Do You Have a Strong Inner Critic?
Do you have a voice in your head that constantly tells you that you’re not good enough? That you’re a failure? That you’ll never be successful? If so, you’re not alone.
Many people struggle with a strong voice that constantly negates your needs, efforts or accomplishments.
Our inner critic can develop for a variety of reasons. It may be rooted in childhood experiences, such as being constantly criticized or put down by our parents or caregivers – if one is constantly criticized instead of being validated or seen for their efforts, they learn that “Unless I become perfect, I’m never good enough” or “I need to work hard and try harder”. Or it may be a result of negative experiences later in life, such as a traumatic event or a failed relationship.
No matter how it develops, being too critical our ourselves can have a negative impact on our lives. It can make us feel anxious, depressed, and insecure. It can sabotage our relationships, our careers, and our overall well-being.
We may hesitate to voice ideas, fear being shut out, be a yes-person or not wanting to be ‘confrontational’ – these are some of the common characteristics. It prevents us from being who we really are, or at times, forget who our real selves are.
How to Overcome a Strong Inner Critic
There are a few ways to work through the negative voices in our head.
Recognize your inner critic voices.
The first step is to become aware of it. Pay attention to the thoughts and feelings that come up when you’re feeling criticized or judged.
What are the specific things that your inner voice is saying to you? What are the negative thoughts that you have about yourself?
Once you can identify them, you can start to challenge them.
A step further would be to identify what beliefs you are carrying with regard to the critical aspect of it.
Challenge your thoughts and beliefs.
Once you’ve identified your inner critic, you can start to challenge its messages. Ask yourself if the things you are saying to yourself are really true.
Are you really a failure? Are you really not good enough? Are you really as bad as your inner critic says you are?
Chances are, the answer is no.
It is important to practice kindness and self-compassion especially when things get tough. This means treating yourself with the same kindness and understanding that you would treat a friend.
When you make a mistake, don’t beat yourself up about it. Instead, learn from the experience and move on.
Focus on your strengths.
Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. What others opine about you truly has little to do with you. When your inner critic starts to tell you that you’re not good enough, focus on your strengths.
What are you good at? What do you enjoy doing?
Another way is to start collecting the positives in your life in a ‘confidence jar’ – acknowledge your efforts, remind yourself of the things you have done well or your best and give yourself the pat on the back that you might have been seeking from others.
Seek professional help.
If you’re struggling to manage your inner critic on your own or find it hard to identify and work on your negative beliefs, don’t hesitate to seek professional help.
A therapist can help you understand the root of your inner critic and develop strategies for coping with it.
Remember, you are not alone.
If you have a strong inner critical voice, you know how much it can take a toll on the way you live your life. It doesn’t have to be this way – you can learn to love and accept yourself for who you are.
Book a session with our therapist today to gain further insights on your inner critic and start living your life as yours.