Your inner critic, also known as your “inner voice”, can often be your worst enemy. Internal feelings of criticism, fear, frustration or disapproval can often lead to lower self-esteem and unproductive thoughts or actions. Rather than lifting us up, our inner critic tends to tear us down by telling us all of the reasons we are not good enough. If you struggle to silence your inner critic, try following a few of these simple strategies to learn how to effectively quiet those thoughts:
Ruminating on things you’ve done wrong or mistakes you’ve made can be destructive. A great way to stop replaying these negative moments is to refocus your thoughts and energy on something positive and meaningful. Activities such as getting outside for some fresh air, talking to a friend about a new topic, or listening to music may be helpful. You can also try using these positive affirmations to help guide you to more constructive thoughts.
Did you know that multiple studies have shown that up to 10% of our thoughts involve comparisons of some kind? Comparing yourself or your achievements to others can be harmful and fuel your inner critic even more. One easy way to stop comparing yourself to others is to limit your social media intake. Social media often distorts our perception of reality and leads to more negative self-talk. Another simple tactic to stop comparing is to focus on your own unique strengths and abilities. Balance your thoughts by practicing self gratitude and remembering that every person has their ups and downs in life.
Self-compassion is the ability to offer yourself love and kindness even amidst failure, disappointment or frustration. People with self-compassion are less likely to be critical of themselves and less likely to be anxious or depressed, according to a journal article published by Neff, Kirkpatrick and Rude. This, in turn, leads to greater life satisfaction. “Most of us have a good friend in our lives, who is kind of unconditionally supportive,” says Neff. “Self-compassion is learning to be that same warm, supportive friend to yourself.” When you feel your inner voice growing critical or negative, try practicing some self-compassion to forgive yourself and show yourself the kindness you deserve.
Refocusing your thoughts, limiting your social media intake and practicing self-compassion can all be powerful tools to silence your negative inner dialog. The next time you find yourself battling your own inner critic, try using some of these tips to continue working towards becoming the best version of yourself.