Your Inner Critical Voice
Your Inner Critical Voice
There’s hardly any crueler critic than your inner critical voice. A harsh internal critical voice can stymie our personal growth and learning opportunities. Negative messages and comments directed towards us early in our lives can end up as part of our internalized selves. Messages that tell us we are not good enough or not capable can easily become part of our internal dialogue. Once there, those messages can be challenging to remove or reframe, but it’s not impossible.
Your inner critical voice is a self-destructive stream of thoughts inside your mind that may often seek to undercut your happiness and ruin your success and progress in life. It’s not necessarily your true thoughts, but is a dark and depressing reflection of your worst fears.
A harsh—or even abusive—inner critic can be silenced. Your internal dialogue can transform into a positive, comforting companion. It takes some work and doesn’t happen overnight. Always remember your inner critical voice is not telling you facts.
It’s not congruent with reality at all, and there are many ways to silence that voice. Consider the following steps on your path to quietening an inner critical voice.
- Cultivate and develop an awareness of your interior dialogue. Most people have a voice running through their thoughts all day, every day. That voice is a negative reflection of our self-image, our self-esteem. When you feel down over something, pay attention to your thoughts. Are they straying into the unrealistically negative?
- Let mistakes go. Stop condemning and chastising yourself over mistakes, failures or embarrassments. They happen. There’s just no point in ruminating over things that didn’t go right. Sometimes people understandably think that be replaying whatever went wrong over and over, they can somehow learn not to make that mistake again. Yes, we can learn from mistakes, yet dwelling over things can be just reinforcement for our darkest thoughts about ourselves.
- Be kind to yourself. Ask yourself if you’d speak to a friend or someone you respect in the same way your critical voice speaks to you. Would you tell someone you loved “You always mess up,” or “Why bother? Everyone thinks you’re ridiculous.” Of course, we don’t talk that way to people we respect, but we lash ourselves with those terrible statements daily. Extend yourself the same kindness you give others.
- Challenge or dispute your inner critic’s exaggerations with facts. Put things into balance. The inner critic always exaggerates. For example, an inner voice who tells you that you’re always weak can be countered with your writing or saying to yourself, “No, I am not weal. I have problems sometimes, but here I am. I get through my problems.”
- Consider what’s the worst that could happen. If your inner critical voice is screaming that you’re going to blow an important presentation or ruin an interview and never get another job, then redirect that scary and destructive exaggeration. Even if you lost your job, you’d find another one. Make sure to confront your inner voice with reality.
- Don’t do what your negative inner voice tells you! It will tell you to give up, or quit your job, or even give up with life altogether. That voice can be that horribly harsh sometimes. Act with compassion toward yourself and be true to who you are—the best you, the real you. The things you want to achieve, the good outcomes in life you deserve, those are what you need to focus on.
Finally, practice self-talk. When your inner critic gets going, tell yourself that the fear isn’t you. Sometimes you’re afraid, because you’re human, and everyone is afraid sooner or later. However, that fear isn’t who you are, and it’s not going to stop you.
When it comes to your inner critical voice trying to scare you into immobility, remember that it’s ok to be scared. Be scared and still go forward boldly with your life!
“Forgive yourself for not having the foresight to know what now seems so obvious in hindsight.” -Judy Belmont
Thank you for visiting Beyond My Label. Best regards from Paul Inglis.
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