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Introverts, stand up to your inner critic!

Woman swimming thinking

You know that negative voice inside of you that tells you you're not good enough from time to time? The one that attempts to remind you of your deficiencies while glossing over your strengths? The voice that says you ought not to take risks because you will surely fail?

We've all been there. It can be like being forced to sit through a terrible commercial or song because your remote control has ceased functioning. 

What is an introvert to do when these negative thoughts arise?

Here are some valuable strategies for keeping them in check:

1. Silence such thoughts by exclaiming "I'm not listening to you!" and instead focusing on the attributes that make you a wonderful human-being: intelligence, empathy, a hard work ethic, humility, decency, and so on.

2. Give your inner critic a name to reduce its potency ("Uh oh, here comes Greg the Grouch again"). Doing so will give the feeling of being one step ahead so that you may stop the thoughts in their tracks. 

3. Note when exactly the inner critic surfaces. Is it when you're around certain people whom you perceive as more established or better looking? Is it when you see or think about places that remind you of your childhood (e.g., high school)? Once you pin this down, you'll be better equipped to reframe those thoughts as soon as they come up. For example, you might consider that now, as a successful lawyer or advertising executive, you've come a long way since your high school days, when your parents lived paycheck to paycheck.  

Part of being human is understanding that no one is perfect. It's normal to doubt oneself from time to time (introverts can be a little too good at it), but once these thoughts become so pervasive that they're interfering with your day-to-day life, it's time to take bold action. 

Introverts are especially prone to viewing their reticent nature as a hindrance, especially when people around them criticize them mightily for it. 

But just because you're quieter and more introspective than others doesn't mean you can't achieve success. Some of the wealthiest people in the world -- Bill Gates, Larry Page, and Warren Buffet among them -- are self-admitted introverts.

If you feel that taking a public speaking class might raise your confidence, go for it. If getting tips from your extroverted cousin helps you feel more comfortable, by all means.

But you should never be made to feel like a loser or failure just because you aren't as inclined to hit up cocktail parties. 

Disable your inner critic by arming yourself with the mental fortitude to fend negative thoughts off. You've achieved great things in your life and will only continue to do so. 

But you need to believe in yourself. Let those thoughts say, "You ARE good enough. You WILL succeed. You CAN achieve whatever you set your mind to. 


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