Were you ever about to do something – and then suddenly, that voice inside your head starts talking? That negative voice inside your head that judges, criticizes, or demeans you is your inner critic. It plays a critical role in how you see yourself and your self-esteem.
When you don’t know how to deal with your inner critic, you can feel ashamed, worthless, or low on self-esteem.
Your inner critic might undermine your every accomplishment. Or it might show up as you enter a room of people you’ve never met before. That harsh inner critic can lead to self-doubt or lack of confidence.
When you let your inner critic control too many of your actions, it could hold you back from things like growth, connection, and your full potential.
Even though the way we think influences how we behave, those thoughts we have are not always true! If someone feels insecure and believes no one wants to talk to them, how charismatic do you think they will be in social settings?
Dealing With Your Inner Critic
Follow these strategies to deal with your inner critic and take control of your life:
1. Acknowledge and understand. When negative thoughts come up, acknowledge your thoughts. Try to understand the source of where your thoughts are coming from.
- How old do I feel right now?
- Why do I feel this way?
- What are some patterns I recognize?
- Where do these thoughts come from?
- How do these thoughts affect my behavior?
2. What advice would you give a friend? If a friend came to you in the same situation as you feel, what advice would you give to them? Many times, we are harder on ourselves than we are with others.
3. Separate facts from feelings. Your brain might be hardwired to think that no one wants to talk to you or that you’re a bad person. But is that actually a fact? Practice sorting through facts and your feelings.
- What is another, more positive way you could look at the situation?
4. Practice self-acceptance and self-compassion. Replace negative or critical thoughts with accepting and compassionate ones. Have a selection of empowering, compassionate beliefs that you can tell yourself instead of succumbing to negative ones.
5. Write down positive thoughts. When your inner critic comes out, what is it saying? How can you challenge it?
- Write down times in your life that people have said positive things about you.
- Focus on your strengths and what you are good at.
6. Distract yourself when you start replaying mistakes in your head. Have you ever made a mistake and replayed those moments over and over again? That doesn’t resolve the issue. If you find you’re ruminating instead of actively problem-solving, distract yourself from those thoughts.
- Take a walk.
- Read a book.
- Listen to a podcast.
- Play a game.
- Cuddle your pet.
7. Remind yourself that everyone has an inner critic. Having an inner critic is a human function. It comes from the parts of our brain that evolved to protect ourselves. If you find yourself in a loop of critical thoughts, remind yourself that every human experiences self-doubt at one point or another.
Your inner critic does not have to control your life! Taking these steps to silence your inner critic and nurture a more empowering inner dialogue can help you grow and expand your horizons.
There’s a difference between that harmful voice telling you that you are not good enough and wanting to improve yourself. Use the tips above to silence your inner critic so you can reach your full potential.