Is your inner critic stopping you from living fully, taking healthy risks, believing in yourself? These ways to stop criticizing yourself are from transformational coach Gini Grey. Her tips range from acknowledging your inner critic to centering within yourself.
“Nag, doubt, warn, and judge is what the inner critic does best,” says Gini. “And we each have one, lurking in the back of our mind, waiting to emerge just when we’re about to take a step forward into something new, creative or wonderful. For some, this beast takes up full time residence, on guard 24/7, not letting anything get past it un-scrutinized. Unfortunately, it’s near impossible to stop the inner critic completely, unless you’re fully enlightened. The next best thing is to tame it.”
Taming your inner critic is much like taming any wild beast – it must be done carefully and consistently. It’s a sneaky little critter and will come waltzing in the back door, just as you shove it out the front. If you judge it or condemn it, it has you in its grip again because you are behaving just like it. The best way to stop your inner critic in its tracks is to notice it, listen to it and then move on and ignore it.
Once you’ve tamed your inner critic, you’ll feel lighter and freer than ever before. You’ll have the courage and confidence to embark on any new adventure.
1. Get to know your inner critic
In order to tame your inner critic, you need to know how it operates. Rick Carson, author of Taming Your Gremlin: A Surprisingly Simple Method for Getting Out of Your Own Way, recommends giving your critic a character description. What does your inner critic look like? Is it a tall spindly spinster with a whip in its hand, or perhaps a muscle bound, thick necked guard? What is its favorite message it repeats to you? Does it whisper or yell at you?
“I free myself not by trying to be free, but by simply noticing how I am imprisoning myself in the very moment I am imprisoning myself.” – Rick Carson.
2. Create a separation from your critical self
Once you have identified the voice and message of your inner critic, remind yourself that it is just a critical voice in your head. You might want to give it a name, then when you recognize that it isn’t you, it will be easier to distance from it and not take it personally.
Be aware of the difference between what you do and who you are. “Even if you become a very fine actor, if you are inordinately attached to your act you will notice that you feel empty much of the time. You will realize that the critics’ acclaim and the loud applause from your audience are offered in response to your act rather than to the natural you.” – Rick Carson.
3. Acknowledge your inner critic
What you resist persists. The more you fight and resist your internal self-criticism, the stronger it’ll get. Instead for fighting, say hello it when it arises – but don’t take it seriously. If you can find a way to be amused by its presence, it will lose all its power.
If you believe everything your inner critic says, read How to Stop Hating Yourself.
4. Ask your inner critic: What do you want?
Although the inner critic tends to hold people back, it can also be a support if approached appropriately. Either in your mind or on paper, ask the inner critic what it wants, why it is behaving this way, and any other questions that come to mind. Ask how it can best support you. It may just be on a rant, or you may be surprised to discover it has a hidden agenda of helping you to be stronger in some way.
5. Learn how to be bigger and stronger than your inner critic
When the inner critic is in full force, it can feel bigger than you. This is just an illusion. Center within yourself as a way to connect to your higher self, and soon the inner critic will vanish out of sight. Try some or all of the techniques and watch your inner critic diminish in power, while you feel more empowered.
How do you get the strength you need to overcome your critical self? Go within. Join with the life force that created you. God is accessible with every breath you take. “Your physical body and this life force have come together to form the entity that answers to your name. They are joined by your breath. Breathing is worth noticing and appreciating.” – Rick Carson.
If you’re a woman of faith whose inner critic attacks others and yourself, read 7 Ways to Stop Being Such a Critical Christian.
Your turn! What does your inner critic look, sound and behave like? Who would you be and what would you do if you weren’t so critical?