Goodbye, Inner Critic

Wow, it’s been awhile since I’ve written properly here. There’s a million excuses I can give you but really it’s this….

I’m feeling low and anxious these days with work. A few weeks ago, I was ready to throw in the towel and doubted my capability to become a paediatrician. After much counselling sessions with M and friends (who have all been patient listening to my dramatic woes), I realise that the problem lies really in me. Not my competency or (lack of) capability to do medicine or lack of brains, but more of my irrational thoughts and fears. For every criticism and every remark thrown at me, I have taken it personally and snowballed it into ‘I’m a bad doctor’. Perhaps Farah (by far the most honest friend – she pointed out that there is no rational basis to my thoughts, no major disaster or mistakes I’ve done) was right – I should put post its everywhere saying ‘I AM a good doctor’ and through some sort of osmosis, believe in it truly.

So this post is to my inner critic.

Dear Inner Critic,

I think it’s time for you to pack up your bags and go away to a far far away place. Because frankly, I’m tired of having your voice inside me. What’s worse is that I actually believe you. I believe you when you said that every other trainee must be better at me, they appear confident because they are better. I believe you when you said that the reason I got the diagnosis wrong or made the wrong judgement call was because I’m crap and stupid.

When other people talk to me and challenge my actions, you said that they’re right and of course, I’m wrong. Because I would always be wrong.

Well, Inner Critic, I’m tired of listening to you and believing you. I’ve shed plenty of tears my whole life, thinking that the person next to me would always be better than me. Cleverer, prettier, take over the heart of the guy I like/love because somehow they’re more worthy of being loved, et cetera et cetera.

Everyone makes mistakes and we learn from our mistakes. It’s ok to makes mistakes and ok not to know everything.

The fact that you’re there whispering thoughts in my heads just makes things worse. It’s like a cycle that I will never win.

So Inner critic, I won’t say you haven’t done much justice for me. I guess if it’s not for you, I won’t have worked hard all my life to try to disprove myself wrong. But you’re starting to wear me down. So maybe we can have some separation for a long long time. Come back when I’m much better in myself, you know just so I know I’m still on the grounds of Planet Earth.

In the meantime, can you tell the other part of my brain to stop worrying about the exams and assessments? Worrying will do me no good except poor sleep, low mood, muscle tension and a good deal of tossing/turning/kicking in bed which surely is not good for M.

Bye bye then Inner Critic.


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2 responses to “Goodbye, Inner Critic

  1. lyn

    one of my consultants told me,when I was an f1 dr n feeling very similar to this:

    “a good doctor will always feel that they’re not good enough because they never feel they are doing enough, ie always feel they could have done better. n it’s them who will strive to be better.

    it’s the ones who think they’re good enough that I worry about.”

    this has comforted me many a time,and quite true when u think about it.

    you’re just a good doctor 🙂

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