How to Silence your Inner Critic?
When your internal narrative is negative, it can leave you feeling defeated and damaged as it influences how you feel, behave and even how you live your life.
Some more than others are prone to self-loathing and being their own worst critic.
What Is an Inner Critic?
The inner critic tells you all the reasons you are not good enough. It is that person that is always trying to pull you down. In this case, that person is you, your inner self. That silent voice that tells you in the back of your mind ‘you look so fat today’, or ‘how stupid you are’, and even ‘of course no one will love you, look at how your life is’…
As children, we are conditioned by experiences and events. If these experiences hurt us or make us feel unloved, unsafe, unaccepted, or secluded, our young minds will develop coping mechanisms to take away the hurt. In that process, we develop beliefs depending on the way we perceive those events and how our brains registered them. Those beliefs will shape, affect and rule the rest of our lives. It is typical of young children to unconsciously interiorize painful situations as guilt, blame, or a feeling of not being worthy enough of their parents’ or others’ love. As such, their inner critic is formed – that voice that will tell you ‘it’s your fault’, ‘you’re not good enough’, etc. We then unconsciously adopt and integrate this pattern of thought toward ourselves and grow through life thinking and feeling this way.
We all carry a conversation with ourselves every day, if not every minute, some more than others. The tonality and attitude we hold with ourselves depends on the beliefs we formed earlier on. Our silent dialogue can be as supportive and positive as it can also be as hurtful and damaging.
When we develop supportive beliefs, our inner thoughts can help us access our working memory so we can:
- Better control our behavior
- Plan for the future
- Make sense of the complex world around us
On the other hand, this inner voice and the resulting thoughts can be destructive, such as when we:
- Catastrophize problems
- Get stuck in irrational thought loops
- Obsess over unlikely scenarios
How do you Quiet that inner Voice inside?
Alter Your Thinking from Being Against Yourself to Being With Yourself
First thing you need to do is to identify the negative thoughts and beliefs you experience. Try writing these thoughts down in the second person as if someone else is talking to you. You could try talking to a close friend or a relative who tends to have a more optimistic outlook. Sometimes, simply verbalizing our thoughts out loud or seeing them black on white will allow us to identify the hurtful patterns we’re stuck in. That is what a skilled therapist or psychologist will help you do. Once those negative looping thoughts are identified, it will become easier to break them.
Replace overly critical thoughts with more accurate statements.
Convert a pessimistic thought to a more rational and realistic statement. When you find yourself thinking “I can never do anything right,” you can replace it with a balanced statement like, “Sometimes I do things really well and sometimes I don’t.” The trick here is to be kinder to yourself, just as you’d be with a close friend.
Go For Good Instead of Great
You want to consider lowering your expectations for what you’ll achieve. Sometimes “done” is the most perfect anything has to be. Meaning, it’s far more beneficial to get a task completed than to get it perfect. You’ll soon realize that the rewarding feeling you get from completing a task outweighs that of anxiously trying to perfect it.
Awareness is the first step in healing. You cannot change what you do not understand. So practice paying attention to the thoughts and ideas that go through your mind, and how you subsequently react to them. You’ll soon realize which criticism or thought you have is the culprit. It’s important to start off at the very basic level, the words we tell ourselves. I like to stress on that point with my clients and make sure to educate them about the power of their words, and how every word counts in their healing journey.
Stop comparing yourself to others
Comparison can be the thief of joy. Comparing yourself to others discounts all of the humanness, efforts, strengths and wins. You are also likely comparing your “inside” to their “outside.”
Become your Own Cheerleader
The inner critic rarely acknowledges your wins so highlight your wins-big or small. This could help you build up inner power to counter your self-critical. Keep a “wins journal” and log down all the things that make you feel good. Review this journal on days when your inner critic is particularly loud.
Rewire your Mind
Often, the negative programming that is running us is deeply anchored and very challenging to change with willpower alone. In a stressful situation, our feelings and emotions, stemming from our unconscious beliefs, will resurface no matter how hard we try to keep them at bay, no matter how strong our willpower is.
This very basic knowledge -that our unconscious beliefs will almost always get the better of our conscious needs and wants, and that we need a deeper intervention to change them- is what I instill in my clients during their therapy journey with me.
Rapid Transformational Therapy, or RTT, teaches you just that- how our mind is wired, why it is that we are facing those challenges today, and how we can change things at a deeper level than just conscious behavior modification.
Our inner voice can be our worst enemy or our best cheerleader. It can propel us forward or lead to a weakened self-esteem.
Embracing personal positive changes is a must if you are facing low self-confidence. The long-lasting results can be incredibly nurturing – it all starts from within.
If you’re looking to make those changes at a deeper level, reprogram your beliefs and reset your inner critic, contact Dr. Carla to learn more.