Dealing with our inner critic can help us feel much better about ourselves and finally rid our minds of the negative messages our inner critic tells us.
In order to deal with our inner critic we must first notice and recognize that we probably have one. Many of us do have an inner critic but have never realized its presence inside of us. Recognizing that we have one will help us identify the voices in our heads telling us, among other things, that we’re not good enough, which creates feelings of shame and lessens our self-worth.
A really helpful tool for noticing our inner critic is mindfulness. Every day, all the time, we are thinking and we are wrapped inside our own minds. When we perform meditative actions, whether they be exercise, meditation itself, walking, or spending time in mature, it is essential to take some time and attempt to realize what our mind is doing to us. This represents the concept of mindfulness, and exercises like these are proven to enable our awareness of what our mind tells us and does to us on a regular basis. After mindfulness helps us recognize that voices in our head downgrade our self-worth, it’s up to us to determine the source of the voice; are we receiving negative messages because it’s something one of our parents told us? Is it something that we heard on the playground in our childhood? Or, is it just that we ourselves feel fundamentally different than everybody? Once we determine where the negative messages and inner critic come from, it’s helpful in stopping the voice when it comes up.
It follows that the second part of dealing with our inner critic involves the process of stopping the inner critic when we hear it come up. When we practice and get used to mindfulness, we’ll begin hearing the inner voice more, and although it’s not entirely possible to completely get rid of the inner critic it’s incredibly helpful just to notice it. Noticing our inner critic allows us to mute it and refuse to listen to it when we hear it come up. This process is called thought stopping, and involves blocking or suppressing negative thoughts when we feel them coming on.
The third part of dealing with our inner critic, then, is to watch the negative thoughts it produces simply float by without engaging with them. Instead, what we should do is recognize that our inner critic isn’t telling us the truth; it’s telling us negative things that are bound to make us feel bad about ourselves.
Therefore, the last tool that is useful in dealing with our inner critic is to change the way we think about our own selves. After noticing the inner critic, stopping it, and realizing that what it tells us is untrue, we must have compassionate thoughts about ourselves. We need to think about what we’d tell a friend or a loved one when they beat themselves up and send the same positive messages to ourselves, because what our inner voice tells us is not the way we consolingly talk to somebody we love. After realizing how hard we are on ourselves, we can begin to replace the negative thoughts in our head with positive thoughts of us as good people and stop our inner critic from wielding power over us. We need to know that we are our own best friends, and console ourselves with positive things about ourselves as we would to loved ones. Thankfully, this is a process that gets much easier over time.
To understand more about our inner critic and learn how to deal with other issues in therapeutic and curative ways, be sure to keep up with Dr. Costine’s websites and videos.