Techniques for Tackling Your Inner Critic (Once and for All!)

Woman looking in the mirror

As a television producer in Toronto, Canada, Jenny Tryansky was successful and passionate about her work until, after 20 years, she realized the career she had chosen no longer felt meaningful. After working with a personal development coach to gain some clarity on her values, she decided to leave the television field altogether and train to become a coach herself.

A common theme that Tryansky notices among her clients is a feeling of unworthiness. A critical voice that often tells them they aren’t a good enough parent or a good enough employee. According to Tryansky, it comes from people at all life stages, men and women, professionals, and stay-at-home parents.

Like herself, they are “driven and have goals and vision for their lives. They [also] have loud inner critics,” she says. “Honestly, I have one of the loudest, and I say it in present tense because the goal is not to eliminate but to understand that part of yourself, how it’s getting in your way, and to diminish the strength of it.”

So how exactly do you do that? 

“The first step is letting the inner critic parts speak for a moment out loud,” she says. Maybe it’s, I’m not going to perform the way that they expect me to. I’m not smart enough to take this job, I don’t have enough confidence to show up the way that I believe I should be.”

The next step is to build a case against your negative thoughts. “Where have I succeeded in the past? What are my wins? What are my strengths? If you find that hard, ask your colleagues, the people who love, champion, and believe in you.”

Once they’re able to be honest with themselves, Tryansky coaches her clients to connect back to their voice of inner wisdom, their values, their dreams, and what matters most to them.

“Usually when we do that work, a different voice starts to emerge. The voice that believes in them and knows what they’re capable of,” she says. “We can look back at the history of where they’ve succeeded in their life. It’s about building counter-evidence against the inner critic.”

This is something Tryansky herself has used as a tool during the difficult months of pandemic lockdown:

“I can think back to where I thought, I don’t know if I have enough strength to get through this. And now we’re at a point where we can look back [over the past year] and see resilience. We continue to get through it, to be resourceful and find creative solutions.”

Another framework that Tryansky brings into her work helping people tackle their inner critic is self-compassion. “I honestly did not know in my past life that I was a perfectionist,” she says. “I really believed that I needed to beat myself up to be better. I had no idea that I was allowed to doubt my doubts, to talk to and treat myself like I would treat someone that I love.”

Learn more about personal development coach, Jenny Tryansky: