What Is Your Inner Critic? & How To Deal With It

What Is Your Inner Critic? & How To Deal With It

Ever feel a voice whispering negativity in your ear?

It’s a universal experience: that nagging voice in your head, chiming in with criticism, frustration, or disapproval whenever you take an action (or don’t take one).

This voice, called your Inner Mean Girl or Inner Critic, can be a downright bully. It tells you “You can’t do it,” “You’ll never be good enough,” or “You’re going to fail” whenever you set a goal. It thrives on keeping you in fear and insecurity, leaving you feeling unworthy and helpless.

While the specific phrases and intensity vary from person to person, this internal negativity is something we all encounter.

However, it’s very difficult to feel good about yourself or make progress of your dreams when this voice is constantly telling you you’re the worse.

Today, let’s stop it from holding you back from your dreams! Here’s how to take control:

What Is Your Inner Critic?

Many people have a loud inner critic voice that scrutinizes and negatively evaluates their actions. This voice drives them towards unrealistic standards, or constantly berates them. Over time, it might leave you feeling depressed, anxious, inadequate, and or worthlessness.

Where Does Your Inner Critic Voice Come From?

As you might have guessed, our inner critic voices often stems from our childhood emotional pain. In fact, your inner critic voice might just be repeating the same negative messages you once heard from a parent or caretaker–in disguise as your own voice.

The inner critic can also be a tool of our fear-based lizard brain. After all, this part of you knows exactly how to hurt you the most and will do that in order to “keep you in line”. However, keeping you in line usually means keeping you unhappy and in the same place you are right now. That’s why it’s so essential to learn how to identify this voice and conquer it.

Types Of Inner Critic Voices

We all have that voice in our heads, the one whispering doubts and insecurities. This inner critic can be a real enemy, but with some study and understanding, we can learn to manage it.

The Chicken

The Chicken is your voice of fear. Sometimes it will sound like it’s afraid of something but more often that not, it will be masked with something else. Procrastination is a great example of this:
“I’ll start when I’m more prepared”

Try to recognize the core fear and reframe it. However, take heart! Fear usually means you’re on the right track, pushing past your comfort zone.

The Perfectionist

Your high achiever is often relentless in its pursuit of perfection and unrealistic goals. Over time. this can lead to frustration and burnout. This voice constantly pushes you to your limit, leaving you feeling like nothing is ever good enough. For example: “Try harder” or “You’ll never be good enough.”

The Guilt-Tripper

You can never live up to the expectations of The Guilt-Tripper! This voice dwells on all your past mistakes, refusing to forgive and move forward. With time, this will chip away at your self-esteem. It might sound like: “You’re a terrible person” or “Why do you think you get to be happy?”

The Controller

This Controller loves to follow the rules and makes you feel bad for mistakes, spontaneity and pleasure. For example: “Shame on you!” or “No willpower!”

The Underminer

This Underminer thrives on self-doubt, making you question every decision and chipping away at your confidence. It tells you that you’re not good enough and that you’re destined to fail. It might sound like: “Why even bother?” or “There’s no point.”

The Taskmaster

Similar to the Perfectionist. this voice prizes productivity over everything else. However, no matter how hard you try it will never be enough. This voice might call you lazy or stupid if you procrastinate and over time will leave you feeling inadequate. Examples: “You never get anything done!” or “You’re so lazy!”.

The Destroyer

The Destroyer seeks to undermine any positive sense of self. This voice is firmly rooted in past trauma, but it will attack sense of worth. Eventually, it will have you believe that you’re unlovable and undeserving of good things. For example: “You’re worthless” or “Nobody loves you.”

The Conformist

The Conformist lives to make everyone else happy and happily enforces the standards and expectations of your family, community and society at large. It forces you to become a people-pleaser, in an effort to fit in and avoid disapproval. It might sound like: “What will they think?” or “Everyone will hate you.”

Remember, these are just voices and they do not reflect truth in the world. By recognizing them, you can challenge their negativity and start to cultivate a more supportive inner dialogue.

How To Tame Your Inner Critic Voice

Here are some tips to help you defeat your inner critic:

1. Notice Without Judgment

We all have that critical voice in our heads, but the key is not to beat yourself up for having it! Understand that those negative thoughts are likely well-established patterns you picked up a long time ago. Acknowledge them without judgment. This is always the first step to changing them.

The first step is recognizing your self-talk. When you hear yourself say “I can’t” or “what if,” acknowledge it.

2. Give This Voice A Name

It’s key to understand that this voice isn’t really you. One of the best ways to do that is to give your Inner Critic (or Inner Mean Girl) a name.

Let’s call her Krusty Karen for now. The next time you hear that voice pop up again, you can begin the dialogue by saying “Oh hi Krusty Karen! What brings you here?” Even just saying hello that can bring you a lot of clarity around what your inner critic really wants or needs.

3. Notice The Patterns

Notice what your inner critic typically says to you and when. What negative messages keep popping up? Start to notice what kinds of thoughts you have and when they pop up.

4. Pattern Interrupt

Don’t let that negativity go unchallenged! A simple “Thank you, but that’s enough now” or “Thanks for the concern, Krusty Karen” can be enough to disrupt the pattern.

4. Flip the Script

Try to think of counterarguments to what your inner voice presents to you. However, reality is rarely black or white.

Instead of trying to erase negativity, try to replace it with something more helpful and hopeful. But remember, you can’t just delete a thought! You have to replace it with something else or it won’t work. So let’s try replacing those low vibe-thoughts with something more positive.

What would you say to a friend in the same situation? Start to cultivate a new inner voice that talks about your dreams and how to achieve them. Fill your mind with inspiration and positive self-talk.

Still struggling? At the very least, choose neutrality over negativity. For example, turn “I can’t do this” into “I can’t do this yet, but I’m working on it.”

6. Remember Your Wins

We often forget our successes in the stream of inner negativity. So let’s fight back! Write down a list of your accomplishments, both big or small. (I suggest the Notes app on your phone!)

Consider this list your personal confidence booster toolkit, designed to help you see a more balanced vision of the world. Go back and re-read it any time your inner critic gets the best of you.

7. Treat Yourself Like A Loved One

Often we are much more harsh to ourselves than we would be to anyone else. So ask yourself: would you criticize your loved ones in the same way? It’s time to treat yourself with the same level kindness and compassion. If you wouldn’t say it out loud, don’t say it to yourself!

8. Embrace the Journey

Self-doubt won’t disappear overnight nor will it ever go away entirely. However, you will get better at dealing with it as it rises up. Every little win is a sign you’re stepping outside your comfort zone! See your progress as something to celebrate!

Ready to target your harsh inner critic voice with the help of a therapist–but you don’t have the time or money (or both!) Try out BetterHelp for convenient, affordable therapy you can start at home.

So tell me: do you have a loud Inner Critic voice? How do you normally deal with it? What tips ar are you going to try out first?

By following these steps, you can transform your inner critic from a bully to a coach, guiding you towards a more positive and empowered self.

Jenn Stevens The Self-Worth Project

PS Looking for more? You might also want to check out this post about how to do Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or how to process your emotions.

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What Is Your Inner Critic? & How To Deal With It

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