Self Talk Patterns Learning outcome one

Inner Critic

Identification of an Inner Critic Moment

I just attempted to complete my math homework. The same homework that I procrastinated on all weekend and am now stuck doing four hours before it is due with twenty two problems that I do not completely understand. Instead of just taking a deep breath and attempting my homework, I began to go into panic mode. I attempted two problems, both of which I got wrong and after watching the tutorial video and not understanding, I simply gave up. I mean I'm not that smart anyways, right? Everyone else in my math class took high school calculus and that has to be the reason they understand what is going on and I don't. It is not my fault that I don't know how to do the work and everyone else does.

Revision of My Inner Critic

My being angry about the fact that I was time pressed due to procrastination had absolutely nothing to do with whether or not I was capable of doing the homework. Looking back I now can see that I may not have the same advantage as other students in my class who took high school calculus, but that does not mean that I cannot still achieve success in my calculus class. From my mistake I see that in order for me to do well I must begin homework at least a day, preferable more, before it is due and set aside extra time to go over the material a few extra times in order to fully understand it.

Inner Defender

Identification of an Inner Defender Moment

I just made a 3/10 on my first lab report. Of course that is what I get on my lab report because I am the one who has Amir as their lab instructor. I mean how can he expect us to know what he wants us to put on the lab report when he does not even tell us. Plus, why is he grading so harshly on the first lab report we write? He really just needs to add comments about what we should fix, and if we do not fix it then he should count off points and grade harshly on the next one. No other lab instructors are doing this. If I had any other lab instructor I would not have received this grade. I am only doing badly because he is such a bad instructor.

Revision of my Inner Defender

It is possible that my lab instructor grades harder than other instructors, that just means I have to work a little harder and learn a little more to earn a good grade. I may have gotten a horrible grade on this report, but I can talk to my instructor to see what should be fixed. This bad grade will actually benefit me in the long run because now I know what my instructor is looking for and I can learn from this mistake. I need to talk to my instructor before lab reports are due to see exactly what is expected. I can the information of what is expected along with the comments for corrections on this lab report to create a lab report closer to what my instructor is looking for.

Inner Guide

As I take a look at the 54 sitting in front of me on Blackboard, I finally feel a positive voice talking to me. My 'inner guide' was saying that yes, a 54 on your Psychology test is not the greatest thing ever, but it is better than your exam grades last semester. I heard my 'inner guide' continue to tell me that next time, I can just use my notecards and study them more than the last time and give myself more time to get through all of the material instead of just the first half. As I sit there thinking about what to fix in order to improve, I get an exciting memory that we also get extra points added to our exam for engagement credit seminars. Wow, I may not have gotten the grade I was shooting for, but I learned what to fix about studying in order to get the grade I am aiming for and I ended up getting some extra points to boost my grade up.

Positive Effect From Inner Guide

Thanks to my 'inner guide' coming out, I was able to see that I am able to do improve my study habits in order to improve my grade. I did not feel down on myself or miserable due to the demeaning things that I said to myself, instead I felt motivated to get a jump start on making my note cards for my next exam and focusing on studying them more and in a more efficient way.


As I step back and take a look at my daily life, my response to failure often sticks out. I often vent to friends and family about how I am just not smart enough to do the assignments asked of me and that I cannot do what I am doing anymore. When I fail at something, whether it be falling short of a goal I have set or doing badly on a test, I often find myself criticizing myself. My 'inner voice' tells me that I am not good enough to complete the task successfully, or that I am not smart enough. I find myself thinking that I will never be good enough, and I will never be able to make it through my freshman year of college because I just am not smart enough to make the grades. This 'inner critic' voice take complete control of my mindset, and most of the time I do nothing about it. I think that I allow my 'inner critic' to come out so that I can have an excuse and justify not to others, but to myself why I did not succeed in the task at hand. My goal is to change the way I look at failures and to change the way that I speak to myself. When I am faced with daily failures, no matter the size, I plan to tell my 'inner critic' to shut up, because I will no longer listen to what she has to say. I will proceed by listening to my 'inner guide' and evaluating my situation to determine what I did wrong and how to fix it for the future. It will be hard to completely change my self talk patterns, but if it is not hard then it must not be worth it. After changing my self talk patterns I will be able to admit to myself that there is no excuse as to why I did poorly, only a reason and that reason has plans to be fixed.


Created with images by anthom - "Inner Critic" • KeithJJ - "football touchdown reception" • Mads Boedker - "Guided tour" • Identity Photogr@phy - "reflection"

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