How To Silence Your Inner Critic In 4 Steps
External voices of criticism can often become internal.
Children who are exposed to extreme judgement and criticism by their parents may grow up to be critical of themselves. They may doubt their abilities and their intelligence among other things. As adults, they fail to show themselves kindness, understanding, and patience; instead, they are disapproving and critical of the things they say and do. Constantly criticizing yourself, disregarding your qualities, and focusing on your flaws can be debilitating. What is worse, it can lead to self-destructive behaviors, anxiety, addictions, and even depression. To ensure that you do not lose yourself completely, you need to notice and stop your inner critic.
There are 4 steps you should take to stop your inner critic.
1. Take a deep breath
If your self-criticism affects you physically, you need to hit pause and breathe. When you feel tightness in your chest, dizziness, or nausea, you should try focusing on your breath. There are various breathing exercises which you can do to lengthen your breath and relieve your physical symptoms. One such breathing technique is the 4-7-8 pattern. To do this, breathe in for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7, and then exhale for 8.
2. Notice your negative thoughts
The most important step to learning how to stop your inner critic is to notice it. Become aware of the shaming statements which you tell yourself so that you can control them before they affect you more deeply. If you hear your inner critic call you a failure, stupid, inadequate, etc., make sure to notice it.
3. Accept the inner critic
After you have noticed these thoughts, do not begin to blame yourself. If you do so, you will only be fuelling the judgement. Instead, accept that you may often get these thoughts. At the end of the day, all people have an inner critic — for some, it is just much louder.
4. Make a choice
If you have taken a deep breath, noticed the negative voice in your head, and accepted it without blaming yourself, it is time to make a choice. You can either choose to believe it — thereby driving yourself deeper into a world of shame, panic, and self-hate — or you can choose to believe in yourself.
Remember to show yourself compassion and empathy. Treat and talk to yourself as you would with a friend.