be your own cheerleader

How to be your own cheerleader and silence your inner critic

When you are too harsh on yourself, it can have a crippling effect on your confidence, self-worth and self-esteem.
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Who do you want beside you on your journey of life? Do you want a harsh critic who constantly berates you or do you want an ally who believes in you and encourages you? You are your only constant companion in life’s journey and therefore, it is very important to guide your inner voice carefully. Clearly, you will be stronger and more confident in dealing with hardships when you believe in yourself, as opposed to pulling the rug out from underneath yourself by letting your inner critic take over.

You may not realise it often, but your inner critic can hold you back from creating the change you want to see in your life. Think of it as a form of self-sabotage. How can you expect to move forward when your inner critic and judgemental voice is constantly pulling you down for ‘not being good enough’ or ‘always making mistakes’?

When you are harsh on yourself, it can have a crippling effect on your confidence, self-worth and self-esteem. Bestselling author and researcher Brené Brown says, “Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.”

One of the best ways to silence your inner critic is to be your own cheerleader and become your own source of encouragement. Believe in yourself even when others are trying to bring you down. How you speak to yourself can greatly influence how you feel and behave. When you engage in positive self-talk, you become more confident, motivated, productive and develop the ability to dispel negative emotions.

While positive self-talk comes naturally to some people, others cultivate this skill through practice and meaningful strategies. If you want to be your own cheerleader and silence your inner critic, here are some tips that you may find helpful.

Do not compare yourself to others

No matter how accomplished or successful you may be, when you start comparing yourself to others, you start looking for shortcomings within yourself. This can hurt your confidence and stop you from realising your potential. You may start feeling like you don’t measure up and begin questioning your own abilities. An excellent way to stop comparing your life to others is by accepting who you are and what makes you unique. Focus on your strengths and capabilities, and use them to reach your goals in life. When you finally learn to accept yourself for who you are and stop comparing yourself to others, a whole new world of opportunities will emerge and you’ll be able to fulfil your potential, thus silencing your inner critic.

Identify your negative thought patterns

Do you find yourself saying things like ‘I’ll never be successful,’ ‘no one appreciates how hard I work,’ or ‘I will always be lonely’ and so on? If so, this is your inner critic undermining your faith in yourself and fostering self-criticism and distrust. To stop such negative thought patterns from ruining your peace, you need to be aware of where these thoughts emerge from so you can put a lid on them. To do so, you must pay attention to your triggers—when you slip into a bad mood or become upset. These negative shifts in emotions usually occur when you pay attention to your inner critic. Once you identify your negative thought patterns, you can take control of your inner voice by focusing only on the positive aspects of your life.

Practice self-compassion

When you accept that life is not always perfect and that failures are opportunities for learning, you take a step towards developing a positive mindset. This will help you embrace your uniqueness, move past self-judgment and practice self-compassion. Research suggests that an attitude of kindness towards yourself can strengthen your ability to learn from your mistakes, which can expand your perspective, making you more creative and resourceful. So, the next time you fall short of your expectations or are unable to accomplish something, remember not to be so harsh on yourself and treat yourself with kindness.

Engage in positive self-talk

What you say to yourself will either encourage and motivate you or limit you. According to a study, the language you use during self-introspection influences how you think, feel and behave under social stress. For instance, if you crack a joke in front of your colleagues and no one laughs, instead of thinking, ‘I should have just kept my mouth shut’, you can think, ‘It’s okay. At least, I tried to make them laugh.’ The first version of self-talk will make you question yourself. The next time, you will find yourself hesitating to talk openly with the same people at work. Worse yet, you may even start avoiding them out of the fear of embarrassment. Meanwhile, the second version allows you to give yourself another chance. You will be able to interact with your colleagues without any self-doubt or negativity. Therefore, positive self-talk can make you more hopeful, positive and lead to your overall wellbeing.

Create a self-care routine

Self-love is one of the most important steps toward giving yourself the love and care that you deserve. Following a self-care routine is a great way to show yourself some love by putting your physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing first. By taking some time out exclusively for yourself, you will be better equipped to deal with stress and live your life purposefully. Start by creating a healthy routine with sound nutrition, ample sleep, exercise and positive social interactions. Supplement these activities with pockets of wellbeing and ‘me-time’ by doing the things you love. It could be watching your favourite movie, taking a warm bath, reading a book or getting outdoors. Being nice to yourself can give you a break from self-judgement and silence your inner critic.

Celebrate your success

If you’ve noticed when footballers score a goal, they celebrate it with great pomp and show. Doing so keeps them motivated for more goals and successes. Similarly, when you put your time and effort into something, it is important to reward yourself after accomplishing it. You can start by practising gratitude and giving yourself due credit for your successes and milestones, no matter how small. Doing so will boost your self-esteem and create a positive cycle toward bigger victories in the future.

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