Taming Your “Inner Critic” (Three Ways to Overcome Self-Sabotage)

Songwriter with headphones

Shutdown again by that nagging voice inside that says you’ll never be good enough?

If you’re a serious songwriter who keeps getting blocked by a critical inner voice, you’re in good company. A lot of songwriters struggle with negative internal dialog that keeps them frustrated and fruitless.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Here are three ways to overcome that nasty voice in your head that’s constantly holding you back.

#1 Realize that there is no such thing as an “inner critic.”

There’s only you and Jesus in there, right? If you’re a believer, the Bible is clear that you’re filled with the Spirit of Jesus and nobody else. Jesus doesn’t criticize, so that only leaves you inside your mind generating the negativity.

The idea of an inner critic is a popular construct drawn from pop psychology, media, and culture. Its only purpose is to give us excuses for letting ourselves be creatively stymied. If you’re hearing real voices that aren’t your own, visit your pastor or priest for an exorcism.

Otherwise, come to terms that you’re criticizing yourself. Fess up to the fact that you’ve fallen into a very bad habit that’s based in the fear of failure and the haunting prospect of criticism from others.

If you’re afraid of criticism or rejection, you probably need to do something other than songwriting.

We will all face criticism and even rejection as songwriters. It just comes with the territory. The songwriters who are smart enough to learn from criticism are the ones who will go on to write great songs.

No one else, including God, is responsible for our inspiration.

john chisum

#2 Take 100% responsibility for your inspiration.

You’ve probably heard people talk about their “muse.” This is an ancient Greek idea that there exists a creative genie or house daemon (not necessarily malevolent) that brings ideas and inspiration straight to your mind.

A muse is a convenient device. If you create something awesome your muse showed up. If you didn’t come up with a winner, your muse was at the beach that day. That takes you out of the hot seat. It’s not your fault you’re unproductive. It’s that sneaky little muse going AWOL who is at fault.

Sadly, this destructive concept has crept into our way of thinking about inspiration from God.

So many songwriters I deal with in NCS Coaching are actually waiting on God to “show up” like the ancient Greek muse. If they aren’t feeling inspired, God didn’t come through.

No one else, including God, is responsible for our inspiration. We alone bear the responsibility to keep ourselves inspired by remembering all Christ has done to furnish us with love, hope, joy, and eternal life in Him.

It may be subtle, but we often blame God for our irresponsibility rather than admitting we’re undisciplined and letting ourselves be uninspired. Taking full responsibility for the care and feeding of our own inspiration is the only way to free ourselves from the blame game.

#3 Trace the source of the inner negativity.

Most often what we call “my inner critic” is nothing but a negative mental habit. Being critical of ourselves is actually a string of mini-impressions about ourselves we’ve collected over a long period of time. They’re triggered unconsciously, but their source can be located and eradicated.

Maybe we believed an authority figure who was acting out anger on us earlier in our lives. Maybe a parent or significant person in our childhood or young adult years verbally berated us until we bought into the idea we would never amount to anything.

Self-doubt is always a call to learn more and never a reason to quit.

What we call the inner critic is nothing more than long string of negative impressions that get triggered in a nano-second to shut us down. Knowing where they came from isn’t important. You can learn to turn it off. You can develop new habits to replace the old one that sets you up to win as a songwriter.

Transform Your Songwriting (and Maybe Your Life) Through NCS Coaching

Many of the songwriters who’ve experienced NCS Coaching tell us that not only has their songwriting vastly improved, but that their very lives have been transformed. There’s a reason for this.

You see, who you are as a songwriter is who you are as a person. You don’t leave you outside the writing room door. You bring all you are to each songwriting task.

How you do anything is how you do everything.

If you have an “inner critic” that’s shutting down your creativity and song output, that same inner critic is probably shutting you down in your finances and relationships. Your happiness and overall productivity is probably less than it could be right now because you constantly listen to the negative inner chatter.

Self-doubt is always a call to learn more and never a reason to quit.

Brendon Burchard

NCS Coaching is a holistic approach to songwriting and creativity. It embraces your entire view of life. Nothing less than an all-encompassing approach works if you want to write effectively.

If you’re ready to tame the inner critic for good and release new creativity in your life, I invite you to read more about NCS Coaching. If you think it could be your next right step, consider setting up a transformational phone call with us.

I believe your best years of powerful songwriting hinge on taming inner negativity and putting an end to self-sabotage. I want to help you. Let’s do this thing.

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