Do you find yourself constantly berating yourself with negative self-talk? Do you struggle with feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt? If so, you’re not alone. Many of us carry around an inner critic that can be incredibly damaging to our mental health and overall well-being. However, it’s important to realize that your inner critic doesn’t have to control your thoughts and emotions. By learning how to silence your inner critic, you can develop a more positive mindset and boost your self-confidence.
Here are some tips to help you silence your inner critic:
Become the observer of what it’s saying
The first step to silencing your inner critic is to simply listen to it dispassionately. Take a few moments to notice the things it says. As you listen, you’ll likely realize that your inner critic isn’t friendly, helpful or rational. The things it says are often irrational and untrue. By recognizing this, you can begin to distance yourself from these negative thoughts and realize that they don’t have to control your behavior.
Imagine What Your Best Friend Would Say
When you’re struggling with negative self-talk, try to imagine what your best friend or someone you love would say to you in the same situation. The language, comments, and advice would be much different than what you say to yourself. By adopting a more compassionate and understanding tone, you can start to shift your internal dialogue to something more empowering.
Remember Your Successes
It’s easy to focus on our failures and shortcomings, but it’s important to remember all the times we’ve been successful. Take a few minutes each day to think about all the amazing things you’ve accomplished. With practice, this can become a habit. As soon as a negative thought enters your mind, remind yourself of something positive instead.
Write It Down
Instead of just hearing your inner critic, write down what was said and read it. This can be a powerful way to detach from the negative thoughts and really hear how negative and nasty it can be. It can also help you identify patterns in your thinking and work to overcome them.
Put the Criticism to the Test
When your inner critic starts to speak up, ask yourself what evidence you have to support this negative statement. Can you think of instances in the past where this statement was false? By challenging your inner critic, you can begin to weaken its hold over you.
Keep Your Mind on Today
We can’t change the past, and tomorrow is impossible to predict. Keep your attention on making the most of today since that’s all you can possibly control anyway. When you’re struggling with negative self-talk, try to focus on the present moment and what you can do to make the most of it.
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 (these things don’t need to be big, maybe seeing the sunrise or that hot cup of coffee can be a great start). By focusing on the good in your life, you can begin to shift your mindset from negative to positive.
By using these strategies, you can start to silence your inner critic and develop a more positive and confident mindset. Remember, your inner critic has little to offer you but will easily hold you back. Don’t let it control your thoughts and emotions. Instead, learn to recognize when it’s speaking up and work to replace those negative thoughts with ones that serve you so much better. With time and practice, you can overcome negative self-talk and start living a happier, more fulfilling life.
In addition to these tips, there are also some other things you can do to help silence that inner critic (because it always has SO much to say). Here are a few additional strategies to try:
It’s important to treat yourself with kindness and compassion. When you make a mistake or have a negative experience, don’t beat yourself up about it. Instead, show yourself some compassion and understanding; especially if you’re moving through something challenging. Imagine what you would say to a friend who was going through the same thing and offer yourself the same support and encouragement.
Focus on your strengths
Instead of focusing on your weaknesses, try to focus on your strengths and the things you do well. Make a list of your strengths and accomplishments and refer to it regularly. This can help to boost your self-esteem and confidence and counteract negative self-talk.
Surround yourself with positivity
The people we surround ourselves with can have a big impact on our self-talk. Surround yourself with positive and supportive people who encourage you and build you up. Avoid people who are negative or critical and who bring you down. This can help to create a more positive and supportive environment (you can feel those negative people draining your energy vs being with people who energize and inspire you).
Use positive affirmations, mantras or “bridges”
Positive affirmations are short statements that you repeat to yourself to help reinforce positive beliefs and thoughts. Examples include “I am worthy”, “I am capable”, and “I am loved”. Repeat these affirmations to yourself regularly, especially when you notice negative self-talk creeping in. (Make sure they feel believable to you. If they feel too far fetched, your mind won’t agree with them. We teach using “bridges” which are believable statements your mind can accept which moves you closer to the more empowering belief.)
Mindfulness is a technique that involves paying attention to the present moment without judgment. When we are mindful, we are less likely to get caught up in negative self-talk and more able to focus on the present moment. Practice mindfulness regularly through techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, or simply taking a few minutes each day to focus on your senses.
If negative self-talk is interfering with your daily life and keeping you stuck, it can be helpful to get the support you need to make some shifts that lead to big changes. These changes not only improve your mental and emotional health, you’ll see the impact on your health and energy too.
Negative self-talk can be a major obstacle to our mental health and well-being. However, with practice and determination, it is possible to overcome negative self-talk and replace it with more positive and supportive thoughts and beliefs. Try incorporating these strategies into your daily life and see how they can help you to feel more confident, resilient, and positive.
Founder and CEO, The PBT (Post Betrayal Transformation) Institute