Are you your own cheerleader, or do you speak to yourself unkindly?

Three steps to silence your inner critic for good!

So are you your own cheerleader? If you are, that is fantastic, but many of us are not. 

Do you speak to yourself as you talk to those around you that you love and care for? No? Are you more likely to be self-critical and talk to yourself unkindly and not with forgiveness?

Unfortunately, it’s only too common to be unkind to ourselves when we never dream of doing the same to a family member or friend. There are many forms of self-sabotaging ourselves and being self-critical, and here are some of the most common.

Listening to Imposter Syndrome.

Is there something you want to do or achieve, but that inner critic is raising its ugly head again, telling you that you don’t know enough, you are not an expert, there and a hundred other people who are already doing it and they are better than you.

Did you know that even top CEOs of big companies suffer from imposter syndrome?  They are waiting for someone to discover that they have made a mistake in giving them their position and revealing them as a fraud. It’s crazy!

Know that whatever it is you want to do, you can do it!  You have the skills, knowledge, and unique gifts that will enable you to offer something special.  Even if someone is perceived to be offering the same service, yours WILL be different because of your life experiences, unique gifts, and genius zone.

Self-deprecating humor

I was the queen of self -depreciating humor when I was younger. I would laugh at myself or putting myself down to get a laugh before others got the chance to do it to me.

At school, I was what I think of as teased a lot for my skinniness, think bottle glasses, and at the time had exercise-induced asthma.  I didn’t have to do long runs because it would trigger my asthma, and I remembered one comment a kid made about me not being able to run because my twig legs would break. 

From this and other similar comments, I got into the habit of self-deprecating humor.  I would laugh at myself before anyone else could laugh at me or be critical of me.  My body shape, my appearance, my perceived intelligence.   It wasn’t until many years into doing this I realized that this was not a form of protecting myself from outside harm but in-fact, I was encouraging and giving permission to others to join in with being critical of me, all laughing together.

Having a fixed mindset vs. a growth mindset

If you have a fixed mindset, you believe that your strengths, talents, and abilities are set in stone from childhood, even from birth, and you can’t change them.  Perhaps telling yourself, “I’ve never been good at languages, I’ve never been able to …   whatever.

Having a growth mindset allows you to learn and grow and breakthrough that glass ceiling of self-limiting beliefs, knowing that even if you can’t do something right now, with effort and practice, you can achieve whatever you set out to do.

Don’t get me wrong, it may not be easy, but you CAN do whatever you desire with determination and a positive mindset.

Negative self-talk based on stories that you have been told and you choose to believe.

What have you been told that you find yourself saying over to yourself that reinforces the past belief?  Having past experiences or being told things that have lead you to believe something about yourself that just is not true.

Recently I had an aha moment.

For the past year, I have been working hard towards my goal of building my business so that my husband and I can have more freedom to travel as empty nesters in the next couple of years. However, a couple of months ago I realized that I had slipped away from living according to my values. I decided to let go of some things I was doing that were less than productive. 

Now I have got to the point that I can loosen the reins a little, give myself some space to relax and regroup and allow space for new energy to come into my life and work.

I talked to my business coach, who knows me well, and I mentioned that this was my plan.  Being a mindfulness-based business coach, she intuitively said that I should let myself relax into the unbusyness and not be tempted to fill it with something else.

Oh, this is exactly me!  And I know why. I was told as a child I was lazy, and for many years I felt that showing I was busy would show people I was not lazy.

I had thought that this was something I had worked through a few years ago, but here it was again, yes, I do feel uncomfortable if I am not productive, and that is why! 

So being aware of it allows me to talk to myself more positively and stop the spiral before it happens.  This will be my self-work over the next few weeks.

So how do we start to change negative self-talk and silence that inner critic?

I use my framework of recognizing, acknowledging, and changing your inner voice. 

This is not going to happen overnight, and I would suggest that it may be helpful to you to journal or start an internal dialogue.  Be patient with yourself; any new skill takes time to master; remember the growth mindset in number 3 above?

So here is the framework:

  1. Recognize your self-critical talk

Notice you are being self-critical; it might be something that you have done for so long that you will have to work hard to identify when you are less than kind or less than supportive to yourself.  You might do this negative self-talk in your head or out loud. Can you ask someone close to you to help you recognize when you are doing it?

Notice what you are saying to yourself and the phrases that you use repeatedly.  What situations trigger this self-talk?

What tone of voice do you use to yourself?

Does the tone or words remind you of someone else who has been critical of you in the past?

2. Acknowledge what you are doing and treat yourself with the kindness and compassion you would treat a friend or loved one with.  Be kind to yourself, explore why you might be treating yourself this way, mull it over in your mind without judging yourself for it. 

Are you protecting yourself from hurt?  Criticizing yourself before others can be critical?

3. Now change it.  How can you speak to yourself more kindly? If you blurt out some self-talk that is less than positive, don’t beat yourself up because if you have been doing this for years, it will take some time to unravel.  Instead, try to think of something kinder, more nurturing to you.

With practice, you can start to treat yourself more kindly, with compassion, and be the friend and support to yourself that you are to others.

If you need extra support making this change in your life, I am here for you!

Georgie Coote
Georgie Coote

Georgie is passionate about coaching women who seem to have it all but who feel like something is missing, helping them dig deep within themselves to find clarity, calm, and their missing pieces so they can flourish in every aspect of their lives.
She lives in Seattle, WA with her husband, youngest daughter and a menagerie of animals.

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