The Complete Guide to Releasing the Inner Critic and Creating What You Want

Your inner critic is holding you back…

Your inner critic can be your worst nightmare, but it’s also trying to keep you safe. It wants to protect you from making mistakes, getting hurt and experiencing pain.

But these negative thoughts are just the result of an outdated operating system, designed to keep us safe. At one time, we lived in small communities, which allowed us to survive. Exclusion from the group meant death, from predation, starvation, exposure.

We have been programmed to fit in, and look like the others in our community. Despite our advanced evolution, our instincts have not kept pace with the rapid change in the world. We still feel judgement from others as a threat to survival, even as a physical pain.

I bet we can all remember a time where we felt gut-punched after an insensitive comment or rejection. In a world perched on shifting sands, where we are in constant need of adaptation to new challenges, we need divergent thinking and new perspectives to forge a path ahead.

Yet, survival today requires the opposite approach. To survive the rapid pace of change we need to share new perspectives, find new solutions, and seek alternative approaches.

Accept and love Your Inner Critic, but give them something to do

Toddlers running towards each other to embrace (no inner critic)

How to make friends with your inner critic.

It is important to know that you are not alone. Everyone has an inner critic and it is not going away anytime soon. The inner critic is a voice that lives in our head and is often negative. It’s not always easy to ignore that lurking naysayer in our subconscious  It speaks to us when we are about to take a risk or do something new. It’s a voice that tries to protect us from making mistakes and from taking risks.The inner critic can be really helpful in some cases. They might point out when we make mistakes or when we need to improve on something. That’s why it’s important to know when to listen to them and when to put in the beats and ignore them.

Naming my inner critic has been instrumental in my ability to speak out, share my point of view and creativity with the world. His name is Todd.

I don’t really know why his name is Todd, how does one ever name anything? Despite his irritability, I love Todd. He’s a befuddled but passionate protector and he only thinks he is doing what is best for me in the long run. He really likes lollipops.

Many iterations of an AI Image for "Todd", Caroline's inner critic
AI Artwork featuring the many renditions of what Todd may look like!

When I’m struggling with expressing myself because of Todd’s hotly disapproving pizza breath down the back of my neck, I imagine a big lollipop.Then I imagine handing it to Todd and listing all the conditions that indicate that I am not in danger. Then, I send him off to enjoy his lollipop while I do my thing.

When we learn to assess the risk of standing out despite our inner critic’s hand wringing protests, we develop self efficacy, confidence and resilience. If everyone found the courage to be vulnerable, to share a point of view, perspective or tiny piece of their creativity, we could change the world. Because you have another voice that gets drowned out by all the Todd drama. The voice of your creativity, what makes you, you. That voice comes from the unique universe inside of you, made of stars, planets, moons and asteroids. 

GIF strong woman

Find the courage to express yourself.

The inner critic is a voice that tells you to not speak up, not to be recognized, and to not be ambitious. Todd’s just trying to help. But it’s time to stop listening if you want to experience a fulfilling life. 

But isn’t It time for you to speak out, get recognized, and advance in your career?

The first step is acknowledging what Todd (or your now-renamed-inner-critic) is telling you.

The second step is to pause and turn on your massive brain that we’ve grown like turfgrass over the millenia.

Is there a risk? What is the up and down side to expressing myself? What has happened to other people when they have done something similar? Who is in the room? If you think you might get fired (and you don’t want to), is this a legitimate fear? 

Finally, take a deep breath and share your thoughts. Incrementally, at first, if you wish. 

Have you ever admired those people who felt that they could share their thoughts, their weird hobby with bravado, or questioned the status quo? They didn’t start overnight.

Finding your voice, and building the skill to communicate your ideas clearly and succinctly takes practice

You can find the courage to express yourself at home or at work. 

AI image of a strong large male walking  down a  street away from the viewer holding a toddler's hand.
Image created on

Walk your own path to recognition and happiness, with Todd at your side

“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” 

– #1 Regret in The Top 5 regrets of the dying, Bronnie Ware

In life, we all have different paths that we take.

Not every path will end in a flower filled meadow smelling of lavender. Some paths will be dark and cold, and the only way out is through. Sometimes, the only way to the meadow is through the dark, scary woods.

Expressing what truly matters to us, especially if it is a bit unconventional, can feel like walking through a dark path.

But, I guarantee, that if you keep showing up in a generous way that honors your unique point of view, your values, and your hope for the world, you will make a difference.

The world has enough robots, Find what makes you uniquely human and spread it around.

You’ll quickly notice a herd of Todds sitting in a corner eating lollipops, while the rest of you start changing the world.

One wonderfully weird idea at a time.

In Other News…

Do you want to express yourself but struggle to? 

One year ago, Mark Metry was on Creative Lifescaping discussing his experience navigating social anxiety to embrace being himself. 

Watch the replay here for some inspiration – you can do it, too!

You can check out my book and resources for creativity at!

If you live in Calgary, you can read my book for free by checking it out from the Calgary Public Library. Put it on your hold list here!

Searching for an uplifting and inspiring way to build a cohesive, innovative and productive team with more smiles?

Book a call with Caroline to talk about how to inspire your team.

Email Caroline | Call Caroline | Book Online

Keep kicking your inner critic to the curb, so you can be your whole, creative, unapologetically you – self.