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Silence your Inner Critic
An inner critic is your inner voice which constantly helps you understand where you are wrong and how to make things right. Your inner critic is also called the inner voice or superego. If your mind likes judging, it means that there is a definite existence of your inner critic. Having an inner critic is important because it helps you learn from your mistakes and experiences. It is a healthy human trait and helps you achieve great things in life. Many of them think self-criticism is good, but it is very important to keep it in check and make sure it is healthy. Many times, your inner critic might cross the line making you feel not good enough. Your inner critic judges and criticizes you. It leaves you feeling sad, shameful, anxious, depressed, guilty.
Your inner critic can purely depend on the life situations and the people around you. That is if you were criticized constantly in the past by your parents, friends or teachers, or you have undergone a traumatic situation, or have people who were/are seeking perfection from you. All the external voices in your childhood/past influence your inner voice. Your inner critic has a child’s perspective and a child’s voice. You cannot reason with your inner critic and also you are not a child anymore. You cannot make it go away either. That is why it is very important to understand and question it.
How does it affect your self-confidence?
Your inner critic is nothing but your inner voice that scrutinizes every tiny anxiety. It is like an enemy that affects your performance in life. If your inner critic is too active, it is going to disturb your self-esteem and your overall mental well-being. High chances are, it affects your decision making and lowers your self-confidence. It doubts and questions every decision of yours which is very exhausting.
Your inner critic can sound like – “You are useless”, “You are a failure”, “You are not beautiful”.
Now, you might have this question – “How to stop being so self-critical?”
Your inner critic is hypervigilant because of your past and it looks after you and protects you. It is natural that it gets hurt when you get hurt. This is the main reason why it is so important to practice healthy ways to cope with your inner critic
Ways to silence your inner critic
There are four essential ways that can be used to silence your inner critic.
1. Question your inner critic
Become aware of your inner voice, understand and question it. Remember your inner critic is living inside you and it won’t just disappear.
Start treating your inner critic as a friend, not a foe. Give a fancy name to your inner critic like “Mr Superego” or “Miss. Perfectionist”. You need to question it whenever it tells you something wrong. Separate the negative voices, but accept that your inner critic is a part of you. You cannot get rid of it but you can silence it. Notice where and why you are being so self-critical.
2. Replace negative voice with positive
Once you start noticing, carefully listen to your inner critic. You will understand that there are so many things it tells you which might not even be true. Know your inner voice and bring in a voice of support.
Slowly switch your negative emotions and thoughts to positive thoughts. It can be like – “I am stupid” → “I have done well in the past, I can do it again.” or “I am such a failure” → “I will learn from this experience so that I will be better next time.”
3. Practice self-compassion
Next time when your inner critic is bossing you around, remember to not be harsh on yourself. Instead, try being kind and practice compassion. Self-compassion will definitely soothe your inner critic. Studies show that people practising self-compassion can make better decisions and lead a balanced life.
By checking in with yourself constantly and being kinder to yourself is very important. Your inner critic can be monitored by practising mindfulness.
4. Accept yourself
Your inner critic will constantly try to make you feel guilty for your past mistakes. It is okay to feel guilty for your mistakes because it shows that you care about the consequences. But you are not supposed to allow your inner critic to dwell on the guilt. Remember that guilt is just a part of the process.
Acknowledge your mistake and forgive yourself. Avoid too much regret and guilt. Remind yourself that you are doing the best you can. To have a better idea of how to accept yourself, check our article on how to accept yourself.
Meditation helps you connect with your innermost thoughts. You can quieten your mind and spend a few moments of calmness. It helps you reduce stress, be more positive and reduce any negative thoughts as well.
Just 5 minutes of meditation every day and you can boost your overall mood and confidence levels. It will help you silence your inner critic as you become closer to your thoughts and are able to connect with them and see yourself in a better light.
Research has shown that journaling every day helps you reduce negative thoughts and be more positive. Specifically, gratitude journaling helps. Why? When you write down things you are grateful for or made you happy, you are helping your mind be positive and think of the good and happy things in your life rather than the negative ones. Your inner critic and the negative self-talk is silenced and your more positive and motivational voice gets a chance to talk.
If you want to journal every day, try and make it a habit by adding it to your bedtime routine. Write down just a few things or people who made you happy during the day and take a moment to appreciate them. It will help you silence your inner critic and boost your overall well-being!
You can silence your inner critic by introspecting your behaviour, your actions and by working on yourself if you dislike something about it. Using healthy ways to understand your negative thought patterns and silence your inner critic is very important.
You can find a journey on the Evolve app designed to help you silence your inner critic and balance your thoughts which can help you perform better in life. It is designed with proven techniques and includes actionable habits which you can add to your day and life.
Evolve helps make your personal growth joyful and simple and helps you balance your stress, anxiety within minutes. The Evolve US app is now live globally on Android & Apple.
*Lalitha Pidatala is a co-contributor to this article.
With over 300 articles published on Evolve. Jash is one of the most viewed writers on topics such as Sleep, Mindfulness and Stress. Drop a mail at Jash@evolveinc.in to connect with him.