"The inner critic is like a guard at the edge of your comfort zone. As long as you don't venture forth out of that zone, the inner critic can leave you alone.'" -Tara Mohr
The inner critic refers to that nagging voice inside your head that criticizes and doubts your abilities, actions, and worth. Quieting the inner critic can be challenging, but it is possible with consistent practice. Here are some strategies to help you quiet your inner saboteur:
Start by becoming aware of the negative voice of the critic inside your head. Simply notice when it shows up and be aware of the specific words and statements it uses. This awareness is crucial because it allows you to separate yourself from the critical voice that is not your true self. You may even want to name and call out that critical voice, such as, "There's Aunt Mabel or Cruella, criticizing me again."
Challenge the inner critic's statements. Once you become aware of the inner critic's presence, ask yourself if there is any evidence to support the negative thoughts? For example, if your critic calls you a "loser," counter with facts to the contrary. Your critic wins when it can keep you playing small.
Counteract the inner critic's negativity by acknowledging your strengths, achievements, and positive qualities. Make a list of these accomplishments and refer to them whenever the critic starts to overpower your self-belief.
Replace any inner self-criticism you hear with self-compassion. Treat yourself with kindness, understanding, and patience. Accept yourself as you are, embracing your imperfections and seeing them as a part of your growth and learning process. Slow down and take precious time for your own care and self-love.
The inner critic thrives on fear and self-doubt. Break free from its grip by taking action even when you feel afraid or uncertain. By stepping outside of your comfort zone and stepping into your fears, you diminish the inner critic's power. Simply take the first step!
Sometimes, when my inner critic rears its ugly head, I find it helpful to check out what's causing my self-doubt. Perhaps my critic compared me unfavorably to someone else or noticed that I was doing something positive and rewarding.
Surrounding myself with positive and encouraging people who will lift me up rather than tear me down is also an important tool in quieting the critic. It's key for each of us to find those who will champion us and who want to bring out the very best in us.
Connie Leach, Ed.D.
Women's Empowerment Coach, Author