We let ourselves get away with a surprising amount of negative self-talk. Sometimes it happens so often that it becomes background noise, but this kind of criticism can be seriously damaging to your self-confidence.
In November 2019, Talk About launched it’s first episode of ‘Talk About Ideas’ which explored ‘How To Silence Your Inner Critic’ with Confidence Coach and Expert, Melissa Howard. If you’re wondering what can you do to silence your inner critic? Here are 7 tips:
1. Listen to your negative thoughts
This may seem counter-intuitive, but you can only silence your inner critic when you’re actually aware of it. A lot of times those negative thoughts stem from insecurities that are unmerited. Take the time to actually listen to what you’re telling yourself and you’ll find that oftentimes, those criticisms are silly. Actively listening to your negative talk will reveal that most of your criticisms are undeserved. If you wouldn’t say it to a friend, why say it to yourself?
2. Get Productive
Although some of our negative thoughts are unwarranted and overly judgmental, some of that criticism is toward real issues that need to be addressed. If there are certain parts of your life that you know need improving, do something about it. Don’t give yourself ammo for negative self-talk. There’s nothing worse than that nagging voice in your head that yet again you’re late on your deadline. And because you know it’s true, it can lead to a downward spiral of continually criticising yourself. Being nasty to yourself is never okay and it’s certainly not productive. Instead, take tangible steps to improve. Set goals and track your progress. Even if it’s baby steps, gradually improving yourself will replace negative thoughts with positive ones and ultimately silence your inner critic.
3. Curb the judgment
Negative thoughts of any sort are toxic to your soul. If you allow yourself to be critical and judgmental of others (admit it, we’ve all been there!), you’re only setting yourself up with the mentality that it’s okay to be critical of yourself, too. Hold off on gossip and stay away from rash judgments that may seem harmless. Feeding into the negativity will only come around to bite you on the behind!
4. Make your own mould
When we are focused externally on how we think we’re “supposed” to do something or how we‘re “supposed” to be, we’re trying to fit ourselves into a mould of someone else’s making. Get back to trusting yourself by giving yourself permission to find your own way of being and operating in the world, instead of concerning yourself with how you think you should be.
5. Perfection doesn’t equal excellence
Impostor Syndrome often triggers perfectionism: because we feel lacking in some way, we drive ourselves to be perfect, holding ourselves to ridiculously high standards that we would never hold for others. It’s important to realise and understand that perfection and excellence are two totally different things. What’s the difference? Striving for excellence means that you are in active pursuit of experiences that you learn from and enjoy, and then cultivating skills, confidence, and eventually mastery from them. Striving for perfection, on the other hand, typically results in negative feelings from not attaining a certain level of achievement, and then being overly critical of your performance and perceived mistakes.
6. Trust yourself
Our inner critics are scared and practice limited thinking. When the inner critic is in control, not only does it make us feel smaller, but it also makes us think small. Our inner critics make us so terrified of being judged and looking bad in front of others that under its influence, we make a conscious choice to withhold ideas.
These are just a few ways to manage your inner critic. Of course there are many more. What is important to remember is that taking action to address these gremlins is a first step in the right direction. Just as you can’t run a car on empty, don’t expect to be able to do your best while you’re running on the emotional, mental, and soul equivalent of fumes. Take care of yourself to avoid burnout by treating yourself well and refilling your cup. If you feel you would benefit from some coaching, for you or your organisation, please get in touch.
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Email me: Melissa@e-volveglobal.com
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By Melissa Howard