You have an inner critic. It is a part of you. It has good intentions. It wants to keep you safe.
It only knows what you have experienced before in your life. It feels threatened by anything new.
The good news is that you can learn to quiet your critical inner voice. Your ego needs some reassurance that you, as an adult can take care of yourself.
At first, it takes time to become aware of your inner critic. Often you are so used to this voice you think it is a normal part of yourself. You don’t realize how this voice has hurt you. You don’t realize how much you have missed in life because of your fears.
You need to be patient with yourself as you do the critical work to release yourself from your inner negativity. You need to practice a lot of self-love.
It will feel like you are moving two steps forward one step backward, don’t give up. With time and growing self-awareness, you will start to notice a difference.
As you release your inner critic, you will start to experience greater joy in your life because you are open to following your heart. Trying something new will become exciting instead of scary.
Unfortunately, your inner critic will show up during times of high stress. However, as you become more aware of yourself, you will be able to stop yourself from getting overwhelmed by its negativity in the future.
Here are 4 ways to stop the inner critic from taking over your life:
1. Quiet your mind:
Learning to calm your mind is an excellent place to start. Your inner critic thrives when your mind is in chaos.
Your inner critic will have a hard time staying active when your mind is open and calm.
There is no one way to quiet your mind. You might find meditation helpful. There are many ways to meditate. If you are part of a faith community, you might want to learn about the meditative traditions of your religion.
In Christianity, there is a powerful practice called Centering Prayer, which is intended to help you to listen for the spirit within yourself.
There are meditations called Body Scans that help you to get in touch with your emotions and the sensations of your body.
You might want to try mindfulness meditations which use a psychological process of bringing one’s attention to the experiences happening in the present moment.
There are many other practices to quiet your mind. They can include taichi, yoga, walking, singing, gardening and cooking. Think for a moment what you might like to try first.
Keep experimenting until you find the practice that works best for you.
2. Practice self-love:
Your inner critic quiets down when you care for yourself and ignore the critical voice within.
What is self-love? Self-love is learning to practice self-care. It is learning to make yourself a priority.
It is learning to catch yourself when you are feeling critical towards yourself and give yourself space to be human.
To be human is to be imperfect. To be human is not to be afraid of making mistakes. Some of the most significant inventions have happened in the world from an error such as post-it notes, penicillin and potato chips.
Your soul will help calm your anxious feelings. You will know that you can take care of yourself.
3. Stay curious to the accuracy of your thoughts:
Your inner critic will use any excuse it can think of stop you doing something new. It will use every tactic in its book to put you down.
It will say things like:
· You are stupid
· You are dumb
· Nobody likes you
· You are a failure
· You are useless.
I expect you have heard this voice before.
When your inner critic gets overactive, it will lie. The trouble is that you have heard these so many times you have started to believe them.
It is essential to be curious and discern if any of these claims by your inner critic have any truth.
For example, you have heard your inner critic tell you over and over you are stupid. Take some time to discern if there is any truth to this claim. The only truth might be that you have made some poor choices in your life, but as to whether you are stupid, this is a big lie.
So, instead of blindly accepting the complaints of this voice get curious and discover the truth. You will find that most if not all your inner critic statements have no truth to them.
4. Choose to follow the quiet, loving voice of your soul
You, like all of us, have access to inner guidance. You might refer to this inner guidance as God, spirit, better self, authentic self, and the universe.
Within you is a voice that can lead you to be your best self. It can help you to find the courage to follow your dreams. It can help you to know the difference between your inner critic and your soul’s voice.
Over time you will be able to differentiate between the two voices. The inner critic is usually loud, impatient and demeaning. The voice of the soul is typically quiet, gentle and strong.
As you become more present, you will be better able to hear the voice of your soul. You will not only listen to the voice, but you will feel it in your heart and body.
One big difference between the voices is that the voice of your soul uses language, emotions and sensations that encourage you to be your best. Only the inner critic will harass, condemn and belittle you.
Befriending your inner critic is lifelong work. Over time, with practice, you will get better at it.
Start with finding ways to quiet your mind. The inner critic quiets down whenever your mind is calm.
Practice self-love will help you to stay grounded in the truth. Self-love calls upon you to be gentle with yourself. Self-love encourages you to take care of your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs. The inner critic never does well when you are taking care of yourself.
Stay curious to the truth of the thoughts going on in your head. You will know the difference between the voice of your soul and the voice of your ego. Most of what the inner critic says about you is a lie.
In the end, keep the focus on the gentle, quiet and strong voice of your soul. Whenever you listen to your soul, you will get a clearer picture of the type of life you are being called upon to live out.
You will have all the courage you need to live your life fully. You will feel good about yourself. You will feel a profound joy that will help you to thrive through all the ups and downs of life.
I am, Roland Legge, an Identity Coach here to help you to stop the inner critic from taking over your life. You can join my private newsletter list for Free Monthly Advice and get Your Free Enneagram Test and sign up for a Free 30 Minute Discovery Call with Roland Legge