May 11, 2022 6 Min Read
How to Silence Your Inner Critic In Three Steps
Do you have a voice in your head that doubts what you can accomplish? A nagging, critical voice that second guesses your abilities and remembers every single detail about any mistake you’ve ever made? You’re not alone! In fact, most people have a critical inner voice. The trick is to know how to silence it, so you can have the courage to set new goals and try new things. Just as our thoughts can give us many different negative messages, there are many ways you can turn down those messages. But here are the first three steps you can try as an effort to silence your inner critic (stay tuned for parts 2 and 3 of this series).
1. Name It
The first step to silencing your inner critic is to name that voice you hear. Learning to name your inner critic creates separation between you and the critic. It also enables you to give your inner critic a personality that helps you hear its concerns without needing to actually follow through with them.
Like a well-meaning aunt or Debbie-downer of a friend, giving your inner voice a name loosens its power over you. You can now accept or reject parts of the story as you need or want to, says Specialist Branislava Majstorovic.
Allowing your inner critic to have a personality and name can make it easier for you to better understand what its intentions are for being critical in the first place.
2. Question the Authority
It may seem like you’re thinking facts, not ideas, but most of the time, that’s not true. The inner critic in our head wants to keep us safe by preventing us from going outside of our comfort zone, and it will use any negative detail to succeed. So we have thoughts about our abilities, and they seem like they’re true, but they aren’t.
The second step to silencing the critic is to question its authority. When you wonder where your thoughts are coming from, and why you think they’re true, you can get to the heart of your self-doubt, explains Coach Isela Munoz.
Reminding yourself that “you are not your thoughts” can help you step outside of your mind and move beyond them.
3. Get a Little Help
If we’ve been listening to an inner voice for much of your life, it can be hard to stop listening, no matter how much we may want to because those thought patterns are now ingrained in us. We believe what that inner voice has told us, and it all just seems and feels real.
This is why the third step of getting some help is important. Having an outside perspective of a trusted friend or coach can give you another perspective, and help you learn more about your critical inner voice, says Coach Andrew Ettenhofer.
Learning to discern which parts of the inner critic you are going to choose to listen to is a skill that you need to practice. Having someone help you see a more accurate picture of what is happening can give you the boost you need at first.
Your inner critic may be there to “protect” you, but that doesn’t always mean it is worth listening to (or that it is actually protecting you). Learning to silence your critical inner voice can help you build confidence and recognize your strengths and unique traits. It can help you take the risks you need to learn something new or to grow and develop yourself.