This blog is from Jerry’s workshop at the 2023 Family Cafe Conference in Orlando, Florida. To watch the video, click here. 

We all have that little voice inside our head that is constantly judging and criticizing us. We often refer to this voice as our inner critic. It can cause us to feel doubt, fear, and insecurity. But what if we could silence the negative noise and find a way to quiet our inner critic? In this blog post, we’ll look at some effective ways to do just that. Whether you’re struggling with self-doubt or feeling overwhelmed by anxiety, these tips can help you regain control and bring peace of mind.  

What is an Inner Critic?  

Your inner critic is the nagging voice in your head which always seems to find something negative to say about you and your actions. It’s the voice that tells you that you are not good enough, you should have done better, you are not smart enough, or you are not worthy of love and respect. Your inner critic is always judging and evaluating your every move, and it can be quite difficult to silence it. It only lies when it is talking. 

Many people have an inner critic, and it can be caused by many things such as trauma, low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, or negative experiences. However, it is important to understand that your inner critic is not a reflection of your worth as a person. It is just a voice that has become habitual in your thinking, and it can be overcome with practice and awareness. 

How Do We Get to this Point? 

We all have a little voice in our heads that likes to critique everything we do, say, or think. This inner critic can be very destructive, and it can often prevent us from achieving our goals or enjoying life to its fullest. It can also cause a lot of stress, anxiety and self-doubt. But where does this inner critic come from?  

There are many factors that can contribute to the development of our inner critic. Childhood experiences, parenting style, societal expectations, and personal beliefs are just some of the many factors that can shape our inner voice.  Growing up or becoming disabled can also feed our inner critic. 

So often those of us with disabilities are identified by what we CAN’T do, rather than by what we CAN do. We are so much more than what limits us, but it doesn’t always feel that way, putting our inner critic into overdrive. 

Strategies to Silence Your Inner Critic 

Everyone experiences self-doubt or negative self-talk at some point in their lives. Whether it’s comparing yourself to others or questioning your abilities, your inner critic can be a powerful and limiting force. But there are strategies you can use to silence your inner critic and gain confidence in yourself.  

  1. Recognize Your Inner Critic 

The first step to quiet your inner critic is to recognize when it’s speaking. Notice when negative thoughts arise and what triggers them. Is it a certain situation or person that brings on self-doubt? Once you identify your inner critic, you can start to challenge and replace those negative thoughts with positive ones. 

  1. Challenge Negative Thoughts 

When your inner critic tells you that you’re not good enough or that you’ll fail, challenge those thoughts with evidence to the contrary. Think back to times when you’ve succeeded or received positive feedback from others. Ask yourself if your negative thoughts are based on facts or assumptions. 

  1. Practice Self-Compassion 

Instead of criticizing yourself for your flaws or mistakes, practice self-compassion. Treat yourself with kindness and understanding. Remember that everyone makes mistakes and has imperfections. 

  1. Focus on Your Strengths 

When your inner critic is loud, it’s easy to focus on your weaknesses. But everyone has strengths too. Make a list of your positive qualities and accomplishments. Remind yourself of these strengths when your inner critic tries to bring you down. 

  1. Surround Yourself with Positivity

Surround yourself with people who support and encourage you. Seek out positive role models or mentors who can help you gain perspective and build confidence. Find fun places or communities where you feel, known, loved and empowered to use your gifts.  

  1. Connect to God

 A friend of mine says that many times he must preach to the darkest place he knows—his own soul. Find your well of positive self-talk and start with the literature of your faith.  

  • Joshua 1:9 – Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”  
  • Psalm 139:13-14 – For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful; I know that full well.  
  • Galatians 6:9 – Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  
  • Ephesians 3:20-21 – Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.  
  • Philippians 4:8 – Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 
  1. Seek Professional Help for Persistent Inner Critic, If Needed

If your inner critic persists despite your efforts to silence it, it may be time to seek professional help. Sometimes, our inner critic is rooted in deeper psychological issues that require the guidance of a mental health professional. 

A therapist or counselor can help you identify the root causes of your negative self-talk and provide tools to overcome it. They can also help you develop a healthier perspective on yourself and your accomplishments. 

Remember that seeking professional help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a mental health professional for support in silencing your inner critic and building a healthier relationship with yourself. 

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