My Own Worst Critic by
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My Own Worst Critic

Let’s be honest, folks. We all have that voice in our heads. The one that whispers (or sometimes shrieks) insecurities like a malfunctioning smoke detector. This eternal internal tormentor, for lack of a better term, is what I like to call my own personal Jiminy Cricket.

Imagine, if you will, a tiny, gremlin-like creature perched on your shoulder. It wears a sensible pantsuit and carries an umbrella while perpetually displaying a frowny face emoji. This is Jiminy, my personal brand of self-doubt. Jiminy specializes in passive-aggressive critiques delivered with the saccharine cheer of a customer service rep keeping me on hold for 45 minutes.

I just finished that presentation? “Wow, you managed not to trip over the projector cord. Baby steps!” I aced that big exam? “Well, at least you didn’t get a failing grade. Participation trophy for you!” Jiminy is the master of diminishing returns, turning victories into lukewarm consolation prizes.

But here’s the thing: Jiminy is not entirely wrong. My memory, for instance, resembles a particularly cluttered Tupperware drawer. I once spent 20 minutes searching for my phone while holding it in my hand, mid-conversation. And let’s not even get started on the time I accidentally signed up for a clown college email list because, apparently, “juggling for beginners” sounded like a good life skill. (Honestly – I still believe that could be possible.)

The problem with Jiminy isn’t his occasional valid point, it’s his relentless negativity. It’s like having a tiny Gordon Ramsay permanently stationed in my brain, critiquing my every move with withering pronouncements like, “Those mashed potatoes are a flavor catastrophe!”

The worst part? Jiminy thrives on my silence. Leave him to his own devices and he’ll happily turn a minor setback into an existential crisis. Spilled my coffee on my shirt before a date? Jiminy throws a confetti parade of “See? You ALWAYS ruin everything!”

So, how do I deal with any internal Negative Ned? Here’s my strategy, folks: externalize the gremlin. Give Jiminy a voice, a name, a small umbrella and a truly terrible pantsuit. By acknowledging his presence perhaps we can take away some of his power.

Next, let’s re-frame the narrative. Instead of Jiminy’s “you barely scraped by” monologue, let’s create a more constructive counterpoint. Did you trip over your words during that presentation? Great! Not a problem, now you know to practice more next time. Did you almost enroll in clown college? Thankfully, a near miss! Fantastic! Now you have a hilarious anecdote for your next party.

Look, I’m not suggesting I should banish Jiminy entirely. A healthy dose of self-criticism is important for growth. But the key is to change him from a nagging gremlin into a helpful – albeit slightly less judgmental personal life coach.

Remember, folks, we are all human. We are all going to mess up, stumble, or occasionally trip over projector power cords. But by acknowledging our inner critic and learning to laugh at him or her and maybe ourselves, we can turn those stumbles into stepping stones, and those spilled coffees into (hopefully) funny stories for Retrospect. Just don’t tell Jiminy I said that. He might try to trademark the phrase.


Profile photo of Kevin Driscoll Kevin Driscoll
(Mostly) Vegetarian, Politically Progressive, Daily Runner, Spiritual, Helpful, Friendly, Kind, Warm Hearted and Forgiving. Resident of Braintree MA.

Characterizations: funny, well written


  1. Betsy Pfau says:

    Wonderful observations and suggestion, Kevin. And very useful. Yes, none of us are perfect and we do tend to beat ourselves up, but externalizing that negativity is healthy and useful. Thanks for the good tip!

  2. Thanx as always for the laughs and the insights Kevin.

    Juggling for Beginners ? Sign me up!

  3. Khati Hendry says:

    You do such a great job of making this a fun read, using examples we can all probably relate to. Don’t let Jiminy tell you otherwise! Great advice too on how to mitigate the negativity. Always good to have a realistic view of ourselves and avoid the inflated ego, but appreciate our gifts.

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