. As soon as those little “You’re not good enough” kind of talk starts, recognize when it’s talking – and then tell it to pipe down. Because you’re going to do great things.

Thank your inner critic. “Thank you, inner critic, for always being there for me. You were there when I was a kid, telling me I couldn’t do things, and you’re still here now, telling me the same thing. But I’m grateful for you. You’ve made me who I am today. Thank you for making me doubt myself, for making me question everything I do – as sometimes this is important. Thank you for making me work harder and for never giving up on me. Thank you, inner critic, for always being there for me. Now bugger off, and let me get back to being me, and being great.”

Reframe your inner critic’s statements. Instead of “I’m not good enough,” try “I’m doing my best.” Instead of “I can’t do this,” try “I can try.” 

Instead of “I’m going to fail,” try “I’ll learn from this.” 

The more you practice reframing your negative self-talk, the easier it will become. And soon, you’ll start to see yourself in a whole new light.

Find evidence to support your reframe. Once you have this reframing evidence, it’ll be easier for you to adjust your mindset and start seeing things in a new light. “I can’t do this” – the evidence is “you have always done this in the past, so today is not going to be any difference. You got this girl”.

Silence your inner critic with positive self-talk. When you start speaking kindly to yourself, you’ll notice a difference in how you feel about yourself and your ability to achieve your goals. Soon, the inner critic will be nothing more than a faint whisper in the back of your mind! “Shhhh up inner critic, I am worthy, I am good enough”.


Steps to Embrace your Inner Coach

your inner critic embrace the inner coach
Embrace your inner coach

If you’re looking to access your inner coach, here are a few key steps: 

Define what you want: The first step is to get clear on what you want to achieve. Without a specific goal, it will be difficult to measure your progress. 

Get to know your inner coach: Once you have clarity on what you want, start to get to know your inner coach. This means becoming aware of the voice inside your head that is always giving you advice. 

Listen to your inner coach: Once you are aware of your inner coach, start listening to the advice she is giving you. This advice will be tailored specifically for you and will help you reach your goal. 

Trust your inner coach: The final step is to trust your inner coach. This means following the advice she gives you, even if it seems counterintuitive. Remember, she knows what’s best for you!


If you too are sitting on the fence about Self-Compassion and Inner Coach, here’s what you need to know

embracing inner coach
Here’s what you need to know if you’re still on the fence

Self-compassion is not about complacency, lack of responsibility or letting yourself off the hook. It’s the compassionate acceptance of everything you criticize yourself for, whether it’s emotions, thoughts, actions, weaknesses or faults. Research shows that acceptance shifts your focus from the negative and widens your perspective so you see the full picture. And it’s from this place of grounded-ness that you find the courage to take responsible and reparative action.

As I lay sprawled on my bed that Sunday night, engulfed in misery, I knew that I needed to turn to myself in understanding and forgiveness despite my regretful outburst. As I did so, I was able to place the incident in the wider container of my mostly caring interactions with my children. And in those interactions, I found the mother bird in me who not only strengthens her birdlings wings with love, but also guides and inspires them to reach for the skies.

Instead of laying myself bare to gain my children’s sympathy, and burdening them with the task to wipe my tears of shame — what Brene Brown calls “vulnerability without boundaries” — I chose to be honest with them about my struggles, apologize sincerely for my behavior, and let them know what I plan to do differently next time I feel the way I did (which included asking them for help when I needed it). 

Because if there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s this. The people around us, and especially our children, are far more influenced by what we do than what we say. And when we take responsibility for our actions (instead of dispensing it all around), we not only rise ourselves, we help them do the same.

your inner critic vs inner coachhomaira kabir
Homaira Kabir, Coach and Author

Written by mentor, author and founder of the Goodbye Perfect Project, Homaira Kabir. Homaira Kabir holds Master’s degrees in Coaching Psychology and in Positive Psychology – the science of human flourishing and wellbeing – from the University of East London. She features on Forbes, Happify, The Huffington Post and Thrive Global. She has just published her latest book ‘Goodbye Perfect: How To Stop Pleasing, Proving and Pushing For Others… and Live For Yourself’.

Homaira Kabir Goodbye Perfect Book


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