Are you struggling with silencing your inner critic? In this blog, I share 5 powerful methods on how to tackle that inner bully once and for all!
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Estimated reading time: 8 minutes
Are you constantly bashing yourself? Do you always talk badly about yourself, both to other people as well as in your mind?
You might be dealing with a strongly present inner critic. It can be truly exhausting to deal with this issue. In fact, I myself am dealing with this too.
For years I’ve been telling myself that I am not good enough, that I am worthless, that I am less deserving of good things than others.
Now that I am 28 years, I have decided that enough is enough. Time to tackle that inner critic once and for all! Therefore, I started researching ways to manage to silence that nagging voice inside me.
In my search of methods that are effective for silencing your inner critic and reduce overthinking, I have found some super helpful tips that I’d like to share with you in this blog.
However, before we dive into the methods for silencing your inner critic, let’s have a look at what an inner critic actually is.
What Is An Inner Critic?
The inner critic is the voice in your mind that has taken the role of the evaluator.
It evaluates every single step you take, everything you say, how you act around others, how you divide your day and it is in fact truly obsessed with you.
This voice isn’t going to sugarcoat its opinion. It is going to launch it at you, not caring about how it is going to make you feel.
Many of us might experience this as frustrating and want to get rid of our inner critic once and for all. However, it is important to notice why the inner critic is there in first place.
Why Do We Have An Inner Critic?
Good news: the inner critic is there for a reason, believe it or not!
Actually, our inner critic is trying to protect us from shame and pain by preparing us for what others may tell us.
In fact, your inner critic helps you at a young age, when your parents tell you how to dress in order to fit in, when your church provides you with guidelines on how to act properly in society or when you are being called out on your behavior. It remembers all that criticism and tries to help you to improve yourself according to the standards you have learned. Moreover, it wants you to feel accepted and loved by others.
Therefore, the inner critic can be useful and the original thought behind it is logical. Your inner critic helps you to feel accepted and liked by others.
When Should You Consider Silencing Your Inner Critic?
While the initial thought behind the inner critic function is good, there is a downside to it. It does not always know when to stop. The inner critic may not be aware when enough is enough.
In fact, the inner critic may start to take over the thoughts in your mind and desperately try to control your every move.
Once you feel that your inner critic is underminding you and limiting you from living your best life, it is a sign. That is when you know it is time to start silencing your inner critic.
Not silencing it 100%, but giving it a less prominent position in your mindspace. Remember, the function of the inner critic is still useful to protect you from pain and shame.
5 Powerful Methods For Silencing Your Inner Critic
Now that you are aware of the inner critic and its function, it is time to truly start tackling it.
Below, I have listed 5 methods that I have found in my search for tips on silencing your inner critic.
1. Monitor Your Thought Patterns
Before you start silencing your inner critic, it is important to know what your inner critic actually is telling you throughout the day. After all, you can’t silence your inner critic when you don’t really know when it is present.
Therefore, the first step in order to learn silencing your inner critic, is to monitor your thought patterns.
For example, you may consider trying this exercise, which I did a year ago with my life coach. It is an effective method to monitor your thought patterns.
Awareness is the first step towards change and the same goes for your inner critic. Therefore, try to become aware of your inner critic and what it is telling you.
2. Listen To Your Inner Critic
One of the most powerful methods I discovered, is to consciously allow your inner critic to talk to you every now and then. Usually, we tend to try to push away negative thought patterns, because they are unpleasant.
However, if you choose to give your inner critic 2-3 minutes to express themselves, while you write down everything they are telling you, you will notice something funny:
Your inner critic usually always tells you the same old story. It doesn’t really have new input for you. In fact, it just seems to shout the same thing over and over again throughout the day. Most likely, you will recognize many of the thoughts from method 1.
Once you have let your inner critic talk to you and written down everything it told you, you can visualize thanking them for their input and that you’ll consider it. Just like you would do when a friend would tell your their concerns about something. After your ‘talk’ wave them goodbye.
That’s when its time to (re-)evaluate the thougths on paper, with the help from your positive voices. Take each thought and evaluate it from a positive angle.
- Is it true?
- Is it new or repetitive?
- What is the function of this thought?
- Where does this thought origin from?
- How will I respond to this thought in the future?
3. Give Your Inner Critic A Persona
If your inner critic won’t stop ‘bullying’ you with the same old thought patterns, you might consider this method. One of the most powerful methods I have discovered on silencing your inner critic, is to give your inner critic a persona.
At first, it will feel weird and you will feel a bit crazy doing it. I know I did. However, it has helped me greatly to do this exercise, which is why I am sharing it with you.
For example, my persona is a strict and dominant business man in his suit, who is sitting at a meeting table and not giving room for anyone else to talk. I imagine him as this obnoxious know-it-all who just makes random claims without supporting them with evidence. I call him my inner bully.
Whenever my inner bully is acting up and taking over the meeting I literally call him out mentally. I tell him that his input is not supported by evidence and that other members of the team also should have a say in this. That is when I am giving room to the other, more positive thoughts in my mind (while ‘the inner bully is sitting in the back of the meeting room for his timeout).
It sounds really strange, but I promise you that this visualization of your thought patterns is incredibly powerful! Therefore, I am challenging you to label all your inner voices (both positive and negative) with a persona and to call them out if needed.
4. Practice Affirmations
Just like you nurture your body by eating healthy, exercising and sleeping enough, it is important to feed your mind with positive thoughts.
One of the most powerful ways I have found to tackle my inner bully, is to repeat affirmations every day. I have created personal affirmation statements that build me up and that often are going against what my inner bully is shouting.
These affirmations pop up on my phone with the app ‘Affirm it‘. However, you can also write down your affirmations on a post it and put it on your mirror. Or you could tell it to yourself whenever you brush your hair or take off your make-up.
The most important thing is to truly get into the energy of your positive affirmation statement. Believe that it is true and you will feel a shift in your energy.
However, please remember that practicing affirmations is something that should be implemented as an habit, in order to truly work well for you.
*Please note, that I am a big fan of positive psychology, because I have already healed the core of my challenges through therapy with a professional. If you are struggling with dark thoughts and trauma, I highly recommend you to first heal those traumas, before moving on to positive psychology.
5. Reflect On Your Achievements
The final method that I’d like to share with you on silencing your inner critic, is to reflect on your achievements.
We often tend to be incredibly happy and grateful about a certain achievement one day, while forgetting about it a couple of weeks later and moving on. However, when something bad happens in our life, we seem to remember it so much longer.
Therefore, I have a journal where I write down 3 daily successes and achievements every day. Whenever my inner critic is dominating my mind and nothing else seems to work, I grab my journal and read through the different achievements.
This method is incredibly powerful to remind the inner critic that you have been successful, despite their predictions and influence.
Are You Dealing With A Strong Inner Critic?
Now that you’ve read more about the inner critic, what its function is and methods on silencing your inner critic, I am curious to hear from you:
Do you struggle with a strongly present inner critic? What have you tried so far to reduce your inner critic?