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Quieting Your Inner Critic: 4 Tips to Stop Negative Self-Talk

Author: Tammy Taylor, CPT

Writing this blog has been one of the most challenging blogs to write to date. Why, you ask? Well, because I, like many of you, have two voices sparring with themselves inside my head. The nurturer who is loving, comforting, and supportive and the critic who is domineering, belittling, and causes me self-doubt.

“Who am I to write a blog? What do I know? I lack the tools to do this well and I should just quit.”  This is what my critic is yelling at the top of her lungs. How often does this exact thing happen to you in your health journey?

Everyone is the sum of their thoughts, both goal directed/concerned with success and self-critical,self-denying, even self-destructive.  In his writings, author Robert Firestone refers to these inner struggles as the “anti self.” This negative voice works to destroy one’s sense of confidence and well being, creating angst and ill will towards one’s own self.  

So how do we quiet this anti-self or inner critic?

1. Turn your inner critic into a villain

My villain looks a bit like Miss Agatha Hannigan from the movie Annie; some crazy drunk lady who berates my every move. By envisioning your inner critic as some outlandish character it enables you to distinguish reality from fiction.  Acknowledge that these thoughts are not part of your real point of view, but are instead caused by early destructive life experiences that were internalized from your youth.

2. Take action

Nothing will make your inner critic angrier than if you take away their main super power: the ability to make you freeze.  This is your critic’s deadliest weapon. And the only way to fight against it is to keep moving. As soon as you stop and decide to curl up in your bed, as soon as you decide to quit , your villain has won.  Picture putting a giant force field around your self and continue trudging along in the desert until you reach your final oasis.

3. Change your playlist

No, I don’t mean go find some new music to jam to in your car (although that may be helpful too!). I mean change the tune that plays in your head whenever certain triggers happen in your life. Develop new mantras. For every negative, sabotaging statement, write down a counter-thought. Remember you are re-programming years of deeply ingrained data , so say your new mantras loud and repeat them often.

4. Practice a spirit of forgiveness

Last time I checked, we’re all human. And unfortunately, being human means we often need to make mistakes in order to learn and grow.  Learn to embrace your mistakes and laugh at your imperfections. Having a great sense of humor can be your best defense and your own super power!