Fight your worst enemy: yourself

There is a part in all of us that constantly try to hold us down. It may be a big part or a little part of yourself, but it’s there, in the back of your mind, speaking from time to time.

At the beginning of your journey, that part says things like “you can’t do it”, “you are not good enough” or “you know that you won’t be able to commit yourself to your passion, so why even try?”.

Once you have decided what your passion is and what to do to pursue it, you may feel as if you defeated that destructive inner detractor because for a while he will be silenced. In the first rush of enthusiasm, your positive self-will be louder than the destructive self and everything will be ok.

But this inner critic is shifty and many-sided and eventually he will re-surface.


Whatever your project, at this point you have set goals and scheduled time devoted to it. It often happens, when we begin something new, to feel a bit overconfident. Moreover setting goals and scheduling time is not an exact science, it needs practice and a certain amount of trials and errors before you understand exactly what works for you. That’s why you may not be able, at the beginning, to accomplish your goals thoroughly.

This is when the inner destructive critic emerges again and starts telling you things like “you see, I was right. You are not good enough” or “you see, you can’t commit to your so-called passion enough, you didn’t reach your goal”. This is when you start feeling a failure.


You are not a failure.

You. Are. Not. A. Failure.

Believe me.

Can you believe me?


So what is the problem?

Well, the problem is that you probably set an unrealistic goal, you have unreasonable expectations and get frustrated. This is your inner critic holding you down again, just in a different way.

The only reasonable thing to do is lower your expectations and set more realistic goals. Don’t feel bad about it. It’s not a defeat, only an adjustment.

The best thing to do would be to set a low objective for the first week, a very low one, so that you are sure to accomplish it. Then the following week, increase your goal. Not much, just a little. Then increase it again the following week and go on like that untill you feel you are getting near your limit.

It’s difficult, I know from experience, because we are not very patient creatures and we would like to immediately see evident results. Setting such low expectations seems a way to diminish yourself and Mr. Pain-in-the-neck will tease you with statements like “ah, such insignificant achievements will bring you to nothing!”. But, trust me, he is only envious, because a little is better than nothing.

Keep calm, there’s no hurry. You can go as slow as you want, what is essential is that you keep going!


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5 Replies to “Fight your worst enemy: yourself”

  1. Minuscule Moments

    Irene, great post, what I am discovering as I follow my path is that you will have days where everything seems perfect and then you will have days like today. My day to do my creative stuff……sick child….doctors….. home…. nothing goes right with illustrations. I laugh it off. There is a slight little voice these days that still says WHAT ARE YOU THINKING? but I choose to ignore it and I will turn up tomorrow with a new found creativity. Its amazing what a little sleep and persistence can do. And yes sometimes it help[s to shrink your goal whilst these moments are happening.

  2. Irene Aprile

    Thank you for your comment! These past few days that little voice kept telling me “what ate you doing? You are not good enough to write a novel directly in English. Don’t you see how link it takes to put together a single paragraph?” but I decided to go on anyway and don’t care about how slow I am in my progress… Thank you again 🙂

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