From the moment we met Jupiter, Florida-based Courtney Burg of Mombo Jombo, we knew we liked her. A lot.
Courtney is passionate and outspoken, and her life experience with addiction has made her into the heart-centered teacher she is today. She empowers other women through free monthly workshops offered on Mombo Jombo, which is her online community.
We asked Courtney to share more about her thoughts on what holds many women back from living their best lives, and the conversation turned to the fact that each of us has an inner critic which can keep us in a fear-based state, if we let it. Read on for the tips Courtney teaches to other women around how to identify your inner critic, and how to release yourself from its grips…
An inner critic is the voice or tape we play inside our minds that bring about second guessing or self-doubt from within. Whether you are a successful entrepreneur or a secure stay-at-home mom, this voice does not discriminate. We all have one.
Here are the tools I use to identify this voice and dismantle its power:
FIRSTLY, IDENTIFY | The inner critic’s voice rears its ugly head in the most inconvenient ways, stifling our creativity and stealing our joy. Below are the most common areas in which the inner critic reveals itself:
- Control: fear is the root of your need for control. You may wish to control others’ behaviors or thoughts, or feel others are constantly in control of you without your say. Control is often exhibited through maintaining an “overly busy” schedule, passive aggressive remarks or gripping tight as the victim to an old story. Here you often lie to yourself, feel extremely anxious, are bored without conflict and are unable to let go of outcomes and expectations.
- Perfectionism: you believe the more you “do”, the better you are. You people please, maintain a certain appearance or play a specific role, live for others’ praise and seek out acceptance. Any form of disapproval or criticism and you may crumble. The thought of anyone not liking you brings anxiety. You appear committed and devoted to your work, family, values and homes. But deep inside, you never feel good enough.
- Dichotomous Thinking: you wade in rigid thoughts, hypercritical of yourself, and you gossip or judge others. You swing from being too good for others, or never good enough. You use this as a form of protection, sabotaging a situation before it can hurt you, pushing others away before they can disappoint you and you avoid asking for help at all costs. This superficial security is flawed, and it distances you from others and the intimate relationships you truly need and desire.
SECONDLY, GET HONEST | This is usually the area where folks want to turn away as if they never read the part above. It isn’t easy, getting honest with ourselves, and while the methods above have served as a way of self-preservation, it’s important to acknowledge that these tactics no longer serve you or those you love. In order to live authentically and as our wholehearted selves, it requires rigorous honesty and the willingness to take self-inventory on our thinking patterns. Some key questions to dismantle your inner critic’s power are:
- Why am I attaching myself to this outcome?
- What am I afraid of right now?
- Am I worried they won’t love or accept me?
- Why do I feel I am not enough?
FINALLY, CHALLENGE IT | Once you’ve identified how your critic reveals itself and you’re willing to get honest, the next step is to challenge the critic.
Challenging the critic involves reflecting on your WHY. Our “whys” are not only the inventory on our thoughts, but also the motivations behind our words and our actions. Here we can begin to truly sow new seeds of self-worth and acceptance, despite our inner critic.
- Why am I worried someone won’t like or accept me?
- Why am I clinging towards control or fear?
- Why am I gossiping or judging myself or others?
- Why am I uncomfortable to slow down or get quiet?
- Why am I afraid to give myself love?
I recommend communicating your growth to an accountability partner, someone who is safe and judgment-free. I also find it helpful to catalog your responses and thoughts in a journal. You’ll be amazed when you can reflect back and witness your journey unravel, observing your answers to the questions as they transform over time.
Dismantling your inner critic will free you of the doubts and anxieties holding you captive. It will open your heart to opportunities for growth in deeper relationships with those you love and create the awareness you need to give yourself gentleness and love in the process. This work takes effort, but only half the amount if would take to live on the way you’ve been living. Implementing these steps will help you gain new energy, clarity and creativity and a deeper understanding of your authentic, true self.
Courtney Burg is a sober wife and momma to two baby girls. Based in Jupiter, Florida, Courtney is a columnist and a Florida Gator, and she loves to empower other women through free monthly workshops offered on her online community, Mombo Jombo. If she’s not chasing little ones or writing, she’s usually curled up in pajamas watching Bravo TV or better yet, trying to breathe somewhere on her yoga mat. Courtney says her greatest accomplishments to date are sobriety, motherhood, going back to school and the discovery of dry shampoo.