By / / He resides under your skin and over your shoulder. Breathing down your neck. Whispering behind your back. Ceremoniously leading the war within while unapologetically telling you how it is. He offers snarky feedback like, “Wow, did you really just say that? Man, you sounded like an idiot.” Right after he insults your wardrobe choice. (Well, let’s be honest, velour is not a good look on most people.) You don’t need this lover of bad hair days. This heckler of good intentions. This taker of parking spots that you clearly claimed with your blinker. He’ll continue to trade confidence for doubt and minimize success. Don’t listen to him. He knows nothing. He’s a jerk. Your Inner Critic Is A Genius. He knows good work when he sees it. And, because he’s tasted it, he’ll settle for nothing less. His discerning taste took years to refine—all in the name of protecting you from becoming a hack. He offers road-tested advice like, “That. That part you’re overlooking. That’s the idea. That’s what matters.” Right after he sends an epiphany rush through your soul. You need this honest collector of influence. This critical evaluator of performance. This never-satisfied driver of betterment. He’ll continue to make you stronger and remind you why you love what you do. Listen to him. He knows. He’s a genius. You Are Responsible For Holding Yourself Back. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Think about obstacles you’ve encountered. Were they real, or were they in your own mind? Were they built on facts or assumptions? Chances are, you can remove most hurdles. You Are Responsible For Moving Yourself Forward. As humans, we possess the blessing and burden of self-awareness. (Well, some more than others.) However, sometimes we just need to get out of our own way. Never let the past dictate the future. Find your voice. Follow your passion. Each and every day, go forth and set your respective worlds on fire. Show your inner critics who’s boss. “Be stronger than that which holds you back.” – Shiza Shahid (Especially if that which holds you back is you.) Jennifer Hohn is Creative Director at Vladimir Jones. This piece was originally posted on her blog intrinsicalities and then on The Denver Egotist.