Everyone has an inner voice or inner critic that’s full of non-stop commentary. For each person, it’s a bit different, but it usually tells you messages about your worth, ability, or what will happen if you step out and take a risk. It might sound something like this:
- You’re going to be a failure.
- What if everyone laughs at you?
- Why bother trying—you can’t do it.
- You’re not smart enough to do that.
The inner critic holds us back and prevents us from living up to our full potential! But if we can learn to befriend our inner critic and work with it, then we can step out and take risks necessary for growth and flourishing.
6 Steps to Befriend Your Inner Critic
And the inner critic is not out there to get us! It’s there to protect us and keep us safe! But the negative side of this is we’re held back and don’t take risks that are good for us. So, we need to befriend our inner critic.
Here are six steps to do so:
Write down what the voices in your head are saying.
What are the messages and limiting beliefs that it’s instilling in you? Perhaps it’s something like, I’m not pretty enough, good enough, strong enough… Write them down physically so you can see specifically what messages you are hearing from your inner critic.
Look in your past and begin to explore where you heard the voice before.
Often, our limiting beliefs are instilled during childhood. People might have shared negative messages, or we had an experience that significantly impacted us. Those things in your past stick with you and become part of your current inner critic. When you identify where they come from, you can start to address them and see that they’re not true.
Reflect on what is being protected.
The inner critic creates fear and keeps you from taking a risk or stepping out of your comfort zone. But what are you afraid of? Perhaps it’s being embarrassed, or that people won’t like you. Get down to the root fear you are facing from your inner critic.
Personify your inner critic.
If the inner critic were a physical presence, what would it look like? Maybe like a scary monster or a stern boss. When you help your inner critic take form, you can really see it for what it is.
Acknowledge the positive intentions of the critic.
It’s all about keeping you safe! Acknowledge the good in that. There are times in our life when we need to be safe. However, you need to also recognize when you no longer need that safety but need to take risks and find your moment to shine.
Seek out the evidence.
In a court of law, we need to present evidence to find out what the truth is. And that’s what you need to do with your inner critic—what is the evidence of truth? So often our thoughts are not built on any evidence but are just thoughts! So, recognize what is true, based on evidence, and what is something your mind has just made up.
We all have the inner critic that won’t just shut up. These messages and limiting beliefs can hold us back and keep us from reaching our full potential! Your inner critic is there to protect you and keep you safe, but you need to know when to challenge it. These six steps will help you befriend your inner critic and keep it from holding you back from the things you want in your life.