What Is Your Inner Critic?
Your Inner critic refers to the inner voice that judges, criticizes, or belittles you whether or not the self-criticism is deserved. A highly active inner critic can take a toll on your emotional well being and sabotage your self-confidence.
Your inner critic can produce feelings of shame, self-doubt, cause low self-esteem, and depression. It can also cause social anxiety.
The first step to recognizing and dismissing your inner critic is to become mindful of it. Many aren’t even aware of its existence. The next time you’re feeling anxious, distracted, or numb, recognize that you may be experiencing the voice of your inner critic.
We all have one – an inner voice that suggests frustration or disapproval about our actions. A voice that is critical about your behavior.
Do Any Of These Sound Familiar?
“You should have …”
“Why didn’t you?”
“What’s wrong with you?”
“You’re so fat!”
“You brought this on yourself”
This negative self-talk is different for each of us. For some, it could be more or less frequent depending on the circumstances. It can be more intense for others, sometimes even causing depression.
A Recent Example Of My Inner Critic:
I decided to go swimwear shopping. My partner and I were taking a holiday on a cruise ship and I wanted to enjoy some time by the pool.
It had been a while since I had bought a new swimsuit and wasn’t sure of my size, so in one particular store I tried on a few things.
When I couldn’t find anything that fit or looked good, all I could think was “Yuk, these swimsuits are too tight, they don’t fit, they show all my fat bits. I feel like such a loser, I’m so fat and ugly.”
Why was I hearing this voice?
“I’ve gained weight, which makes me a failure. It means I’m old. I’m embarrassed, ashamed, and scared of getting older and gaining even more weight.”
At the time, my feelings were authentic and I was feeling vulnerable. So, how did I overcome my inner-critic?
First, I identified my vulnerability and stepped into those feelings.
I felt out of control and felt some grief about losing the fit, slim body I once had. I acknowledged that my body is maturing. I’m finding it harder to maintain my weight and muscle tone. I often feel afraid, overwhelmed, and hopeless.
Then I thought about what I really needed. I knew that I am able to deal with it. Acknowledging my vulnerability has prompted me to take better care of my health.
You too can start to overcome your inner critic by following my 4 steps.
How Can You Overcome Your Inner Critic?
Step 1: Be Aware Of Your Thoughts
Pay attention to what you’re thinking about and recognize that just because you think something, doesn’t make it true. Remember that your critical inner voice is not a reflection of reality.
Step 2. Ask Yourself What Advice You’d Give To A Friend
You’d be more likely to offer a friend compassionate words of encouragement, which is how you should be treating yourself. Apply those words of encouragement to your life.
Step 3: Create A More Realistic And Compassionate Assessment Of Yourself
Write these responses in the first person (as “I” statements). In response to a thought like, “You’re so fat and ugly,” you could write, “I may be overweight, but I am still gorgeous in so many ways.”
This exercise isn’t meant to boost your ego but instead it will show a kinder, more honest mindset toward yourself.
Step 4: Do NOT Act On The Directives Of Your Inner Critic.
Respond in a way that represents your own true point of view, who you want to be, and what you aim to achieve. By identifying, disconnecting from, and acting against this negative thought process, you will grow stronger and more resilient, while your inner critic grows powerless.
On A Side Note
Your inner critic can help you recognize areas where you want to improve. Don’t be overly harsh or negative as this will hinder your achievements and reduce any chance of reaching your goals.
Practice Taming Your Inner Critic.
Silence the negativity so that you can learn to be more productive and helpful towards yourself and your future. It’s time to think calming thoughts.