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.