Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Simple Ways To Silence Your Inner Critic

Your inner critic. You know that familiar little voice of doubt? All of those thoughts about what you can't do, who you'll never be and why you won't succeed. The feeling you aren't good enough. I feel it now, what if this post is rubbish, who will read it? Even worse, what if people ridicule me for writing it? Let's stop that inner critic and instead, let's champion our success. I've come up with a few simple ways to silence your inner critic.

Lady in a field with the sun shining behind her in a post about tips to silence your inner critic.

"Letting go of your inner critic can feel uncomfortable but it's in the discomfort that new patterns are born". Athena Laz

Just before we dive into how to how to silence your inner critic, let's look at how it can hold you back. Then identify some of your damaging and limiting critical thoughts and how we can move onto tackling them.

How does your inner critic hold you back?

How many times have you resisted or shied away from something just because your inner critic has told you that you can't?

For example, saying to yourself, "I don't know if I can do this" or "Everyone else is doing this better than me". You think it might be safer not to do something. There it is, your inner critic has held you back from taking further action.

We need to learn to avoid listing to our friend the inner critic and be a champion for the good that can derive from taking that chance, or from doing that thing that scares you. You are good enough!

What are your critical thoughts?

To identify your critical thoughts, you have to become aware of the recurrent critical thoughts that pop into your head daily. To gain awareness of your critical thoughts, try journaling or talking to a trusted friend. Make a list of the ideas that recur.

As soon as you begin to notice the critical thoughts of your inner critic, it becomes easier to work on removing those limiting thoughts from your life.

For example, if you look in the mirror and scrutinise something about your appearance by saying "I'm not pretty enough", or you don't volunteer for a work project because "It won't be good enough". You are limiting your opportunities by listening to your inner critic.

One of mine is definitely that I will get something wrong. For example, when I took over the pub, I found myself not wanting to serve people in the dining room. I was convinced that I would spill the food over someone. After talking it through with a friend, I realised I was just letting my inner critic hold me back. Yes, one day I might spill food on someone's lap, but I'm not going to make the "what if" hold me back.

Girl with her hands raised to the sky during sunrise in a post about tips to silence your inner critic.

It's time to change your mindset.

Here are a few simple things you can do today to silence your inner critic:

1. Embrace your weaknesses

One of the first ways you can silence your inner critic is to remove the negative mindset you have around your weaknesses. We all have flaws, so by acknowledging them, we can work with our weaknesses.

Change your mindset, so you acknowledge your weakness, but then remind yourself of something you can do or something that you can do to overcome that weakness. For example, "I'm not good at X, but I can do Y". For example, "I have a bad memory, but I can use a diary system that enables to remember important dates", or "I'm not good at spelling and grammar, but I can use an app like Grammarly".

2. Conduct daily gratitude and affirmations

As part of my daily journaling, I try to write one thing in my journal that I am grateful for and one thing that I am good at or can do. At first, this was awkward, and the affirmations didn't have much substance to them, but trust me, if you do it as a daily activity, you will get over the cringe. After all, it's only you reading them, or you privately saying them to yourself in the mirror.

What do you need to make positive affirmations about? Use the list you made of the critical thoughts.

If you are critical about yourself and your body, focus on positive things to tell yourself about your body. If it's that you think you are a failure, tell yourself your successes and how you can be successful about something specific in the future. For example, "You will smash that work project" and "You can talk in front of 30 colleagues and deliver a successful presentation because you've fully prepared and practised your presentation".

3. Celebrate the small wins

An important step in learning to silence your inner critic is when you achieve something, make sure you celebrate it.

So, imagine you do manage to do that work presentation. Instead of picking apart what went wrong, or what you could have done better, write down all that went well. Yep, I know easier said than done!

Even if you can only think of one thing, again, like the positive affirmations, the more you celebrate wins and look at events more positively, the easier it will become. Make sure you make a note of are your successes. You could write them down in a journal, or capture them in, in for example like the 1-Second Everyday app, which then connects the written memory with also the visual memory. 

4. Remove the words "I can't" from your vocabulary

Instead, challenge your belief. Why can't you? If it's a fear of getting it wrong, then what can you do to prevent it going wrong? Or what if it does go wrong, what will you lose?

For example, if an opportunity for promotion comes up, why can't you apply for the job? Your answer as to why you can't is probably because you fear that you might not get the job. Fair enough, but what if you do get the job!

Even if you don't get the job, you might get some invaluable feedback to help you better prepare for the promotion if you lacked experience in some areas. Because you told yourself "I can", you either have a brand spanking new job or some areas of development to work on. What better way to silence your inner critic!

Group of friends laughing together in a post about tips to silence your inner critic.

5. Surround yourself with positive people

For a long time, I surrounded myself with negative people. Looking back, my opinion of myself wasn't high. I lacked confidence and didn't believe I was capable or indeed worthy of better. 

When you surround yourself with positive people with a 'can-do' attitude, the effects are potent. Like negativity breeds negativity, positivity is equally infections. 

6. Take a break from social media

As with people, always surrounding yourself with social media can be draining. Notably, at the moment too much exposure to the news and commentators giving their opinion, won't allow you to step back and process what is happening. 

I used to immediately reach for my phone in the mornings and sometimes spend up to an hour mindlessly scrolling. Now, I have changed up my morning routine and created a calmer, gentle start to the day, which will hopefully ultimately lead to a more positive and productive day.

If you need a break, switch your phone to aeroplane mode. Or as one of my friends does, put the phone in another room and only check it at set times.

7. Look at growing your Self-Worth 

How can we really start valuing ourselves? I did a whole post looking at growing your self-worth.

Including accepting the past, setting boundaries and being your own best friend, is such one of the easiest and most simple ways to silence your inner critic.

8. Silence your mind

The final way to silence your inner critic is to learn to silence your mind.

I am very new to mindfulness, but it is a great way to allow yourself to silence your mind. I've been following the Be Mindful programme, and so far I am really enjoying it.

Freeing ourselves of the constant noise in our heads gives us the chance to be free of the critical thoughts. It allows us to focus on changing our mindset to a more positive one and change perspective.

Finally, let yourself explore the opportunities that can arise from silencing your inner critic. 

How do you silence your inner critic?
Lots of love, 
Helen x 

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  1. Wow this is such an inspirational post! My inner critic is definitely around these days during the reboot of my blog. You're advice has really helped and given me a lot of perspective! Thank you for sharing ��

  2. Aww thank you so much! I am glad it has helped. Best of luck with the blog reboot! x

  3. Great post love to see all these

  4. This is such an interesting post I have never really thought about alot of these things before! Thank you for sharing.

    amber - The Unpredicted Page

    1. You're very welcome. I hope you enjoyed x

  5. I loved this! I have to constantly remind myself that if I don't try, I will never succeed and the worst thing that can happen is people say no or people don't like my work! Nothing life changing really! But if I do try and ignore my inner critic, the results could be life changing!

    I had to teach myself to stop saying 'I cant' a few years ago when I was doubting everything I did.

    Thanks for the post, I loved it xx

    1. Aww thank you so much! It's amazing the difference a little bit of faith in yourself and learning to silence your inner critic can achieve isn't it! x

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  7. I love this post - it's so informative and helpful! I especially like the one about celebrating the small wins, and it's important to focus on the positives in each situation.

    Take care,
    Sophie x | www.loveandliterature.co.uk

    1. Aww thank you Sophie. It's so easy to forget the small wins, isn't it! x


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