What’s your inner critical voice?
You’re so stupid, you look terrible in that dress, you’ll never be that clever, how can someone like you ever be successful? You could never do anything like that. You’ll never find love, no one appreciates your hard work.
Do any of these sound familiar? Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy, giving into the power of the critical voice we hear in our head. The voice that sabotages dreams, stops you from pursuing the experiences that may bring you greater happiness and holds you back from personal growth.
We have all at one time or another experienced that inner critical voice, for some its an occasional occurrence for others its a daily barrage of unhelpful thoughts, but what exactly is your inner critical voice? Your inner critical voice is a well- integrated pattern of destructive thoughts that are directed towards yourself and others. This voice comes from early life experiences and interactions with others that have been internalised and have since become the way in which you think about yourself.
Your critical inner voice can be powerful and destructive. It’s nagging voice is the driver of the negative thoughts that are often the root cause of self-destructive behaviour and patterns of self sabotage. It discourages you from acting in your own best interest and can prevent you from achieving your full potential. These negative thoughts undermine your positive thoughts and feelings leading to self-criticism and distrust. It is, if you like the negative side of our personality that is opposed to us seeking ongoing development.
The critical inner voice is an internal enemy, a part of you that has turned against yourself. It can impact negatively on many aspects of your life from self-esteem and relationships to work place and personal achievements. It can be the trigger for negative moods and the cause of dissatisfaction.
Although many of us are aware of having an inner critic we are quite often unaware of the impact that these negative ‘voices’ are having on our everyday lives, mistakenly allowing them to control our actions and guide us away from life enhancing experiences.
How to calm your inner critical voice.
The good news is that it is possible to deflect and calm your inner critic. This critical internal dialogue is learnt behaviour and therefore it is possible with practice to learn to tune out the voice and gain a greater level of inner peace.
- Identify the origins of your inner voice: Once you can recognise where these negative voices are coming from ( old relationships, siblings, peers, parents, difficult life events etc) you can begin to separate them from what is your truth and take action to free yourself from self imposed restraints.
- Become aware of how your negative voice sounds: Reflect on the times in your life when you have discouraged yourself from doing something or have told yourself its not possible. What did the voice tell you?, what was it that it said that prevented you from progressing or having a certain experience. Make of a list of negative self-critical thoughts that you have.
- Identify when the voice occurs: Monitor your thoughts, tune into when your voice increases in volume, is there a pattern there? Does it occur when your feeling vulnerable, nervous or considering making a change? etc.
- Consider the impact: Look for shifts in your behaviour and thoughts. What has caused you to shift from optimistic to feeling down? What happened to you and what did you tell yourself during this time? What is your inner critical voice advising you to do? Once you can identify these aspects you can begin to take action against the voice, you can make a conscious decision to go up against it and act in your own best interests.
- Replace negative phrases: When your inner voice is filling your head with negative thoughts replace the well worn phrases with something more positive e.g replace “You’re not good enough” with ” You’re amazing!
Whatever it is that your inner voice tells you, know that your are a beautiful unique individual, you are perfectly imperfect and deserve to have the very best from life. Free yourself from your inner critic, challenge that voice, be more compassionate towards yourself and see where it takes you.