Silence Your Inner Critic

We all carry around an internal critic, seemingly focused on making us miserable. However, life becomes simpler and more enjoyable when we learn to silence this inner critic. Take a moment to really listen to it, and you’ll be amazed by what you hear. Yet, despite its negativity and oddity, we often treat our inner critic as an expert, which couldn’t be further from the truth.

Here’s how to reframe your internal dialogue:

  1. Listen to your inner critic dispassionately. Take a minute to notice the things it says. Soon, you’ll realize you’re listening to a nonsensical voice. Imagine overhearing such ramblings from someone else; you’d want to escape. Realize that you’re listening to someone you’d avoid in real life. There’s no reason to take this self-talk seriously, yet we carry it around and listen to it.
  2. Consider what you would say to a friend or child in the same situation. The language, comments, and advice would be much kinder than what you say to yourself. When your critical dialogue starts, consciously practice being as gentle with yourself as you would be to a friend or a child.
  3. Recall all the times you were successful. Psychologists suggest it takes ten positive experiences to overcome one negative experience. Spend a couple of minutes each day remembering the amazing things you’ve accomplished. With practice, this can become a habit. Whenever a negative thought arises, instantly counter it with something positive.
  4. Write down your inner critic’s words. Reading them back can make them seem less credible in a new format.
  5. Test the validity of the criticism. What evidence supports it? Can you recall instances where this statement was false? How would you view the situation if you were more positive?
  6. Focus on today. The past holds little value in the present, and tomorrow is unpredictable. Concentrate on making the most of today, and tomorrow will take care of itself.
  7. Cultivate gratitude. Spending time feeling grateful uplifts your mood and alters your self-talk. List the things in your life that fill you with gratitude.

Your inner critic has little to offer you. Realize how absurd your inner talk can be. You wouldn’t be friends with someone who spoke that way, nor would you take them seriously. Use these strategies to manage your inner critic and develop the habit of speaking positively to yourself.