We all have an inner critic that talks to us and offers us “advice”. The trouble is that most of the time this kind of self-talk can be very negative and unhelpful, especially when it comes to self-love and it can create a lot of anxiety and uncertainty.
Let’s face it, it’s hard to feel good about yourself when you have a strong inner critic that excels at making you feel bad about yourself. Dealing with your inner critic is one of the best things that you can do for your wellbeing. It won’t necessarily be easy but you can encourage your brain to engage in positive self-talk.
Here are some tips for moving away from self-criticism and for adopting thoughts that are helpful and confidence boosting.
What would you tell your best friend?
If your best friend experienced the same situation, it’s doubtful that you’d tell them the same things you tell yourself. We tend to be a lot harsher on ourselves than we are on other people, especially when it comes to making mistakes. The next time your inner critic rears its head, try asking yourself what you’d say if it had happened to your best friend and be kind to yourself by talking respectfully to yourself.
How to break the loop of negative beliefs.
A belief is just a thought that you keep on thinking. When you have thought a thought many times you don’t even recognise that it’s a thought anymore. You think it’s real and true. You don’t recognise that it forms a belief system and guess what? Belief systems are 100% optional.
You can choose to believe something different. You can choose to create a new belief in your life. However, it is important to choose thoughts that are believable for you. If your thoughts are so positive that they’re not yet believable, your brain is going to rebel. You can do this by starting with the negative thought and then gradually moving towards a more neutral thought and from there moving towards a more positive thought.
If your inner critic tells you that you can’t lose weight as you’ve tried unsuccessfully many times or you can’t learn a new skill then stop and realise that just because your inner critic is telling you these negative words doesn’t make them true. Tell your brain that you don’t want to listen to these negative thoughts and that you are going to choose to think positive thoughts instead.
Whichever form it takes, negative self-talk can become a self-fulfilling prophecy as an adult and can lead to repeating patterns around these beliefs. At its worst, your inner critic can lead to destructive “coping” habits such as overeating, overdrinking or even binge-watching Netflix. At the very least, it can hold you back in life and stop you being “you”.
The next step is to challenge a belief.
Ask yourself: 1) What is the thought behind this belief?
2) Where is the proof that it is true?
3) Who would you be without that thought?
And then try to change the thought to something positive that will serve you instead of pull you down.
Focus on your strengths.
Once you can recognise that your deep-seated beliefs are not truths, you can then focus on your strengths and start to see yourself in a different light. Those beliefs won’t define you and they can have less influence on your behaviour.
Your inner critic can make it difficult to appreciate your wins but this is where a “my strengths“ journal could be helpful. It will highlight to you the things that you’re good at and can retrain your brain to see the best in you, rather than the areas that you think you’re lacking in.
Use positive affirmations.
Incorporating positive mantras and affirmations into your day can help to move your thought patterns from negative to positive. This can be effective for silencing your inner critic if you adapt your affirmations to focus on positive things about yourself – particularly areas that you feel negative about right now.
Choose a positive mantra that feels believable and good to you and schedule reminders in your phone so that you can say it a few times throughout the day.
So now it’s time for you to:
1) Be kind to yourself by talking respectfully to yourself
2) Break the loop of negative beliefs
3) Focus on your strengths
4) Use positive affirmations
And to kick your inner critic to the curb!
Brooke Castillo, Wisdom from the life coach school podcast
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