When was the last time you heard from your inner critic? You know, that voice in your head that constantly judges you, puts you down and compares you to others. The one that tells you you’re not good enough or smart enough and says things you would never dream of saying to another person.
Now you may think this inner critic, while annoying, is relatively harmless. But this is simply not the case. This inner critical voice limits you and stops you from living the life you truly desire. It hinders your emotional well-being and, if left unchecked, can even lead to depression or anxiety.
Here are some ways you can silence that inner critic and stop beating yourself up.
Give it Attention
That’s right, in order to gain control over your inner critic you have to know that it exists. Most of our thinking is automatic. In other words, we don’t give our thoughts much thought. We barely notice a critical thought has passed. Give attention to your thoughts, all of them. This will help you recognize the critical voice.
Here are some emotional clues the critic has reared its ugly head: whenever you feel doubt, guilt, shame, and worthlessness. These are almost always signs of the critic at work.
A Recipe for Disaster
When we are very young we develop a type of inner voice that actually is there to protect us. It can create a very subtle thought to look more than once before crossing the street, not following along if someone prompts us to take a different route, sometimes gives us a nudge to check and make sure we closed the door all the way so the cat wouldn’t get out. Some call this intuitive thinking or instinct, but whatever the term, we grew dependent on tapping into that subtle voice.
Like a good batch of homemade spaghetti sauce where we veer off and start adding our own ingredients to the original recipe making it more of our own, we start to do that to the once all so subtle, all good natured, inner voice of ours. Over time, we may throw in a thought of doubt about ourselves, a question about our skill sets, or ask ourselves if we have what it takes, and we start to literally feed that inner voice with negativity. Voila, we have created a not so subtle critical voice, providing us often with constant chatter that we have a hard time turning off and tuning out.
Push the Delete Button
In order to take the power away from your inner critic, you’ve got to give it a taste of its own medicine. As soon as you recognize your inner critic is speaking to you, reach for the delete button and press it. Better still, give her a name – “Hey Miss Bossey”, “No you don’t Miss You Don’t Know What You’re Talking About”. Tell her that the jig is up, that you know she’s not telling the truth, she’s got you all wrong, and push her delete button. If you want to really make her voice recoil, tell her you are choosing to be kind to yourself from now on and feed it with a more self-compassionate, empowered, new way of thinking.
Self-compassion to an inner critic is like garlic to a vampire.
Create a New Inner Voice
If you want to defeat an enemy, you need to have a powerful ally on your side. It’s important at this juncture to create an even more powerful inner voice. One that is on your side and acts as your BFF.
I hear you saying, “easier said than done!” and yes you are correct. Why? Because all those negative, limiting, critical thoughts that your inner critic has been telling you have become pretty familiar. They have become your thought habits. But the GOOD NEWS is that thoughts are just stories we keep telling ourselves. And, MORE GOOD NEWS, now you get to decide whether you want to believe those stories or start giving some of those thoughts up.
Thoughts Don’t Equal Facts!
Women who come to be coached by me have been challenged for many years in dealing with their inner critic. Just like a home that has become perhaps too big and we look to something smaller to best serve our needs, it’s the same with our minds. Time to downsize. There isn’t room anymore for the negativity about ourselves. How great to begin learning that those stories aren’t at all true!
It’s your time to downsize. It’s your time to start pushing the delete button on all those negative, critical thoughts that you’ve gotten used to. But now it’s your time to move into your future thinking differently about you.
Just because you’ve been told the same thing over and over by your inner critic doesn’t mean it’s right! It’s about time to put an end to your critical voice you’ve lived with (and listened to) for far too long.
Are You Ready To Learn How to Make Peace with Your Inner Critic?
My sleeves are rolled up, ready to work alongside you, so LET’S DO THIS!
I invite you to schedule a 20-minute consultation call with me, my gift to you, to explore the benefits of working together.
Photo credit: Matheus Ferrero on Unsplash