Do you have a critical inner voice that hinders your success? Silencing your inner critic is a skill that takes time and practice. But is an essential part of your journey to self-confidence, happiness, success, and self-love.
To silence your inner critic, you must learn how to separate your inner critic from your true self. You must learn how to understand its messages and how to respond effectively to them.
It is not easy, but it can be done with practice and awareness and is the only way to grant your long term success and happiness.
In this article you’ll learn what truly your inner critic is, how to silence it and how to apply this to live a better life. We’ll see of course many inner critic examples.
We’ll see here many different kind of strategies you can exploit to silence it, from the easiest to the deepest. Where applicable I’ll try also give you some quick tips to get started on the different strategies.
These strategies include also making your inner critic work for you.
Are you ready? Let’s go!
What is your inner voice?
Everything starts from inner voices. What is an inner voice?
An inner voice is that voice in your head which you hear with your mind and not with your ears.
There are many unanswered questions about why this voice is happening—we can’t find any explanation based on biology or science. But still, we all hear it.
The inner critic is that little voice that never ceases to point out the flaws in everything we do. However, if you’re willing to listen, it can help you by guiding you in making the right decisions.
This voice is the basis of creation of our emotions, thoughts, and perceptions. This voices are the manifestation of your thoughts and are triggered by what is happening in your life, what you are perceiving and what you are feeling.
Positive inner voices
This voice is also a reflection of your self-worth and can be used as a barometer to measure the progress you have made in your life. It is important to listen to this voice because it is the one that will tell you what you need to do in order to be happy.
This voice has the ability to tell you what is right and wrong, good or bad, so it can be used as a compass in making decisions that will impact your life and can be helpful in making these decisions, guiding you through major moments in your life. Positive inner voices are the source of your inner wisdom.
So it shouldn’t surprise you that for some people, this voice is the all-commanding mentor.
Negative inner voices
It may sound strange how many of us fail to listen to that tiny voice inside ourselves.
As we go through life, parts of ourselves change and the things we used to believe in, feel like they’re forgotten. When this happens, our connection to this inner voice becomes lost and it can make it hard for us to remember what feels good anymore.
After turning silent, and without and inner guidance, people lose contact with their own direction, and when things go wrong, you get harder and harder feedback on how you are doing. As a result, you begin to feel like you are losing control and you are more and more at the mercy of external circumstances and other people. You start losing your persistence and you resilience, and eventually things start to get worse.
And finally your inner critic kicks in.
What is the inner critic?
So this little voice can become your inner critic, and this is true for many people. The inner critic is the voice in your head that says you are doing things the wrong way. But there are two ways this inner critic can manifest itself.
The positive inner critic
The inner critic was intended to be that inner positive voice that is inner compass and help us reach our final purpose.
The positive inner critic work is to give its feedback to you about what your are doing is right or wrong.
So you can understand it’s the judge of your inner success, meaning your perception of your own accomplishments.
So you can understand there’s a clear positive inner critic inner success connection: part of the purpose of your positive inner critic is to keep you aligned to your inner meaning of success.
When it works this way, it’s an incredibly powerful resource.
The negative inner critic
But your positive inner critic, like any of your positive inner voices, when flooded with negative thoughts, becomes silent at first, then quickly becomes your negative inner critic.
This inner critic is the voice in your head that tells you all the reasons why you are unworthy. From how much work you have left to do, to how people dislike you for who and what you are. It should not be a surprise it becomes a primary source for you self-doubt.
It will invalidate your results and highlight all your mistakes.
Finally, it will tell you how much of a failure you are.
And when you are stressed and your inner resources are scarce, it will raise with even more power and becomes the major annoyance in your head.
This critical self-talk will reduce your resources and feed your feel of failure and it will try to convince you to believe in these lies until your self-confidence is shattered, your self-esteem gone, and your self-worth nonexistent.
There are many types of inner critic and you can find you can find here an in-depth list .
The power of the inner critic
The negative critic has tremendous power over us and can have a huge impact on our lives.
Why does the inner voice have so much power over us?
The inner voice has so much power over us because it is always there and it is very difficult to ignore.
It will continue to interact and communicate with you until you are aligned with its deep message.
So, when positive, your inner voice will give you the power to overcome any obstacles and win your goals. It will fuel you with energy, inner sense of alignment and that everything in your life is going the right way.
When negative, it will inhibit you from taking risks in any situation that the voice deems challenging. It will question if you are right or wrong, will make you doubt of yourself and second-guess all your decisions.
It has a kind of amplifying effect and will create an upward spiral in the first case, a downward spiral in the negative case.
You can’t go anywhere without your inner compass, and your inner compass is made by all your inner voices. But it can be very effective or very dysfunctional, and either way it will have a major effect on your inner health, your behaviors, and how you respond to your challenges.
Why does the inner critic have such a negative impact on our lives?
This inner critic will remind you of all the ways you’ve disappointed yourself. It will make the thought of any success seem impossible because of all your inadequacies. Over time, it will make you feel insignificant and unworthy. Memories of being doubting or skeptical will come back to you when times get tough.
This constant voice pointing out mistakes and focused on the weaknesses is hard to hear and deal with. Eventually, this will overpower your sense of self and leave you ruled by anxiety over your limited strengths.
You may try not to listen to this inner critic initially. Yet once you believe in its miserable denials of who you are, you are sure to have it win you over.
You will then be convinced of the validity of his claims and, therefore, you will resort to succumbing to a mediocre and gloomy life.
So, what is the way out of this trap? Is possible to silence your inner critic?
Silencing your inner critic
It is important to understand what it means silencing your inner critic because it can affect our self-confidence and self-worth. Silencing the inner critic can be very difficult and requires you to understand his message, what he is trying to tell you.
What does it mean to silence your inner critic voice?
What does it mean to silence your inner critic?
To silence your inner critic means to make the voice in your head stop telling you that you are not good enough.
This is a fairly simple statement, but it can be a very difficult task.
As we have seen, when your inner critic speaks to you, it tends to give you negative opinions about yourself and constantly tells you that you’re not good enough.
Then you start focusing on your collapsing self-image, self-esteem and self-confidence, and all this builds obvious mental barriers to your happiness and success.
All of this can happen quickly and unconsciously and you could find yourself there in a very short time and without realizing it if something in your life turns particularly wrong and you don’t have the strength and time to react in the right way.
Why can’t I stop my inner critic from talking to me?
Quieting your inner critic is not easy. You can’t stop your inner critic talking to you because it is the voice of your own self-doubt, inner fear and shame.
Your inner critic won’t stop when you tell it to stop because you created it in your mind for a reason, and until you face that reason, he’ll keep yelling at you.
You are often struggling with your inner critic, because it comes into play when you are trying to achieve some goals that it thinks are not aligned with your survival. But of course you want to reach them more and you will try harder.
This will only get more effort from your inner critic towards you. And this conflict will get harder.
The inner critic comes from a survival need and is deep rooted in your subconscious.
He’s trying to help you and he will keep communicating (=criticizing) until he will think you will be safe.
So you have to stop fighting and engage to understand how the message of your inner critic is somehow for your survival and your good, in its intention.
Stop falling and face the message
Silencing your inner critic requires that you stop following this process and take the time to reflect on what your inner critic is saying and why it’s saying it.
The first step to silence your inner critic is to ask it what it means for you. It can be difficult to hear what your inner critic is saying because it’s of course overwhelmed by self-doubt and negative thoughts.
But once you listen, you’ll be able to see which thoughts are useful and which ones are not. You can then filter these thoughts and understand which ones are at the root of your doubt and are being holding you back.
To silence your inner critic you can do many things ranging from actively ignoring it, responding the right way, to making it work for you. It’s an inner quest towards the self mastery of your thoughts.
What are some positive effects of silencing your inner critic?
If you are currently struggling with the inner critic, you the first effect of silencing it is that you’ll feel less anxious and more in control of your actions.
Silencing this voice will lead to a more positive mindset and being able to focus on the task at hand.
It will be easier for you see your “right” path and your decision making process will require much less effort.
You’ll stop second guessing your decision, so your action will become more determined and of much greater impact.
When you’ll be able to tame your inner critic, you’ll experience another primary effect: you will feel more confident and prepared for the common situations where your inner critic is currently activating and requires you to deal with it.
Your confidence will be boosted by the fact that you are able to silence your inner critic and you won your inner fight.
So you’ll take more in charge your life and it will be easier for you to reach your goals. You’ll also be able to live your life fully, enjoy your life and live every moment to the fullest.
Silencing your inner critic is an essential step in your inner path toward the expression of your full potential, and you won’t be able to master you inner self and reach inner peace without dealing with your inner critic.
What strategies we can use to get rid of your inner critic?
Sometimes our inner critic strikes so hard that it feels like we’re constantly having to defend ourselves against it. It’s easy to feel like our thoughts are out of control, but the truth is that we have a lot more power than we realize.
What can you do to silence your inner critic?
You can start by realizing that your inner critic is not you, but a thought in your mind. It’s just another one of the many thoughts that come up in your brain every day.
And every thought can be handled in the right way.
There are essentially five types of strategies to overcome your inner critic:
- basic tips for silencing the voice of the inner critic;
- people-related tips for silencing the voice of the inner critic;
- become aware of your inner critic thoughts and respond in the right way;
- repurpose your inner critic;
- develop your personal power skills to weaken your inner critic.
For each of these categories we will look now at a series of tips and a few processes (some simpler, some less) that you can apply right away to tame your inner critic.
Basic tips for silencing the voice of the Inner Critic
We’ve seen that silencing the voice of the Inner Critic is an important step in boosting confidence and happiness. It’s not easy to do and it will likely take some practice, but however you are going to do it, it it will be empowering.
We’ll see in this section a few things that can help you get rid of it.
Breathe in and out slowly
One strategy for dealing with the inner critic is to breathe in and out slowly. This will calm you down, but it’s also a great way to combat the negative thoughts that are bouncing around in your head.
just sit down, relax, close your eyes and breathe in slowly, count until you reach 5; breathe out slowly, count until 5.
Do it again, and again, for 5 minutes.
While you do the exercise, this time may seem like a long time to you – but stay there until it’s over. It can work wonders.
Walk away and stay in silence
According to many experts, silence can be one of the most effective ways to quiet your inner critic. And getting away from the place where the stressful situation arises can help release negative thoughts. Then take a 5 minute walk in a silent environment while focusing on your surroundingst.
For example, when you find yourself in a situation where you feel overwhelmed or frustrated by all the work you have to do and your inner critic says: “I’m never going to get this done”, try leaving the room and taking a short walk while remaining silent and focusing on the trees, the clouds or the grass you are walking on. Then go back to your work.
Just ignore the voice of your inner critic and step forward
The only way to get better at anything is to do it.
The more you do it, the easier it gets. And if you keep doing it long enough, eventually your inner critic will shut up.
You have to be the one telling yourself to keep going. The thing that’s holding you back is your inner fear of failure. You’re afraid it won’t work, so you don’t try. But what if it does work?
That’s the beauty of this method. You can’t fail.
You can only have a good result or a bad result, but you’ll never get stuck in the middle.
That’s why this is so effective:
- If you get a good result, great! You have something to show for it and you can keep going in that direction.
- If you get a bad result, you’ll know something’s wrong and you can make adjustments to get a better result.
If nothing else, it will give you some perspective on your situation and where your action is effective and where is not.
Just go ahead, just do it. Focus just on the next step, the little tiny action you can take right now, and do it.
obviously, if you get a negative result, your inner critic will reactivate. Simply do the same thing: take another small step forward.
The first thing you’ll notice is that it’s not that scary. The second thing you’ll notice is that you’ve just done something about it.
This will give you the confidence to do more and do bigger things.
Overcome your mistakes and learn from them as soon as possible
Quite related to the previous point is how do you manage your mistakes.
When you make a mistake, don’t let your inner critic beat you up. Instead, learn from it and move on.
Thus could seem difficult, but in my experience the best way to learn from a mistake is a simple process. Just focus on this questions and write down your answers:
- what were you trying to do?
- what is the last point you did right, just before your mistake?
- what didn’t work after?
- what could have worked instead? (typically something different or the contrary than what you did)
- what could you try the next time the same situation will arise and you’ll be at the same point?
Try it, let go of your guilt feelings (which are an awesome trigger for you inner critic), have the confidence that the next time you won’t repeat the same mistake and go on.
Practice positive self-talk and tell yourself the right words
You can tame your inner critic by telling yourself the right words and phrases.
Using the right words and phrases is important because it will help you be kind to yourself. It will help you see your good qualities and accept them.
Talk to yourself in a calm and reassuring voice.
Here are the words I like to use when my inner critic starts getting out of control:
- I am doing the best that I can.
- This is as good as it gets right now and it’s okay to be where I am at this moment.
- I am fine just the way I am.
- It’s okay to feel all of my feelings, even if they are uncomfortable or painful.
- It ‘s okay to be exactly where I am at this moment.
- It’s okay to make mistakes, and it’s also okay if I don’t succeed at everything I do.
- It’s okay to have fears and doubts, because everyone does.
- It’s okay to be scared, because it means that I am taking a risk.
- It’s okay to be me, and it’s also okay if I am not exactly who everyone wants me to be.
- It’s okay to not be perfect, and it’s also okay if I am not as talented as some people.
It’s also a good idea to tell yourself these words every night just before bed (so they can inspire your night) and every day right after you wake up (so they can inspire your morning….).
Get rid of negativity, focus on positivity.
In a similar way, getting rid of negativity will help you silencing your inner critic.
How do you get rid of negative thoughts? One easy way is to focus on all the good things that have happened in your life or that you have in your life right now.
?I’ve found it helpful to recognize the thoughts that are coming up, and then choose which ones to act on. I focus on the positive aspects of myself and my life, because that’s what really matters.
Writing down what you’re grateful for will help you focus on your blessings instead of your flaws.
More ways to get rid of negativity are:
- Practice the technique of taking a mental break
- Try a new hobby
- Listen to uplifting music
- Read an inspirational book
- Find a way to get exercise, even if it’s just a walk around the block
- Develop a daily self-care habit
Which one could you try today?
Feel your feelings
Feeling your feelings is another way to silence your inner critic.
Focus on what your inner critic is telling you, then focus on the emotions it causes to you.
Give yourself permission to feel whatever you’re feeling, including anger or frustration or any other negative emotion.
Don’t try to change the feeling or make it go away. Just sit with it and watch how it changes on its own. Stay there with your feeling, become acquainted with it, go through it and see it loose its power.
When we feel our feelings and allow them to be, they begin to dissipate. We’re no longer feeding them with attention and energy.
If you can do this, the feeling will lose its power over you and the same will happen for your inner critic.
Break the cycle of self-criticism with inaction
The cycle of self-criticism is a vicious circle that can be hard to break.
It often begins with your inner critic telling you a negative thought about yourself, which then leads to more negative thoughts and feelings. These thoughts and feelings can lead to destructive behaviors such as drinking, overeating, or overworking.
These destructive behaviors feeds back into the cycle by making the person feel worse about themselves and triggering more negative thoughts from your inner critic.
You can understand that the cycle of self-criticism is the most fertile ground possible for your inner critic and if you are there, your inner critic will just grow until it will overwhelm you.
The first way to stop this downward spiral is to stop taking action when it is inspired by your negative critic. Don’t take that destructive behavior. And the spiral cycle won’t go further.
How do we do it? Just apply the “silence and walk away” strategy we have already seen before. Do it the next time you find yourself in the middle of a cycle of self-criticism.
Break the cycle of self-criticism with self-compassion
Self-compassion is a practice that can help to break the cycle of self-criticism.
Compassion for oneself is the ability to see one’s own worth and value in the world.
It is understanding that we are all human beings who deserve to be loved and cared for.
Taming your inner critic requires that identify if you are being too hard on yourself or not. Being more compassionate towards yourself can be an incredibly powerful tool that will help you to understand in a clear way why you are being so harsh on yourself. SCompassion for oneself means that you love yourself enough to not let others take advantage of you, or to give up when things get tough.
You should never put yourself down, but instead remind yourself of your worth and value in the world.
Studies have shown that when people are more compassionate towards themselves, they are less likely to be self-critical. Self-compassion also helps people to feel more connected with others and have a greater sense of belonging.
The first step in practicing self-compassion is recognizing when you’re being self-critical. Then, make a conscious effort to stop the self-criticism and replace it with compassionate thoughts towards yourself.
For example, if you’re feeling low on energy today, instead of thinking “I’m so lazy for not exercising today,” try thinking “I’m having a hard time getting motivated to exercise, which is really common for me. Even with my limits, I accept and love myself.”.
What you’d tell a friend who made the same mistakes?
A very smart tip comes from Emilia Ohrtmann at eniliasjourney.com
To tame your inner source of critics, she starts considering that usually we are harder with ourselves than with other people. So she suggests to imagine your same mistake was done by someone else. If any of our friends made the same mistake that you did, what would you tell them?
You could apply this principle in this way:
- write down your what your inner critic is telling you;
- write the situation it’s attacking, what it is criticizing;
- imagine a friend comes to you with the same situation;
- what would you tell him?
- what would you suggest him to do?
You could find yourself with very wise words for silencing your inner critic and a very good advice to follow.
People-related tips for silencing the voice of the Inner Critic
Relationships are a great source of inspiration for your inner critic. They expose you to your sense of adequacy, your accomplishments, your ability to control things and people and your desire to be appreciated and get attention from others.
It means that when other people are involved, silencing your inner critic can be much harder. Every times something goes wrong with other people, your inner critic will have multiple chances to kick in.
Let’s see the major points on your relationships that will affect your inner critic performance.
Don’t compare yourself to others
It’s normal to compare yourself to other people, but it can be damaging if you’re always finding yourself lacking.
And in today’s society, it is easy to compare oneself with others and feel inadequate. We can see a friend’s post on social media that is a montage of the perfect vacation, the status of a person with an incredible career or an acquaintance who has lost weight and we start to question ourselves.
Comparing ourselves with others only fuels the inner critic to grow louder in our head. The key is to find the things that make you happy and focus on those.
Every time you are tempted to compare to others, take 5 minutes instead and write down a list of things you are grateful for.
Have someone listen to what you say without judgement or interruption
If you can share your problems and doubts with someone that will listen to what you have to say, a couple of things could happen:
- in your effort to explain, you will rationalize your thoughts, and this will help you to see what you are doing in a more objective way; this happens to me ALWAYS.
- the person you are talking to, interacting with, will help you see things in perspective; If you’ll agree with her, this will be often enough to silence your inner critic, if its voice is coming mainly from self doubt.
Often point 1 will be enough to calm your inner critic, and be able to move forward.
Sometime when I can’t talk with other people I do a variation of this exercise: I write a letter to an old friend where I write down what is happening, what I’m thinking and how I am feeling (of course you don’t have to actually send the letter, the exercise is just writing it).
The effort of rationalizing your thoughts will have often the same effect (but doing it with real people whose feedback you con see and hear, is of course better).
Learn to accept criticism from people the positive way
Criticism is a good thing. It shows that someone cares about you and your work.
But when is hard for you to accept criticism from other people, this will be an easy ground to trigger your inner critic.
What is the best way to react when someone gives you criticism? In general, it is good to hear what others have to say because that provides a valuable opportunity to improve your abilities and be a better person.
You must learn positive methods to take criticism from others. change that mindset and embrace the positive aspects of it.
Try these simple steps:
- Start with a softening statement
- Listen to the other person’s point of view
- Encourage them to share more of their thoughts and feelings about the issue at hand
- Don’t react impulsively
- Separate content (the words they are telling your) and emotions (how they are telling you those words).
- What part of the content can you agree with?
- What is a little thing you could do to start addressing that part?
Focus on your personal growth and see how you can improve this interaction with the other people, addressing this criticism in some little way.
Learning to respond positively to criticism will greatly improve your chances to defuse your inner critic and get forward.
Say no without feeling guilty
Learning to say no without feeling guilty is an important point to silence your inner critic.
If for you is hard to say no, you’ll be in a core trap many people have:
- If you say yes but want to say no, you’ll then feel guilty for saying yes and your inner critic will trigger.
- On the other hand, if for you is hard to say no, saying no will often make you feel guilty (due to the reasons underlying this difficulty) and your inner critic will kick in as well.
So whatever you do, you’ll feel guilty.
The only way to overcome this, is to practice saying no. You’ll maybe feel guilty as well, but at least you’ll start setting healthy barriers and get more respect in your social and professional relationships.
And as you practice saying no, the voice of the inner critic will become reduce gradually. In this way, you can learn to say yes to yourself and your own needs more often.
Give Others a Chance
Giving other people a chance is a very good way to silence your inner critic.
If your inner critic is working against other people, just give them a chance.
Work for a positive relationship, and soon you’ll be silencing your inner critic.
Trust them, open yourself, take little risks and your life will expand. Of course you could have to do this gradually, but the more you’ll expand outside, the more you’ll be silencing your inner critic.
What are some tricks to get rid of your inner critic by becoming aware of your thoughts?
Just focusing on your inner fears, doubts, and insecurities isn’t an effective strategy to deal with your inner critic. Keep focusing on the negative has the problem that you are still listening to and validating your inner critic. Dethroning your inner critic requires you stop listening to it.
You have to become aware of your inner critic thoughts and you have to choose how you do respond to them. This is important because you can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.
It’s important to pay attention to the voice of the inner critic and figure out what it’s trying to do. It should be your friend that encourages you to take action and try new things, not hold you back from doing stuff.
The first thing you need to do is identify the voice of the inner critic, what it is saying.
Once you have identified these thoughts, you can find ways to counteract them, coming up with ways of responding and neutralizing the critic’s voice.
For example, if your inner critic tells you that you are not good enough, then remind yourself that this is just a thought and not a fact.
Maybe you can’t silence your inner critic for good, but for sure you can learn how to better manage it.
Challenge your negative self talk
The first approach is just to write down your thoughts then challenge them. For example, if you think, “I am not good enough,” then challenge that thought by asking yourself questions like:
- What is the evidence for this? How do I know I am not good enough?
- Is this thought helpful to me? Is it true that I am not good enough?
- What would be more helpful for me to think about myself and my life right now?
The best time to do this exercise is just before bed at night. This will help you see your thoughts in black and white without any distractions for better analysis.
Try my “Inner critic card game”
A variation of the above exercise is to use a card game to challenge and desensitize recurring critic thoughts.
It works this way:
- Identify your critical thoughts.
- Write them down on index cards for easy reference.
- Read the list to yourself, one by one, until you’re bored of hearing what your inner critic has to say.
- Choose a card at random and respond to it with a positive affirmation, or challenge it with the questions of the previous tips if you prefer.
- Repeat steps four and five until you’ve read all the cards.
Do this a few times each day for a week, and see your inner critic voice gradually fade away.
Silencing your inner critic by journaling your thoughts
Start writing your thoughts and feelings in a journal every day, throughout the day. When the critical thoughts and feelings come up, just write them down.
At first, it could be for you very hard to do this. You could feel like a failure for having such negative thoughts and feelings. But the more you write, the more you’ll realize how common these thoughts and feelings are.
When you start to recognize your inner critic as just another part of yourself, it becomes easier to let go of the need to control your thoughts and feelings. You start to realize that you are not your thoughts or feelings. They are just passing through you. They are not you.
You can accept your feelings and thoughts as they come, without needing to judge them or change them. You can learn to simply observe the passing parade of thoughts and feelings, and let them be.
Watch this TEDx video, where you’ll see the important connection between your self-esteem, your self-confidence, your negative self talk and your inner critic.
Taming your inner critic
Rick Handson at ideas.ted.com shows how to exploit your conflict with your inner critic to put it back in its place.
It involves another part of your inner mind, the nurturer, that will support you in your hardest times against the inner critic, helping you to mine its credibility and rebuild your power on you. Check the article for more.
How can you stop your inner critic from debasing you with harsh words and convert it to a wise counselor?
Overriding your inner critic voice with positive thoughts or positive answers usually won’t stop your inner critic from being there.
So there’s a way to relate to your inner critic in a deeper way, that will give you more chances to silence it for good? There’s a way to heal your inner self?
There is a way to get support from your inner critic instead of being sabotaged?
The strategies we’ll see in this section are aiming to repurpose your inner critic intent to more positive outcomes.
This has somehow to do with talking with your unconscious, which is the inner part of your mind from which the inner critic is coming.
We’ll exploit the subpersonality approach. It sees our mind and personality made up of many independent parts acting as independent but interconnected actors, each with their own purpose and pushing towards it. These purposes are the ways your mind has adopted to ensure your safety. Therefore, your behavior will come from these subpersonalities, which all have the same ultimate purpose to keep you safe.
The inner critic, in this way, can be seen as one “part” (or subpersonality) of your mind with a behavior, a purpose and a way to communicate with you to make its purpose satisfied.
Find out more on subpersonalities in my self-confidence blog.
These strategies require some inner work, that means willing to deep dive into our own mind, explore our inner world and finally know more yourself.
So, how to know your inner self? How to know that special part that we know as your inner critic? How to talk to your inner self and your inner critic?
There are many ways to engage in this conversation, from more usual to more unconscious ones.
Talk positively with your inner critic
We simply need to talk positively to your inner critic and tell it that we like ourselves and what we’re doing, no matter how imperfect it is. It’s the only way that the inner critic will feel less powerful and eventually fade away when you achieve your goals.
You can start a positive conversation with your inner critic with the following steps:
- Sit down and relax.
- Focus on the feelings and the thoughts your inner critic is throwing to you.
- Feel them in your body (focus on where you feel the physical sensations; on temperature, pressure, etc.)
- Give the inner critic a name and imagine it’s a person, a pet, or something else you can communicate with. Naming your inner critic will help you to be acquainted and establish a communication with it.
- Thank it for coming out and ask it how it’s trying to help you.
- Thank it for its help and tell it what you are trying to do (your purpose, goal or activity that raised the inner critic) and how this is for your own safety.
- Ask it which part of your purpose it could be willing to help you with.
- When it tells you where he could help you, thank it and ask it what is the first step it could help you to do to go towards it.
- Then thank it for his help and support, and do that first step.
In this process, when you ask questions to your inner critic but don’t get answers, just keep asking until you get an answer. if the inner critic subpersonality is resisting or adverse, just imagine to send it a lot of love and continue to imagine this until it becomes collaborative.
This may sound quite elaborate, but trying it out and after a little practice, you’ll find that it gets a lot easier than it looks.
Use affirmations to silence your inner critic
By using affirmations, you can silence your inner critic and start seeing yourself as the capable person you are.
Affirmations are a great way to change your thoughts and silence your inner critic. They work by changing the way you think about yourself and the world around you.
Positive affirmations differ from the positive self talk we’ve already seen, because they are meant to be repeated many times a day to condition your mind and create a positive thinking habit.
To get an easy start, well suited for inner critics, check these affirmations for self-confidence, self-worth and self-esteem.
Use subliminals to quiet your inner critic
One way to stop your inner critic is by using subliminal messages.
A subliminal message is a type of communication technique with the subconscious mind.
A subliminal message can be delivered in three ways: via sound, light or smell.
The most common subliminal products in the market today are sound based and are just positive affirmations that can’t be heard by the conscious mind (the volume is too low) but can be heard by the unconscious mind (the volume is not that low).
They work by just listening to mp3 files, and this will submit to your unconscious mind a few positive affirmations thousands times until your unconscious (and with it, your inner critic) agrees with them.
If you want to try this, check this subliminal product from the smart guys at subliminalguru.com (they specialize in personal change tools).
It’s a 10 minutes mp3 to listen a few times each day.
I suggest to try the spoken subliminal version (included in the package) that gives a more engaging experience.
Use self hypnosis to quiet your inner critic
Hypnosis is a form of treatment that helps you find the best way to communicate with your unconscious mind. Hypnotists induce a state of trance to enter the hypnotic state during which they focus their energy on what they want to achieve, i.e., weight loss, better sleep, less headaches, etc. When in the hypnotic state, people are able to access their subconscious minds and more easily reach goals that have been elusive for years.
Self hypnosis uses many of the same techniques but it’s self-initiated.
Like for subliminals currently self-hypnosis packages on the market are just mp3 files that you listen to while relaxing.
They are usually longer but have a much deeper effect.
A product like Self hypnosis to overcome limiting beliefs from hypnosislive.com can help you get rid of negative self talk including the stuff coming from the inner critic and uncovers and addresses obstacles that are holding you back.
Self hypnosis on limit beliefs will help your mind be more open to new ideas, which will allow you to achieve your goals with less resistance.
What is an alternative to silencing your inner critic
Alternatives to silencing your inner critic will focus on improving your ability on practices that with time will focus your attention, energy and actions towards more productive results.
This empowerment will restore and expand your inner resources and this will gradually deflate your inner critic, while gradually expanding your power and possibilities.
Great approaches of this kind are:
Develop your self-belief
Self-doubt and limiting beliefs are often the root of what causes us to hesitate or not take action at all. We worry about what other people think, or we believe that we don’t deserve to have success. Sounds familiar? This is the expression of your inner critic.
So self-belief is, by definition, the inner critic’s greatest opponent. Learn to develop your self belief and your inner critic can’t help but withdraw.
Try this useful routine to reinforce your self belief:
- list your strengths;
- list your accomplishment;
- list the greatest difficulties you overcome in the past and how you did;
- list what you are trying to change but don’t have control over;
- recognize that thing for which you have no control, you must accept whatever will happens, but you’ll have control on how to respond to it;
Try my free 5 day believe in yourself challenge in my Thesolution2.com blog.
Develop your self-esteem
One way to silence the relentless critic-self in your head is through developing your self-esteem so that your inner critic can’t have any power over you, but realizing this takes practice. Developing your self-esteem is a good strategy against your inner critic because it helps you to avoid the trap of self-doubt by learning to accept and appreciate yourself whatever it happens.
Self esteem is the measure of how you feel about yourself and of course can be questioned by a zealous inner critic.
Well, it can take some time to learn how to develop self-esteem, but the first step is being able to recognize your inner critic messages that will make you feel bad about yourself.
The next step is working through anything that will come for your inner critic and that will impact your perception of your self-worth.
If you notice any of these patterns in your life, try addressing them with self-compassion and self-love.
A way to do this is with my healing self-esteem process to get started (set aside two hour to do it):
- list what you like of yourself;
- list what you like of what you are doing and what you have done;
- list what you should forgive yourself for;
- then forgive yourself for those things; if it seems difficult, read that item, inhale, say to yourself: “I forgive myself about this” and exhale;
- list things about yourself that you just should accept;
- list what your inner critic is telling you that is making you feel bad about yourself;
- list what your inner critic is telling you that make you think you are worthless;
- list what your inner critic is telling you against this exercise;
- list anything else your inner critic is throwing to you;
- scan this inner critic list, read each item and for that item tell yourself: “even if my inner critic says this, I accept, forgive and love myself”
It takes some time, but it can be revealing. And is a very good way to start healing your inner self.
Check also this article to find three ways to raise your self-esteem when you don’t belief in yourself.
Develop your self-confidence (despite the inner critic)
Self-confidence is the ability to believe in your own abilities and strengths. When you silence your inner critic, you are no longer plagued by self-doubt and can focus on what you want to do.
Self-confidence is a vital part of every person’s life. It affects everything from our relationships to our performance at work. But many people struggle with self-confidence issues and never find the inner power to change how they feel.
When you stop listening to your inner critic, you can focus on yourself and what you want. You will feel more confident because you are able to be your own person and do what makes you happy.
Boosting self-confidence can change your life. You are not powerless. You have all the power you need within you. All you have to do is stop being so hard on yourself and start developing a positive self-image instead.
I’ll tell you a little secret: you are born with full self-confidence. If you aren’t feeling this way right now, it’s by your inner critic efforts.
Watch this video to discover how you can overcome your inner critic to rebuild your self-confidence with a few core tips:
Overcoming your inner critic will greatly enhance your self-confidence, however there are many ways to develop self-confidence without having to deal explicitly with it.
One of the most simple and effective ways is to take a moment every day, and list all the things you have accomplished.
It may seem simple, but it can be very powerful in building your confidence.
You might not think that you have much going for you, but if you take a moment to reflect on what you’ve done, you’ll see that there’s a lot more there than you realize.
Go with my free 30 day self-confidence challenge for an inner journey that will show you many ways to develop your inner confidence.
Mindfulness is one tactic people use to address their inner critic. Through mindfulness, one can make time for themselves and take care of themselves, which can help them rebuild their inner resources and feel more confident.
Living in the present time and living every moment to the fullest are ways to overcome your inner critic the mindfulness way.
The breathing exercise we’ve seen as one of the first tips to silence your inner critic is a mindfulness exercise.
My preferred mindfulness exercise is this one:
- stand up
- look around you
- focus on an object around you
- focus on its shape and color
- walk to the object and touch it
- focus on the physical sensations you feel touching the object for a couple of minutes;
- restart from step 2 and do this for at least 5 minutes.
If any negative emotion arises while doing this, keep doing the exercise until the emotion disappears (as it comes, it will go away).
Once I did this for two hours (yes, two hours) and I felt amazingly (like when you feel unstoppable) for the whole following week.
Check my article that will get you started the right way.
Go with goal setting
Often can be difficult to reach your goals, especially when you are constantly telling yourself that you’ll never get there.
When you start to think negatively, it can be difficult to focus on what you want to accomplish. It’s important to remember that the only person who is going to be able to silence your inner critic is you and we have seen lots of strategies to do that.
One of the most effective ways is by setting goals that you can actually achieve.
Creating a list of achievable goals and achieving them will rebuild your self-esteem, self-confidence and self belief. This will gradually rebuild your power and your ability to reach grater goals. And your inner critic will fade away.
Try my “Setting Achievable Goals Process”:
- Create a list of goals.
- Give a rating 1 to 10 (1=almost impossible, 10 very easy).
- Take the easiest one (the one with highest rating)
- If the rating is at least 8, think on the first step and… just do it.
- If the rating is lower than 8, break it in easier and faster to achieve goals. Or replace an “outcome based goal” with a “behavior based goal”.
What does it mean to replace an “outcome based goal” with a “behavior based goal”?
It is common for people to set goals that are outcome based.
These are things like “I will lose 20 pounds” or “I will make x dollars this year.” It can be helpful to change these types of goals into goal behaviors, which are the steps one needs to take to make this outcome happen.
For example, “I am going to go on a 10-minute run 3 times this week” or “I will save an hour a week to work on a side project.
Behavior based goal are easier to achieve and will provide the person with motivation. They obviously require perseverance and discipline to keep your behavior active and create the outcomes you are aiming for.
The above process will create your list of easy goals, each with its rating of easiness. Now take the easiest one (highest rating) and you already know what comes next: “just do it”.
Check my goal setting 8 steps process for more.
In my post 10 ways to achieve your goals you’ll find also further tips to help you reach your goals even if your inner critic is slowing you down.
The opposite is also true: when you are trying to achieve your higher goals, your inner critic, at some point, will trigger. And talking with a supportive friend will give you more perspective on what’s is happening. See more on this in my “why is important to set goals and share them with others” article.
So your personal success with your goals and with your inner critic are highly correlated.
When should you use an Inner Critic to your advantage
As we all know, it’s very easy to become too hard on ourselves. A few of us may even feel like we’re always doing things wrong and that there’s no such thing as a good enough parent, spouse, or friend.
We already know that this inner critic is actually here for our own ultimate good.
The problem is, of course, when it paralyzes you and keeps you from going forward.
The inner critic has a positive purpose
We have seen many strategies to deal with it.
You can use these strategies to reduce it’s “temperature” and make help you grow.
Remember? You can give it more positive answers and you can repurpose it to help you getting forward.
The key is to understand that, as we have already seen, your inner critic is a part of us and it’s an important one.
It is there for a reason and it’s not trying to make you feel bad.
The inner critic is the voice that holds us accountable for our actions.
Remember? It’s primary intent is to keep you safe. It’s just trying to help you grow as a person and reminds us to be our best selves. It’s our inner protector, the one who makes sure we don’t fail when it matters most. It’s there to make sure we don’t get hurt or disappointed by other people. It’s there to make sure we don’t get our hopes up too high.
The trick with the inner critic is to find out when it’s most helpful and when it’s not.
Positive uses of your inner critic
You can use positively your inner critic when you’re feeling insecure about your abilities. If you deal with it correctly (as we have seen), it will help you to challenge your thoughts and remember that you are enough just the way you are.
You can also exploit your inner critic to help you to change your actions. It will allow you to focus on the areas that need improvement and give yourself a kick in the butt when you’re procrastinating.
You can also use your inner critic when you’re feeling down to help you to be grateful for what you have and focus on the positive things in your life.
Some people use their inner critic as a way to help them stay on track with their goals, they want to be the best that they can be and this is just one way they can do it.
Others rely on their inner critic for motivation. They may find themselves in the gym day after day because of an internal voice telling them, “You’re not good enough”.
So the next time you hear it in your head, don’t fight it, listen to what it has to say and try not to judge yourself for having that critical voice inside of you.
When your inner critic is useful
Your inner critic is useful when:
- It pushes you to do your best
- It reminds you that some things are possible
- It sets boundaries for what is acceptable behavior
- It helps you explore your thoughts and emotions
- It’s always there to make sure you don’t get too confident and find yourself in troubles.
It can also it can be your primary resource when:
- You want to tell yourself the truth about your actions
- You are scared of failure
- You are self-doubting
- You are feeling lazy
- You are feeling stuck
- You are feeling too proud
When you know how to deal with it, it’s always positive, because it brings up negative thoughts about yourself that will challenge your motivation, your resilience, your confidence, your self belief and your determination.
Learn to deal with it, commit to learning the strategies we’ve seen to manage it, learn to apply them to tame it and it will become an incredibly useful resource. Including protecting you from failure and self-sabotage.
How do you become more confident and happy despite your inner critic or with its help
So how are we going to manage our inner critic so that it has the best possible impact on our life?
You are worth everything and your inner critic knows it even when you don’t
Of course a rough diamond is a diamond. Shining or rough, you are that diamond and you are worth everything.
You’re such a talented and skilled person. You’re perfectly fit for the world; you just need to do it with everything you’ve got. Your inner critic might tell you otherwise, but we know that it’s because it wants you to be happy and safe.
We don’t always have to do things in a safe way. In life, you have to take risks in order for there to be any adventure. Your inner critic has the best intentions – keeping you safe from unnecessary dangers. In the early years of your life, you may have heard a voice and it might have warned you not to go over the flames because it would end up burning you.
A balanced approach to dealing with your inner critic
Learn to address your inner critic with the quick approaches, become aware of your thoughts, repurpose it, learn how to deal with it to your advantage and develop your best empowerment strategies (self belief, self-confidence, mindfulness, goal setting).
Note that these strategies, as you face new complexities, will stimulate the inner critic more and more, but if you gradually learn to manage its progressive manifestations as we have seen, your personal power will grow as well.
You don’t have to approach it all at the same time. You have here quite a wide compendium. Just try my strategies, find what works for you the easier way and get started.
Mastering your inner critic
Mastering your inner critic in a deep way is complex, because it is a core part of your inner mind and your long term safety system.
For this reason I think that only a balanced approach will give you the most from your inner critic in the long term:
- adopt a long term term strategy to develop your personal power (self confidence? goal setting? others?);
- when your inner critic kicks in and you find yourself in trouble, adopt one of the quick fix strategies to dampen its power;
- write down your thoughts;
- when things will be a little calmer go with some level of repurposing; use at least the repurposing dialogue we have seen before.
Your inner critic is your most powerful sparring partner
The inner critic analyzes your talents, your threshold, your abilities and traits in real time. What you are doing and how you are coping with your deepest barriers.
If you’ll apply to develop your inner balance and learn to interact and communicate with it, it will become your sparring partner and it will contribute greatly to your inner path towards long-term inner strength, self-confidence, growth, empowerment and success.
You will be more present, open to opportunities and more capable of achieving your goals. Your relationships will be more authentic and, finally, and you can’t help but be happier.
Now it’s your turn. The next time your inner critic arises, come back here and apply your new arsenal of strategies.
Things will change. Good luck!
To get further, you can check a self-confidence program that will work with your subconscious mind. The Hypnosis Self Confidence Bootcamp