Everyone has an internal self-critical voice. It’s the one that tells you that you’ll never be good enough, doubts your decisions, and laments all of your flaws.
This voice can be particularly loud if you’ve had a difficult upbringing, been victimized by bullies, or struggled with an abusive relationship.
Most of the time, you won’t even realize that your inner critic is undermining your self-love and your happiness.
It can perniciously lower your vibration and undermine your ability to attract good things. Thankfully, it is possible to become more mindful of self-critical thoughts and slowly begin to stop your harsh inner critic. Here are some practical strategies you can use to facilitate self-empowerment and self-love.
Therapists sometimes encourage their clients to voice the words of their harsh inner critic, replacing “I” with “you”.
So, for example, if you often think “I’ll never amount to anything at work and I can’t do anything right”, try phrasing this as “You’ll never amount to anything and you never do anything right”.
When you do this, you may find you remember where this lack of self-respect comes from (e.g. it may be the voice of a teacher or a parent).
This new self-knowledge gives you an opening to work on discrediting the views of that figure from your past.
Each inner critic is also fueled by different things.
If you can work out precisely what sparks self-hatred in you, you can actually pre-empt its destructive words by deliberately doing something to shift your focus on emphasizing your self-love.
Try keeping a notebook with you for a couple of weeks and writing down your triggers.
At the end of those two weeks, write down ideas that will help you mediate the impact of these triggers.
When we dislike something about ourselves, we sometimes project that loathed trait onto other people so that we can attack it more effectively.
As such, your negative judgments about friends, family, or colleagues may give you a clue about the roots of your own self-critical thoughts, making it easier to see what you need to do to feel better.
So you catch yourself thinking badly about someone, take a moment to ask yourself whether (deep down) you see your own personality in the same way.
The next time you begin to feel gloomy or self-conscious, combat your harsh inner critic by deliberately speaking to yourself in a kind, compassionate way.
This can be done out loud if you’re alone, and in the form of affirmations recited into a mirror (many of your Law of Attraction affirmations will work very well for this purpose).
Meanwhile, if you’re in public, simply reassure yourself in your own head. Try phrases like “I deserve to be confident and happy” and “This is just a temporary setback and I know I can get past this.”
Learning to stop self-critical thinking isn’t about being totally blind to anything about your personality that needs work.
In fact, it’s a lot harder to shut down your critical voice in the long term if your self-help strategy is about pushing down awareness of anything negative.
Instead, come up with a few things that you would like to work on, and phrase them in terms of a positive goal (e.g. “I will become more punctual” or “I will practice being patient at work”).
There’s always room for personal development, and it doesn’t need to be something that makes you feel bad!
You may find it is easier to stop being so hard on yourself if you make a concerted effort to see yourself through the eyes of those who love and value you.
Some people find it helpful to write a list of some of the recent compliments they’ve received, while others prefer a creative visualization exercise where they attempt to imagine themselves as their partner or best friend sees them.
In many cases, there is a huge gap between self-image and the perception others have of us, and being mindful of this gap can help self-love to grow.
Finally, if you’re emotionally or physically drained then it’s a lot easier for your critical inner voice to take charge of your mental life and start making you feel bad. Maintain an awareness of your energy levels at all times, and know when you need to say “no” to an extra commitment in order to practice some good old-fashioned self-care.
In addition, know what self-care means to you. Have at least ten things that you know will generally make you feel good and replenish your resources.
When you take care of yourself, you tell yourself that you are worthwhile and valuable. That in itself goes a long way toward shutting down your inner critic.