Silence Your Inner Critic, StrongBlackWoman
We all carry around an Inner Critic that seems to be continually focused on making us miserable, keeping us from “getting above our raising”, and generally keeping us extra humble.
Life is simpler and more enjoyable if you can silence your inner critic. If you spend some time and really listen to this critic, you’ll be amazed by what you hear. You’ve never known anyone so negative or so odd – that voice is a part of you, and yet, if that voice were a separate person, you’d cut them out of your life in a heartbeat!
On some level, you know this, and yet you listen to your inner critic as if you’re listening to an expert. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Change how you view your internal dialogue:
1. Listen to your inner critic dispassionately. Just stop and listen for a minute. Notice the things it says. It won’t take long before you realize you’re listening to a lunatic. In fact, listen to your self-talk in general – objectively. Review what “you” say to yourself while you’re watching TV:
“Oh yeah! I love this movie, except the acting stinks and some parts are boring. I think I have time to go to the bathroom and get a snack before it starts getting good.
The girl in this movie reminds me of Mary from high school. She always wore that weird jewelry. I wonder if she married Steve. I should’ve gone to prom with Steve. I looked fat in my prom dress and I never should have gone with Brian.
I’m still fat and can barely get off the couch because I’m stuck so far down in the cushions. If my mom had treated me better, I wouldn’t be so addicted to eating junk. I loved watching Fat Albert when I was a kid…”
What would happen if you were sitting next to someone rambling on like this? You’d be looking for the nearest exit – and wondering why they were so hard on themselves. Yet this is the way we speak about ourselves, to ourselves. Realize that you’re listening to someone you’d avoid in real life. There’s no reason to take this kind of self-talk seriously, but we drag this inner dialog around with us and listen to it!
2. Ask yourself what you would say to a good friend or a child you cared about in the same situation. Or imagine what your true friend would say to you. The language, comments, and advice would be much different than what you say to yourself – less harsh, and more focused on productive ways to move forward.
When your critical dialog starts, ignore the criticism and consciously practice being as gentle with yourself as you would to a friend or a child.
3. Remember all the times you overcame challenges and were successful. Psychologists believe it requires ten positive experiences to overcome one bad experience. Take a couple of minutes each day to remember the all the amazing things you’ve accomplished, and use those memories to power you forward and increase your self-esteem and confidence.
In fact, with regular practice, this can become a habit. As soon as a negative thought enters your mind, you can instantly think of something positive, instead.
4. Write the criticism down and analyze it. Instead of just hearing your inner critic, and accepting what it says as the “gospel truth”, write down what was said and read it out loud, then counter it with positive / truthful statements. It will seem less credible in a new format, because it is! Speaking the positive out loud is even more powerful.
5. Put the criticism to the objectivity test. What evidence do you have to support this negative statement? Examine whether it happens “all the time” as your Inner Critic may have thought. Can you think of instances in the past where this statement was false?
If you were more positive, how would you view this situation? What can you gain from your current situation?
6. Keep your mind on today, the present moment. The past is of little value today, and tomorrow is impossible to predict. Keep your attention on making the most of today – the current instance of time that you’re living in. By doing that consistently, tomorrow will take care of itself.
7. Be grateful. The easiest way to uplift your mood and your self-talk is to spend time feeling grateful. List the things in your life that fill you with feelings of gratitude, joy, and possibility.
Your inner critic has very little to offer you, and does NOTHING for your forward progress. Realize how silly your negative inner talk can be. You’d never be friends with a person that spoke about you or to you that way. And you’d certainly never take them seriously. You’d stay as far away as you possibly could.
Use these tips to keep your inner critic under control and develop the habit of speaking positively to yourself, instead. Your self-confidence and success will soar.