Self Confidence: Battling Your Inner Critic
by Jake Gifford
Like a shadow, your inner critic is never too far away. You've probably heard of the age-old saying "you versus you" and it's a little cliché I know, but with the sheer size of social media it's often quickly forgotten. Whilst there are inherent similarities with regards to the functions of the human body, the World is full of so many shapes, sizes, lifestyles and personalities that can consequently influence decision-making processes and self esteem.
We're often quick to compare ourselves to someone else based on an image, blog post or any other form of media we obtain from the internet. In the modern era, comparison is easily managed, even if we try to convince ourselves otherwise.
I understand we often follow accounts based on the visual appealing qualities, because they're interesting and perhaps deep down we all wish we were someone else or had certain qualities that someone else possessed. However we often forget that what we see on the internet is merely a snapshot of someone else's best moments, with many of the photos we see are the 100th shot taken, filtered and retouched to make it even more appealing to the eye.
Furthermore, these people might be taking flattering angles to accentuate certain body parts and even when they're posting "Instagram versus reality" photos, you still feel worse because you start comparing yourself to their "reality".
Despite many people knowing this, you'll still continue to find ways to diminish your own efforts, sully your achievements and foster growth of a mindset that does you more harm than good. A mindset hell bent on perfect expectations and nothing less because you need to be of the same standard of those that you say inspire you, albeit knowing full well these people probably don't have kids, have more flexible hours, were born into better circumstances than you and a huge passion for exercise and healthy eating.
I've previously talked myself down, drowned myself out and convinced myself that I'm not capable or good enough to achieve what I want out in life.
Now I'm going to slightly digress.
I've spent years pouring my heart and soul into trying to further understand why people struggle to engage in certain behaviours, stay motivated and consistently lead healthier lifestyles. Whenever I seem to have much of it figured out or experience a breakthrough, I often find more research and evidence which criticises my work and adds another layer to the ever evolving problem.
Consequently when this happens my inner voice picks myself apart and self-doubt about my abilities and future come flooding in. I often question what's the point and how it would be much easier to throw in the towel and much less of a headache.
For what point and purpose though? Sure, it's important to be critical and reflective sometimes because that's how we improve but when we are TOO critical of ourselves, we often kill momentum, undermine our self-worth and stagnate simply by throwing ourselves back to the drawing board rather than getting things done.
We're often so worried about failing or wasting our energy on anything but the perfect plan, that we either avoid taking part in the first place or continuing when things don't go as planned. We're quick to pick up on every little fault or detail irrespective of how much we've done right.
It is because of this excessive self criticism and self-sabotage that we deny ourselves our best possible selves. We deny ourselves what little time and energy we have each day to get that 1% better, practice a little self-reassurance and work towards goals that are personal to US.
Sometimes my worst enemy is not the critic spitting venom but my inner voice telling my to drink the poison.
This is a reminder that your life is a lot different to someone else's and therefore the journey you take to achieve your goals will be different to those whom you follow on social media. Do not let comparison steal your joy or undermine your efforts or self-worth.
Sharpen your knives and stare your inner critic straight in the eyes, because whilst this may not be an easy battle, it is one you need to win.
- We all lead independent lives filled with a huge array of factors so don't blame yourself for not being where you want to be right this second.
- Moving forward rather than getting things perfect is a better approach to achieving a goal and requires less pressure.
- Self-confidence and criticism isn't a simple switch, so don't expect to experience an immediate shift.
About the Author
Jake Gifford, MSc is a personal trainer based in Amersham, Buckinghamshire. Jake encourages people to reject diet culture and discover the benefits of exercise beyond the way you look. You can also find him on Instagram @thephitcoach