Meet your worst critic–yourself. Consider this scenario, below:
Danielle worked hard to be noticed by an agent. It seemed that it was finally paying off as she sat in the lobby, waiting for her turn to audition. As she sat there, she looked around at all the other women. “Their clothes are a lot nicer than mine,” she thought to herself.
Not being able to do anything about her clothes at the moment, Danielle decided to read over the script once more, convinced that she’d forget every word as soon as she got in front of the agent. The thought of this brought sweat to her forehead. “Great, now I’ll be a sweaty mess, and my curls are going to drop. This meeting is going to be a disaster.”
A pretty woman walked out of the room and called Danielle’s name. “Here goes a train wreck,” Danielle thought to herself as she entered the room. It seemed like the agents stared a hole into her soul as Danielle repeated the script. When it was over, the said “thank you” in a monotone voice as she exited the room.
“I blew that audition. I don’t even know why I’m still pursuing this,” Danielle thought to herself as she entered the elevator. Tears ran down her face, and she didn’t even care because she figured they would blend in with her sweat.
You might not be an actor, but you can probably identify with self-critical feelings like those.
Introducing the Inner Critic
That story was depressing, but it’s a great way to illustrate how your inner critic can make your life miserable. Talking to yourself can be a good thing in some cases, and the private conversations in your head should always be inspiring. However, that’s not always the case. Sometimes that criticizing voice in your head can be a real bully.
You must silence that bully to be happy and love yourself. It’s not easy to do this, but with practice, it’s not impossible. In this article, you’ll learn a little about what an inner critic is as well as 15 ways to manage it.
Your inner critic is a voice in your head that scrutinizes even the tiniest anxieties. It’s a voice that can make you feel insecure and lower your self-confidence if you don’t learn how to tame it. Listening to it becomes addictive, and like all addictions, it can lead to self-destruction.
If you aren’t in control of that inner voice, it can seem that the voice is elusive. You’ll be so used to it that you don’t even realize when it’s speaking. However, this critical voice can become entangled deep into your sense of self – so deep that it’s almost a part of who you are.
Everyone has that judgmental voice. Some people are better at managing it than others. The good news is that you can get better at managing it. Using the 15 tips below, you can take control of your self-criticizing inner voice, silence it, and love yourself again.
Silence Your Inner Critic with These 15 Tips
1. Detach from your inner critic.
The first thing you need to do is realize that the voice in your head is not you. You could even give it a name to establish it as a separate entity. This way, when it shows up, you can say, “go away, Fred,” or whatever name you decide to use. Doing this is the first step to taking power away from Fred.
2. Post affirmations and read them often.
It’s no secret that reading or saying positive affirmations help to inspire and motivate you. This tip is especially true if you use affirmations designed explicitly for anxiety. Affirmations can boost self-love, inspire positive thinking, and push self-criticism to the back burner. Just make sure your assertions are rooted in reality, so you aren’t disappointing yourself.
3. Be aware of your thoughts.
As mentioned earlier, you could be so used to self-criticism that you don’t even realize it’s there. You may have accepted it as a way of life. To take control of Fred, you’ll need to be aware of when he rear’s his ugly head. Start paying attention to the thoughts that come across your mind so you can begin to stamp away from the negative criticism.
4. Let go of past situations.
Sometimes that awkward self-criticism can be sourced by situations or even people from your past. Someone said to you as a child could have cut you so profoundly that it remains with you through adulthood. It doesn’t matter what happened in the past or what someone said about you in the past. You determine who you are and what your life is.
5. Give yourself advice like you were a friend.
Sometimes it’s easier to give other people advice than it is to take your own. Fred is glad because he can continue to criticize you relentlessly. Instead of letting Fred win, try giving yourself advice like a friend if they were in the same situation. Then apply that to yourself.
6. Improve yourself instead of settling.
Many people give in to what their self-criticism says. Instead of doing this, prove your self-criticism wrong. Does your inner voice say you won’t pass a test? Prove it wrong by studying harder. Does it tell you that you’ll never be rich? Make a financial plan to become a millionaire and put it into action. Maybe it says you’ll never lose weight. Join a gym and workout every day. Show yourself how wrong that inner voice can be.
7. Turn criticism into constructive criticism.
Sometimes that inner voice might be hinting at a bit of truth, even if it is mean about it. This habit may take a bit of practice but try to strip down the negativity in the thought and use it as constructive criticism. For example, if your inner voice tells you that you’ll never get the promotion you so desperately want and you know that you’re always late, stop being late. You’ll still need to have a more positive inner voice but use the criticism to do better.
8. Be nice to yourself.
You can be the harshest person to yourself. This self-talk doesn’t help your self-esteem at all. Sometimes you need to give yourself a break. You’re only human, and no one is perfect. Try being better to yourself, even when you mess up, or things go wrong.
9. Celebrate your accomplishments.
When you achieve something, no matter how small it is, you should celebrate it. Reward yourself somehow for reaching your goals. Psychology tells us that self-regard isn’t selfish. In fact, it’s a great way to begin disassociating negative behaviors like the ones that trigger self-criticism.
10. Show yourself some compassion.
You’re going to mess up sometimes. That’s a part of life. No one is perfect. Therefore, you should show yourself some compassion. There are going to be times when things don’t go your way. Maybe something terrible happened. Perhaps you actually caused it. However, remember not to be so harsh on yourself. It could happen to anyone.
11. Focus on your great qualities.
Instead of focusing on what your inner voice is telling you is wrong, focus on all the things that are great about you. Drown out the negativity from Fred with as much positivity as possible. Even if it’s small things, add that to your focus list. Eventually, you’ll realize that Fred was wrong, and your positive list is a lot longer than the negative list in your head.
12. Start a daily journal.
Journaling may sound like something a teenage girl does while stretched across her bed with a fuzzy pink pen, but it’s a proven way to improve self-esteem, self-love, and self-confidence. Journaling helps to unlock things about yourself you may not be aware of. One of those things is negative thought patterns. You’ll be able to see these thought patterns and make changes to them.
13. Don’t compare yourself to others.
Comparing yourself to other people is a disaster waiting to happen. You’re not like anyone else, so you can’t expect yourself to do what everyone else does. When you compare yourself to other people, you automatically set yourself up for negative self-criticism because you’re comparing yourself to someone who you’ll never be. Instead, focus on what you can do and are willing to do to improve yourself.
14. Remember that you are your own worst critic.
You would be surprised how much other people are not criticizing you. Usually, the worst criticism happens internally. People can be so hard on themselves. It’s okay if you’re pushing yourself to be better. If it gets to a point where you’re putting yourself down, it’s time for a change.
15. Consider therapy.
If all else fails, you may need to consider getting professional help. It’s not fair to continue to allow negative self-criticism to take away your peace and your grace. Don’t feel bad if you can’t handle it on your own. That’s what therapists are for.