We all carry around a critic that appears to be focused on making us miserable. Life is simpler and more enjoyable if you can silence your inner critic. If you spend some time and really listen to this critic, you’ll be amazed by what you hear. You’ve never known anyone so negative or so odd.
Yet you listen to your inner critic as if you’re listening to an expert. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Change how you view your internal dialogue:
1. Listen to your inner critic dispassionately. Just stop and listen for a minute. Notice the things it says. It won’t take long before you realize you’re listening to a lunatic. In fact, listen to your self-talk in general. Imagine what “you” say to yourself while you’re watching TV:
- “Oh yeah! I love this movie, except the acting stinks and some parts are boring. I think I have time to go to the bathroom and get a snack before it starts getting good.
The girl in this movie reminds me of Mary from high school. She always wore that weird jewelry. I wonder if she married Steve. I should’ve gone to prom with Steve. I looked fat in my prom dress and I never should have gone with Brian.
I’m still fat and can barely get off the couch because I’m stuck so far down in the cushions. If my mom had treated me better, I wouldn’t be so addicted to eating junk. I loved watching Fat Albert when I was a kid…”
- What would happen if you were sitting next to a person rambling on like this? You’d be looking for the nearest exit. Yet this is the way we speak to ourselves. Realize that you’re listening to someone you’d avoid in real life. There’s no reason to take self-talk seriously, but we drag this inner dialog around with us and listen to it!
2. Ask yourself what you would say to a friend or a child in the same situation. Or imagine what your best friend would say to you. The language, comments, and advice would be much different than what you say to yourself.
- When your critical dialog starts, ignore the criticism and consciously practice being as gentle with yourself as you would to a friend or a child.
3. Remember all the times you were successful. Psychologists believe it requires ten positive experiences to overcome one bad experience. Take a couple of minutes each day to remember the all the amazing things you’ve accomplished.
- In fact, with diligence, this can become a habit. As soon as a negative thought enters your mind, you can instantly think of something positive, instead.
4. Write it down. Instead of just hearing your inner critic, write down what was said and read it. It will seem less credible in a new format.
5. Put the criticism to the test. What evidence do you have to support this negative statement? Can you think of instances in the past where this statement was false?
- If you were more positive, how would you view this situation? What can you gain from your current situation?
6. Keep your mind on today. The past is of little value today, and tomorrow is impossible to predict. Keep your attention on making the most of today. By doing that consistently, tomorrow will take care of itself.
7. Be grateful. The easiest way to uplift your mood and your self-talk is to spend time feeling grateful. List the things in your life that fill you with feelings of gratitude.
Your inner critic has little to offer you. Realize how silly your inner talk can be. You’d never be friends with a person that spoke that way. And you’d certainly never take them seriously. You’d stay as far away as you possibly could.
Use these tips to keep your inner critic under control and develop the habit of speaking positively to yourself, instead. Your self-confidence and success will soar.