Silence Your Inner Critic
So I asked for help with it. I asked the universe, my guides, my friends, my family. It’s been my experience that when I ask for something in sincerity, the answers come when I pay attention. This was no different. Like when I was watching the television drama, Parenthood, and a character said “Life will knock you down more times than you can possibly imagine. Don’t knock yourself down.” I needed to hear that. And while I am still learning this and don’t have all the answers, I guess where I’m at with it is as good a place to start as any.
I’m very hard on myself. It could be because I’m the oldest child, or it could be because I’m a Capricorn or any myriad of other things, but whatever the cause, it’s a fact of me. Because of this, when I fail to meet my own often ridiculously high expectations, I sometimes say unkind things to myself. I use mean words. Rude words. Awful, awful words that I’d never dream of saying to anyone else. And I don’t just say these things once, let it all go and walk away. I often repeat them, berating and punishing myself.
Do you do anything similar to yourself?
Why is it that we are almost always harder on ourselves than we are on others? Why can’t we give ourselves the same compassion and understanding that we give others so freely? And why do we even listen to ourselves when we get like that? Author Natalie Goldberg said “We follow that voice inside us as if it were God. But it’s really just a thought.” It’s so true: those awful things we tell ourselves really are just thoughts. So how can we silence them? I don’t know all the answers, but here’s what I’ve been trying.
Realize you’re being critical. Sometimes these reactions are so automatic we don’t even know we’re doing it. Like breaking any bad habit, realizing you’re doing it is the first step.
Tell yourself it’s just a thought and tell yourself to stop it. Just because you’re saying it to yourself—and just because you’re buying it—doesn’t mean it’s true. When you realize it’s just a thought, it deflates the intensity and the power it has over you and it’s easier to tell yourself to stop. By the way, I recommend telling yourself these things aloud if doing it silently doesn’t work. You may feel a little crazy at first talking to yourself, but it brings a conscious awareness that’s sometimes more effective than saying it silently.
Imagine what you’d say to a friend and say it to yourself. When you change the words you say, you change the energy being directed at yourself. That inner critic cannot thrive in that more loving kind of energy. And I recommend doing this one out loud for effectiveness too if needed. The weird stares you may get are totally worth the effectiveness.
These are the steps I’ve been trying. I no expert, but they’re helping me silence my inner critic. And that’s helping me grow on my spiritual and emotional journey.
What have you found effective in silencing your inner critic? Please share with a comment to keep the conversation going so we can learn and grow together. And I’ll continue to update you as I learn more too. I promise.