You deserve more than what the mean voice says you do. Learn how to quiet the voice and replace it with more kindness.
by Shauna McClain
June 8, 2022
Are you hard on yourself?
Are you often your own worst critic?
Do you often downplay your capabilities?
Honestly, the answer for me with regard to these questions and many more over the years has been yes. We can often be our own worst critics, but it’s important to note we all have two voices guiding us.
One voice is positive, nurturing, uplifting-it empowers us and propels us towards our goals and endless possibilities.
And then there’s the other voice that is negative, discouraging, and critical. This voice keeps us stagnant and hinders us from reaching our full potential.
You’ve heard the saying “we are our own worst critics.” This is often true, and it can make it harder to challenge our own self-judgments.
Many of us are currently stuck because we are critical and judgmental of ourselves and others, and afraid to take chances because we doubt our own capabilities. These challenges highlight ways our inner critic holds us hostage in a negative, vicious cycle of self-loathing and negative self-talk.
Your inner critic doesn’t esteem you.
Your inner critic doesn’t encourage you.
Your inner critic doesn’t motivate you.
Stop for a second and think about times in your life that you didn’t move forward because of self-doubt, negative self-talk. That was your inner critic, playing mind games, and keeping you right where you’ve always been–it’s time to combat the vicious cycle and to silence your inner critic.
Below are just three things actions you can take daily silence your inner critic:
Mindfulness is simply being aware. When it comes to one’s inner critic it is important to be able to spot it head on in efforts to pivot and change the habit. Practicing mindfulness can help one become aware of their inner critic. Meditation is a great way to practice mindfulness. Meditation allows one to (this may be a scary word for some) sit still and tune in to one’s inner voice and feelings. This is a great way to pinpoint your inner thoughts that inevitability attributes to how you feel, and eventually react.
Self-talk is your internal dialogue (i.e., what you say to yourself internally). When your inner critic reigns, your internal dialogue can be quite negative. To address that and change one’s mindset, shifting our inner voice is beneficial. Our self-talk is often fueled by our thoughts and beliefs (and past experiences). As such, positive self-talk takes practice, because you effectively are combating your core thoughts and beliefs. Some ways to practice positive self-talk are:
Self-compassion entails being kind to yourself, forgiving yourself, accepting yourself, and loving yourself even in the unfavorable situations. Rather than playing judge and jury, and giving ourselves the guilty verdict, it’s imperative to recognize self-judgment and offer ourselves grace in every situation. None of us are perfect; your worth doesn’t change when you fall short of your own expectations.
Truth moment: to this day, my inner critic still nags me, but I now allow her to work in my favor. I now know and understand that when my inner critic speaks up, it is letting me know that I am getting closer to something new and scary, but nevertheless exciting. Rather than give into the nerves, I now can embrace the lessons and opportunities that are on the way.
Remember to breathe, feel your feelings, and keep moving forward! (The Chill Method can help!)
EDITED BY CORI HILL
Disclaimer: Keep in mind that the above article is informational only and not a replacement for therapy or medical advice. You are encouraged to make decisions for your mental health in consultation with a licensed mental health professional.
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