5 Powerful Ways To Silence Your Inner Critic

Understanding Your Inner Critic

We all have an inner critic. You know the one? The nagging, internal voice that questions whether we are good enough.

The inner critic that’s relentless in highlighting our flaws and undermining our confidence. For some, this critical voice becomes overwhelming, especially when dealing with body image issues or disordered eating.

And because your inner critic thrives on self-doubt and negativity, it’s hard to see beyond the constant internal chatter focused on your perceived imperfections. 

The Impact of Your Inner Critic

Your inner critic manifests in many ways and impacts mental and physical health. When your inner critic becomes very loud, it erodes your self-worth and self-esteem, making you feel inadequate and unworthy of love or respect. This kind of harsh self-talk can make you feel anxious and depressed. 

It perpetuates a cycle of disordered eating and negative body image. Someone struggling with negative body image might hear their inner critic say, “You’re not thin enough,” which then triggers “You don’t deserve to eat.” This then perpetuates harmful behaviours and prevents or slows down recovery.

At its worst, your inner critic becomes crippling – you might get to the point where things become meaningless, so you procrastinate with minor tasks and then start to avoid socialising altogether.

Strategies to Silence Your Inner Critic

It takes time and patience to silence your inner critic, so here are 5 ways for you to help manage and then silence the voice. You might find that some of these strategies work better for you than others. That’s fine. The intention here is to lessen the negative impact that your inner critic has on your physical and mental health.

#1 Acknowledge and Identify your Critic

The first step is to become aware of your inner critic by acknowledging and identifying that it exists. Consider whether your inner critic is present every day, all day long. Or are there specific moments when it pops into your head?

One good strategy, to take the emotional strength out of your inner critic, is to give it a name or a persona, and then each time your inner critic surfaces you can say to yourself:

“Oh, there goes Negative Nancy again…”

Using this labelling helps you separate yourself from the critical voice and see it as something external to you, rather than an integral part of your identity.

#2 Challenge Negative Thoughts

Question your inner critic when negative thoughts come up and consider whether they are true. Challenge what your inner critic is saying by looking for evidence that this thought or belief isn’t true.

You can ask yourself these questions: Is this true? What evidence do I have that supports this belief or thought? What evidence do I have that shows me this belief or thought isn’t true?

Finally, aim to reframe your negative thoughts with something less extreme and a bit more balanced. For example, if your negative thought is “I am never going to be good enough”, you can reframe it as “Today, I am doing my best”.

#3 Practice Self-Compassion

If your friend was going through similar issues, what would you say and how would you treat her? Would you dismiss and criticise her, or would you be kind and understanding towards her?

Treat yourself with the same kindness and understanding you would offer a friend or family member. In the same way that you’d allow your friend to make mistakes, allow yourself the same without harsh judgment, acknowledging that imperfection is a natural part of being human.

#4 Develop Kinder Self-Talk

Following the previous point, it’s time to explore the words you say to yourself. What is your self-talk like? Instead of criticising yourself, can you be more kind?

Some people struggle with using positive affirmations. After all, it feels a stretch to go from saying “I’m so useless and I hate what I see in the mirror” to saying “I am brilliant and I love my body”.

I recommend starting small. Focus on the process rather than the outcome. For instance, instead of forcing yourself to say “I love my body,” start with “I am learning to appreciate my body” or “I am working towards a healthier relationship with food.” 

This approach acknowledges your efforts and progress, making the affirmation more believable and achievable. As you gradually shift your self-talk, you’ll build a more stable foundation of self-compassion and positive self-talk.

#5 Practice Mindfulness

Some people find mindfulness to be a useful strategy. Unlike traditional cognitive behavioural therapy approaches (as seen in #2), mindfulness encourages you to stay present and observe your thoughts without judgement. 

So rather than trying to change your thoughts (as in #2), you quietly observe. By simply noticing your thoughts and feelings without getting caught up in them, you create a space between you and your inner critic. This space provides an opportunity to respond to your thoughts and emotions more calmly, rather than reacting impulsively.

Following a guided meditation can be particularly helpful in getting started and staying focused during your mindfulness practice.

The Bottom Line?

Turning down the volume on your inner critic is an ongoing journey that needs patience, practice and perseverance. These 5 steps can be a powerful way to gradually diminish the intensity of your inner critic and create a more resilient mindset.

Dr Lara Zibarras

Psychologist and Eating Disorder Recovery Coach

Expert By Experience

Dr Lara Zib


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