Are you your own cheerleader? If you are, that is fantastic, but unfortunately, many of us are not, letting our inner critic be the loudest voice in our head and listening to our negative self-talk.
Do you speak to yourself the same way you speak to those that you love and care for? We are invariably so much harder on ourselves than on others, not having a kind word to say to ourselves or showing self-compassion when we need it most.
We can self-sabotage ourselves in so many ways, making us lack confidence in our abilities. If you listen to your inner critic, the voice in your head that continually pipes up when you are just getting ahead, you will start to believe that you ‘can’t’, you aren’t qualified enough, you just aren’t enough.
Well, you know what, you are qualified enough, strong enough, brave enough; you are enough in every way.
Perhaps you want to start a business or to go for the next step in your career, and you are hearing your inner critic as imposter syndrome.
Did you know that even top CEOs of big companies suffer from imposter syndrome? Waiting for someone to discover that they have made a mistake in giving them the position they are in and revealing them as a fraud.
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 zone of genius that you have.
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. For example, telling yourself, I’ve never been good at languages, art, public speaking; you fill in the blank.
But 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.
Negative self-talk based on stories that you believe
Perhaps your inner critic is drawing on experience or being told things that have lead you to believe something about yourself that is perhaps not true.
What have you been told in the past that you find yourself saying over to yourself that reinforces the belief?
Perhaps you were told you were no good at singing at school, and you vowed from that day on never to let anyone hear you sing.
Please take a moment to think about how you restrict yourself because of someone else’s judgments or beliefs; it could be something way back. But now, as an adult, what IS true?
Can you silence your inner critic?
So how do you silence your inner critic? Well, the deal is, you will always have self-doubts, so setting a goal of silencing her is a reach. Your inner critic is there inside your head trying to keep you safe, to keep you small, so you don’t take risks.
When you don’t do anything to stretch yourself, to push yourself beyond what you already know you can do, you will stay safe. Safe, yes, but ultimately not growing, learning, or having any sense of achievement.
You are not reaching anywhere near your full potential.
How about thinking about taming or befriending her instead?
I use my framework of Recognizing, Acknowledging and Changing your inner voice.
Recognizing your negative self-talk
Beginning to notice when you are using negative self-talk is the first step.
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 and supportive to yourself. You might do this negative self-talk in your head or out loud.
Perhaps you can ask someone supportive in your life to help recognize when you are self-critical if you are doing it out loud. Putting yourself down in front of others or laughing at yourself to cover perceived lack.
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? Is it a familiar voice from your life?
Acknowledging your inner critic
Once you have begun to notice when and in what situations the inner critic raises her head, acknowledge her, and treat her with the kindness and compassion you would treat a friend or loved one with.
Be kind to this voice that is trying to keep you safe. Perhaps think of her as a kindly aunt who loves you but shows her love in a less than productive way.
Explore why you might be treating yourself this way, mull it over in your mind without judging yourself for it. For example, are you protecting yourself from hurt or criticizing yourself before others can be critical? Perhaps you fear failure?
Consider the beliefs that are long instilled inside you, perhaps from childhood, do these ring true to you anymore? What is more true for you now that will help you grow and free you from restrictions that don’t need to be there anymore.
So now you are getting to know your inner-critic; you know what she is saying and perhaps why she is saying it.
What dialogue is more true now?
How can you change the words she is telling you to something that will allow you to nurture yourself and break through the glass ceiling that has been holding you back for so long?
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 immediately.
A reminder of the 3 steps
Recognize the negative talk.
Acknowledge it, ah yes here it is again…
Change it to something more true for you now
This idea may be new to you and will take time to master; remember to show self-compassion and patience while you corral your thoughts and grow into the person you have always meant to be. It’s a journey!