Connect with us

Life

Here’s How You Can Immediately Stop That Inner Critic in Its Tracks

Published

on

Image Credit: Unsplash

If you’d like to learn how to stop your inner critic so you can become the best version of yourself, sign up for the free 90-Day Master Class hosted by the founder of Addicted2Success.com, Joel Brown.


I grew up with a Yiddish grandmother, so I know that everything is on the table for commentary. Imagine that person that is always around the next corner ready to comment on what you say. It definitely felt like a cat and mouse game, so I’ve learned to scurry around grabbing tiny morsels of sustenance, ever watchful as to not fall into her trap. 

The language of the critic is sharp, piercing, and debilitating. It’s fluency to disapprove and analyse everything from appearance, emotions, intelligence is utterly remarkable. What perhaps started as an exterior voice from a concrete “other” then becomes an interior voice that sounds like your own. These spaces are the soil for depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, addictions, and self-destructive behaviors. They kill productivity, intimacy, and confidence. 

Imagine the scenario that you are about to make a presentation at work. You are prepared and couldn’t be more ready. Then the cold sweats come, the pit in your stomach, and the raging doubt in your head. All of a sudden you feel like you could get sick, pass out, or both. What happened? 

Perhaps there was a presenter before you, and now you are stuck in comparison. Maybe you saw that coworker that intimidates or caught a glance at the boss to see a perceived or real expression across their face and presumed it was disapproval of you.

On a more personal side, imagine the scenario where you are having an enjoyable encounter with a partner. There’s connection and joy. Then the pessimistic thoughts start creeping in and you become worried about your appearance, when just a moment prior there was joy. 

Whether it is for personal or professional reasons, we’ve got to conquer that beast!

Here’s how:

1. Take a deeper breath

When you notice the thoughts spiraling in your head, feel that gripping and tightening in your gut and chest, lengthen your breath. Bring your attention to your breath. Inhale in through your nose and exhale through your mouth while making your exhale longer. Perhaps you use a counting system. Breathe in with the count of 2,4, or 6. Breathe out with corresponding 4,6, or 8. Lengthen the exhale.

“Take a deep breath, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again.” – Frank Sinatra

2. Notice

Befriend the beast, get to know it. Once you are more aware of the running commentary in your head you’ll be able to catch yourself when you are facing that overly critical space. 

Recognize its go to shaming statements, “You are so stupid,” “Oh, you really messed that up,” “How could you ever think that they would like your work,” or any and every variation of these statements. Where does shame attack? Identify how it feels in your body, emotions, and mind.

3. Acceptance

I’ve met a lot of people in my life, and there is not one person that is shielded from the powers and workings of the inner critic. We all have an Achilles heel. The inner critic knows them well, launches out for those vulnerable spaces, and goes on the defensive. 

Believe it or not, the inner critic’s primary job is to keep you safe. It does its job well. If you curtail your hopes, aspirations, and goals so as to not risk, the inner critic thinks it’s saving you from a lifetime of embarrassment. 

It is also hindering you from soaring into life with purpose and achievement. Accept that the inner critic’s voice is going to be a part of your life. Learn some skills to acknowledge it and move forward. If you feel trapped in its tentacles and there is nothing you can do to quiet the thoughts running rampant, push pause. Go back to the deeper breathing, take a walk, call a trusted friend, or journal down the recurring thoughts that come and look at them on the paper.

4. Choose

What are you going to do? Are you going to allow the pummeling of the inner critic and get stuck? Or can you focus on solutions to the critique that is coming your way? 

An inner critic is just that, a critic. It isn’t solution oriented. Like my Yiddish grandmother, it points out all the flaws. What will you focus upon? What you focus on, you empower. Shift yourself and instead of listening passively to the tear down, build yourself up and do just one thing differently.

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” – Dr. Seuss

5. Discernment and Compassion

An exercise you can do is to take a moment to look at that list of statements you have journaled about. Acknowledge with compassion any truth that is within them but don’t stop there. Discern where the statements are lies or intimidation. Don’t just silence or ignore the critic, and go on the defensive. 

Examine and discern out the spaces that are just not true. You will one day get the promotion because you work hard, there will be a person who is attracted to you because of your strengths and who you are as an individual. 

Also, give compassion to that inner critic. 99% of us would never talk to a friend the way we let ourselves talk to ourselves, so begin talking to that part of you as you would a friend. 

Show empathy to the parts of you that are frightened of rejection, embarrassment, or shame. Acknowledge them in a kind way, express understanding, show empathy to it as you would another. 

Perhaps we don’t conquer the inner critic. Perhaps we learn to tame it and use it to our advantage allowing it to challenge us to be the best versions of ourselves. We can harness its power through breathing deeper, self-awareness, acceptance, and compassion to accompany inner critic into our days and nights.

How do you stop your own inner critic? Do you have any tips you’d be willing to share with us?

Elle Miller is a trauma-informed C-IAYT yoga therapist and Body Advocate working to bring transformation into the workplace. Her speciality is  finding spaces that shift anxiety and burn out, zoom fatigue and disconnection. She created The Listening Project as a means to show  how subversive the very act of learning how to listen can become. Connect with her at Elle@LivingMangaliso.com to schedule your personal session or to find out more about our corporate offerings.

Life

How to Appreciate Life and Not Just Exist in It

Published

on

Image Credit: Unsplash

Do you sometimes stare off into space and wonder “Why am I here?” “What am I doing?” or “There has to be more to life than just this.” We get caught in the everyday routine of sleep, work, home, sleep, work, home, and…you get the point.  (more…)

Continue Reading

Life

7 Ways to Declutter Your Personal Health

Published

on

Image Credit: Unsplash

For most of us, our health is cluttered. Not necessarily cluttered by stuff, mind you, but cluttered with information. Too many new diets, new must-have supplements, or new workout plans. Too many opinions on how much water to drink, which must-have supplements to take, and how much sleep you need. (more…)

Continue Reading

Life

Life Lessons From The War of Art That Will Change Your Life

Published

on

Life is chock full of both good and bad experiences. But, when times are hard, it’s, unfortunately, a natural reaction to revert into yourself as you take on the blows that life has dealt you. However, with that said, there is one simple truth that I’ve tried to stand by over the years. Instead of hiding away from the world during the tough times, always take a second to reflect on what got you to that position in the first place.  (more…)

Continue Reading

Life

There’s More to Life Than Building a Business: 4 Areas of Life That Also Need Your Attention

Published

on

Image Credit: Unsplash

You don’t have to look very far to see a post, article, or video about what it takes to build a business. The advice ranges from “build with balance” to “hustle until you die or you’re not trying.” (more…)

Continue Reading

Trending