We all carry around an inner critic that appears to be focused on making us miserable.
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.
Yet you listen to your inner critic as if you’re listening to an expert. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Here are some ways to help you silence your inner critic.
1. Ignore it
You don’t have to listen to your inner critic. You can ignore it and focus your mind instead on the present moment. This takes a little practice at first, but will get easier with time.
2. Imagine your best friend saying this to you
I reckon their language, comments, and advice would be much different than what you say to yourself. When your critical dialog starts, think about this friend, change the words to what they would have said and consciously practice being as gentle with yourself as your friend would be on you.
3. Listen to your inner critic neutrally.
Just stop and listen for a minute. Notice the things it says. It won’t take long before you realise you’re sometimes listening to a lunatic!
In fact, listen to your self-talk in general. Imagine what “you” say to yourself while you’re watching TV. It could be something like “Oh yeah! I love this movie, except the acting stinks and some parts are boring. Should I go to the bathroom and get a snack before it starts getting good. The girl in this movie reminds me of Jane from high school. She always wore that weird jewellery. I wonder if she married John. I should’ve gone to prom with John. 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 a person rambling on like this? You’d be looking for the nearest exit. Yet this is the way we talk to ourselves everyday. Realise that you’re listening to someone you’d avoid in real life. There’s no reason to take self-talk seriously, but we drag this inner dialog around with us and listen to it!
4. Put the criticism to the test.
What evidence do you have to support this negative statement? Can you think of times 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? Challenge the things that you say to yourself and give yourself a reality check.
5. Write it down.
Instead of just hearing your inner critic, write down what was said and read it. It will seem less credible in a new format. Then question some of the statements that you wrote down. Are they really true?
6. Keep your mind on today.
The past is of little value today, and tomorrow is impossible to predict. Keep your attention on making the most of today. 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.
8. Remember successful times
Psychologists believe it requires ten positive experiences to overcome one bad experience. Take a couple of minutes each day to remember all the amazing things you’ve accomplished. In fact, with diligence, this can become a habit. As soon as a negative thought enters your mind, you can mentally say “STOP” to yourself and then instantly think of something positive.
9. Turn down the volume
I learnt this one from Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP). As you listen to your inner critic, imagine it getting quieter and further away from you. You could also change its tonality, so that it sounds like a child or a comedian. Notice how your feelings change when you do that. You might notice a sense of relief from all that “noise!”
Your inner critic has little to offer you. Realise how silly your inner talk can be. You’d never be friends with a person that spoke that way. And you’d certainly never take them seriously. You’d probably 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. Then notice how your self-confidence and success will soar.
To your success