“Why are you still a loser at 30?”
“Goddamn, you’re as fat as a whale. No wonder you’re still single!”
Our inner critic can be so harsh, and if we don’t learn how to shush it, it will erode our self-esteem.
Wondering how you can get rid of this annoying voice in your head?
Here are 10 ways to do it!
1) Get inspired by other people’s failures
Sometimes you would make a mistake and go “F*ck! Why do I suck at everything I do?”
Perhaps that mistake was just too big for you to handle, or maybe you made too many at once and now you’re watching everything fall apart around you.
You might even find yourself completely and utterly defeated.
That is why it would help for you to look up to the people who had faced failures like that in the past and, time and time again, rose past them.
Not only do you see that those failures are not the end, but that you can learn from them… and even more importantly, know how you can deal with them gracefully.
2) Make a list of your achievements
Sometimes simply reminding ourselves of the many victories we have made—big and small—goes a long way to counter our inner critic.
It will help a lot when things are going bad for you, or when you just find yourself struggling with self-esteem issues.
If you want to be a painter, for example, then save a collection of the pieces you love the most and write down the best compliments you ever got.
There will be times when you will simply feel uncreative or think you aren’t actually as good as you may have thought you are. It’s in such times that you should bring out your list and look.
All of these will do wonders in reminding you of how far you’ve come, and how much you’re actually capable of.
3) Rethink how you view success and failure
What does it mean to succeed, and what does it mean to fail?
A lot of us like to think that failure is the exact opposite of success and it’s not hard to see why—either you succeed at something or you fail at it, right?
But the relationship between success and failure is not that straightforward. In fact, one might even say that failure is just one of many ingredients for success.
You see, failure is inevitable. It’s the result of trying to do things!
So when you fail, hold your chin up and look around you. Congratulate yourself for getting one step closer to success. Because here’s a thing you should remember: all the signs of success you see around you exist because people persevered through countless failures day in and day out.
4) Stay away from people with sharp tongue
Criticism is absolutely essential for improvement and growth. But that doesn’t mean everyone who’s out there giving “criticism” is actually helping.
Some people are simply malicious and like to excuse their attempts to tear you down as “criticism”, and then there are those who mean well but simply don’t know how to provide their criticism constructively.
So for the sake of your sanity, try to put your distance from people like these.
Remain open to criticism, sure, but make sure it’s from people who you know are offering criticism in good faith… and are doing it with tact.
5) Remind yourself that “good enough” is good enough
Remind your inner critic that you’re actually happy being good enough and that he should just shush it.
Oftentimes, it can be tempting to always give it your all in whatever you might be doing— be it work, a hobby, or even your posture.
But this desire can also be incredibly self-destructive. You could get so fixated on doing everything perfectly that you end up bogging yourself down and getting nothing done.
Perfection is at best an ideal to reach for—it’s not meant to be a goal you’re meant to pursue.
Don’t think being happy with “good enough” is in any way bad. You can’t be great in a blink of an eye. For now, you’re good…but eventually you’ll get better and better.
6) Soften that voice in your head
When you hear that familiar harsh voice in your head, turn down its volume if you can’t turn it off completely.
There are many ways!
You can slap yourself and tell yourself “shut up” whenever you find your voice slinging insults at you…then try to fight back. Say “You’re just my annoying inner critic. You’re not correct 90% of the time!”
And if that doesn’t work, simply distracting yourself might. When you hear the inner critic, get up and drink water or play with your cat.
Simply changing the tone of your internal monologue can do a lot to silence your inner critic. Do this often and you’ll slowly silence it for good.
7) Get yourself moving
Instead of listening to your inner critic all afternoon, get busy.
You can just take the time and energy you’re spending beating yourself up and put it to better use like… say, doing small things that could counter the inner critic.
If your inner critic goes on and on about how you suck at art, then instead of spending your days lamenting that you’re indeed bad at art, get a piece of paper and just scribble.
It seems hard to do something when you hear your inner voice tell you you’re bad at it. But this is the kind of rebellion you should do. It’s a F.U. to your inner critic that says “I don’t care, I’m still going to do it anyway!”
Besides, we all should pursue things in a more playful way, shouldn’t we? So do the scribbles or do bad art. It’s liberating.
This is a good way to insult your inner critic and you should make it a habit.
8) Stop comparing yourself to others
There’s only one person you should compare yourself to—yourself.
Sure, look up to those who are more skilled, are prettier, or more confident than you. We could all use role models, after all.
But don’t be tempted to continuously compare yourself with your role models. That is a futile exercise that will only end with you being frustrated and defeated.
Instead of saying “I will beat you” or “I will never be as good as them.”, turn them into an inspiration instead. Say “I will be like them someday.” or “If they can do it, so can I!”
9) Don’t be judgemental to others
Being self-critical and being critical of others are often two sides of the same coin. They both spring from the exact same roots.
It’s incredibly rare for someone to be openly critical of others and not be harsh on themselves at the same time.
So it stands to reason that by learning how to be empathetic and accepting of others and their failures, you are also teaching yourself to love yourself more.
When you forgive a friend who accidentally said something hurtful to you, you’re also telling yourself that it’s okay if you make mistakes so long as you own up to them.
Eventually all of these will add up and you’ll find it a bit easier to be kind to yourself.
Tenderness towards others will also lead to tenderness towards yourself…and this is one excellent way to silence your inner critic for good.
10) Therapy and self-love
If we’re talking about “for good”, then this must be it!
If you truly want to tame or even silence your inner critic for good—and none of the techniques described are doing a good enough job— you should consider talking to a therapist.
Pause for a moment and think of the most critical people you’re close with. Maybe they have a long-lasting effect on your inner voice.
A therapist can guide you in assessing why you have a very harsh inner critic as well as give you techniques to turn it into a gentler, more loving one.
It’s good to have an inner critic, all things considered. It can push you to become better. But sometimes, that inner critic is just way too toxic that it can poison the way you see yourself and even damage your relationships.
Thankfully there are plenty of ways you can get about silencing your inner critic for good so that you can have a healthier view on yourself.
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