Silence Your Inner Critic

Silence Your Inner Critic
Silence You Inner Critic Searching for Truth (pastel) by Polly Castor

First of all, realize that inner critic is trying to be helpful, so don’t resist it at first; give it a chance. For example, if you are over accessorizing, maybe it is right, and it would be better to take off a couple of those many necklaces. Don’t feel attacked, just listen and respond. Own first that maybe there’s a point to the niggles of this critical voice. Then you can always flagrantly decide that you feel like being over the top and that seventh necklace makes you feel flamboyant and fun. The point is to listen first. And don’t immediately assume it is always a persecutor. Let it be a gentle advisor, whose suggestions you sometimes take and other times override.

Frankly, if you impartially learn to listen, that inner critic gives you a wider birth, and just lunges in when it’s more important, like yes, you shouldn’t have been so inconsiderate, or yes, you really need to remember to use the mitt when you take fresh baked cookies out of the oven. Maybe its telling you not to procrastinate, or prepare in a certain way. Listen, and then you can judge if there is a good point there. Maybe the suggestion is encouraging some reform that would be beneficial. It is not always there to rain on your parade.

However, if your inner critic is acting like a mean bully, making mountains out of molehills, getting you stuck in disempowering circular thinking, making you obsess over things that probably won’t happen or don’t matter, getting you to focus only on the negatives and glossing right past anything that might be going on that is good, your inner critic is out of control and destructive. This is not okay and you need to show it who is in charge. It is important to put a halt to that kind of chatter, which can negatively effect your work, your relationships, your self-talk, and even by extension, your physical health.

Note that this inner critic is not having a field day when you are calm and everything is going along fine. It always kicks up in difficult situations. So when you are in a difficult situation and your inner critic is just exacerbating it, get some distance from whatever problem stirred up the inner critic in the first place. Then you’ll see things more objectively.

One way to get that distance mentally, even if you can’t get away from it physically, is to write down your thoughts. Be unfiltered about this and let it all splat out onto the page.  This will help you process things for yourself and then you can compare what you objectively think to that negative chatter in your head. Usually this way, what is true becomes clear. Now you are in the driver’s seat and can clearly tell that inner meddling voice you’ve got it all managed.

I find a change of perspective also does wonders for shutting up or shrinking your inner critic. One great way to do this is to look at it all with a macro view. Will it matter in a week, or a month, or a year? This will give you lots of clarity very quickly.

Alternatively, getting out into nature solves all sorts of things for me, including the shutting up the inner critic. I can out walk it. Look at the beauty and immensity of the landscape. The miracle of that will put things into perspective too, and shrink our problems proportionately. It effectively dials down the chatter.

Another way to silence the mental clutter is to turn to God, and listen to what God is saying on full volume. It is like singing while someone else is talking, you can’t direct your attention in two directions at once. If you are doing your work or leading your relationships out of that listening to God place, the downward pulling inner critic pretty much can’t compete.

Also, try not taking yourself so seriously, while still acting in a safe and considerate manner. Try not caring what other people think of you. Be more interested in how true to yourself you are. This attitude is like a non-stick pan for the inner critic; it slides right off, with no residual effect.

Your self talk starts and ends with you. You are responsible for managing the insinuations of your mental chatter, either heeding or dismissing them. Consistently getting perspective by turning to what is so much greater and lovelier, and blithely enjoying present good, renders a humbleness and a confidence, that the inner critic cannot find much traction in.

All of this explains how I can be so free in my art, for example. Since my motives are to express God and my own authentic self, the inner critic doesn’t have much to say about that. By always choosing the brighter side of a situation to focus on provides nothing for a negative maligning influence to fixate on and seek to enlarge. By taking the long view in every difficulty, and remembering that God’s mercy is everlasting, the baleful inner voice hasn’t a chance. It cowers, and then melts into a puddle in the corner. Handling abasing self talk with calm assurance and authority, allows you the freedom to soar with what you are really meant to do, and to execute that with unmitigated aplomb.

Meandering Curiosity (pastel) by Polly Castor
I work to amplify good wherever I find it. I love color, texture, beauty, great ideas, nature, metaphor, deliciousness, genuine spirituality, and exploring new territory. I encourage authenticity, nurture creativity, champion sustainability, promote peace, and hope to foster a new renaissance where we all are free to be our most fulfilled, multifaceted, and terrific selves. Read more here.

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