Silence Your Inner Critic: 5 Powerful Steps for Self-Sabotaging Behavior
What if you told your inner critical voice, “Don’t listen to a word I say?” What would happen to the self-sabotaging behavior you do? It would go away. You would be able to truly listen to yourself. That would silence your inner critic. Isn’t that what everybody wants? Yes, it is!
You probably aren’t even aware of the depth of your inner critic. In fact, you probably just think that inner critical voice is you and your own beliefs about yourself. That is a big, fat lie. It is NOT you. So, if it’s not you, then who is it?
That’s actually a pretty simple answer. That inner critical voice that leaves you with self-sabotaging behavior is simply a pile of your Not Good Enough Stuff. If you want an in-depth explanation of Not Good Enough Stuff, click here to read my post on it.
For now, just know your Not Good Enough Stuff is a culmination of all of your trauma, emotional, verbal and physical abuse you’ve endured throughout your entire life. Think about that for a minute. That is probably a lot if you’re really honest with yourself.
Chances are that you probably think that inner critical voice is just how you feel about yourself, as I mentioned. It is never who you truly are at the soul level. If you could return to your true soul identity, you could actually listen to yourself and not your inner critical voice.
Your True Soul Identity Versus Your Inner Critical Voice
The majority of people stray really far from the true soul identity. The reason that happens is that we take all of our Not Good Enough Stuff and allow that to define who we are. I think the most important goal in life is to return to our true soul identity.
If you struggle to know your true soul identity, you are not alone. Many people struggle with that. Click here to read my post 2 Ways to Answer, “Who Am I” if you want to identify and return to your true soul identity.
This might seem a bit far-fetched for now, but one day you might even be able to silence that negative voice so much that it will begin to say, “Don’t listen to a word I say.”
When you begin to quieten your inner critic, that “voice” will begin understanding that it’s words have no value to you anymore. In order to silence your inner critic, you have to be willing to challenge it because I promise that it has done nothing but tell you lies.
5 Ways to Stop Self-Sabotaging Behavior to Silence your Inner Critic:
- Create a name for your inner critical voice.
- Create an image in your mind of what that negative voice would look like if it were a person.
- Create a short mantra to use when the inner critical voice starts talking to you.
- Find a physical response to use when that inner critic is beating you down.
- Practice self-care when the inner critic overwhelms you.
These steps require a bit of explaining. It may seem silly at first to do these steps, but I promise you they work if you commit to doing them. I know they work because it’s what I used for myself in my own healing journey.
Not only that, as a psychotherapist, I have seen my clients heal and stop the self-sabotaging behavior the inner critical voice causes. These steps have allowed them to return to their true soul identity.
Digging into the Steps
As with many of my posts, I will use myself as an example of how I was able to quiet my inner critical voice. The first step is to create a name for your inner critical voice.
Don’t think too hard on this. Whatever pops into your mind is the one you should use. Excuse the language, but I named mine “Crazy Bitch.” I’ve had clients use common names such as Betty, Michael, Anne, etc. Just use whatever fits for you.
Step Two might take a little bit more time, but not a ton. After you have named your inner critical voice, get really clear on what he, she or it might look like. There is no wrong way to do this.
That inner critical voice might look like a real person. It might look like a monster, a dark shadow, or an abstract image. For me, “Crazy Bitch” had angry, judgmental eyes with wild, frizzy hair and was very large in size because her presence was so large in my life.
Again, this will be different for each of you and there is no wrong way to do it. In order to silence the inner critic, you have to allow yourself to separate from it. It’s important to do this in order for you to understand that negative voice is not you or your true soul identity.
Challenging your Inner Critical Voice
Step Three will take a little more time than the previous steps. Are you seeing a theme here? Yes, each step requires a little more time and energy.
Don’t quit reading though. The amount of time and energy your inner critical voice has taken from you is way more than these steps will require.
Your mantra needs to be something that will get your attention. It will help pull you out of your self-sabotaging behavior of listening to that nasty, lying voice.
Make sure your mantra is something short and powerful. I used a couple different ones and so can you, but stick with just one when you are just beginning.
My mantras were, “Sit down and shut up,” “You are not me,” “You have never benefitted me.” Just find one that works for you and put it to use.
Incorporating Movement to Silence Your Inner Critic
Step Number Four is to find a physical response to use when that inner critic is beating you down. As with the other steps, there is no wrong way to do this. However, it may require you to try a few different things before you find one that feels right for you.
If you’re a bit confused as to what I mean by a physical response, I’ll give you a few examples. You could clinch your fists, stomp your foot, touch your heart or anything else that feels good to serve as a reminder that you want to silence your inner critic.
Fred Flintstone gets credit for the physical response I used and still use when my inner critical voice pops up. Do you remember when Fred Flintstone had an angel and a devil on his shoulder? He would respond to the angel or devil that was talking to him.
I am a very visual person. So, I needed an image in my mind to do this step. That’s one of the reasons I tell you to do Step Two of creating an image.
For me, I would imagine my image from Step Two was sitting on my shoulder like Fred Flintstone’s devil. I would use the name I created from Step Two. I tapped my shoulder where I imagined “Crazy Bitch” to be sitting and repeat my mantra to her.
Doing those things would slow me down enough to realize my inner critical voice was present, which meant my true soul was not. I knew that “Crazy Bitch” only existed because of the trauma and pain I’d endured. She had no place in my healing journey.
Self-Care for You to Listen to Yourself
Now, let’s look at Step Number Five of practicing self-care. That is a very important step and one that is often over-looked for a myriad of reasons. When your inner critical voice overwhelms you and you don’t practice self-care, you are letting “it” win.
Self-care is not just a nice idea. It is also a way of telling your inner critic that you matter. On the other end of that, if you are neglecting self-care, you are saying that you don’t matter.
Isn’t that what your inner critic constantly screams at you? Don’t you want to prove that you matter? If you answered, “yes” to both of these questions, then you should be able to realize the importance of practicing self-care when you are working to silence your inner critic.
If you feel lost when it comes to self-care, read my post What is Self-Care. It does not have to be hard or time-consuming.
You can easily fit self-care into your daily routing. Once you do that, it will become easy to practice self-care when your inner critic is overwhelming you. For those of you who truly think you don’t have time for self-care, click here to read my post Creating Time for Self-Care.
Inner Critical Voice and Self-Care
I am spending more time on Step Number Five because it is so incredibly important. Also, it is the step that most people will ignore. I am also giving you multiple resources for self-care because I don’t want you to come up with excuses to skip this step.
There are two reasons people don’t practice self-care. The first is that you were never taught how to practice self-care. The second is that you don’t believe you deserve to treat yourself well.
Guess what? I also have a post that can help you determine the reason you neglect self-care and how to change that. Click here to read my post, Give name of post.
Ok. Enough about self-care now. Hopefully, you get the picture of how important self-care is when working through these steps.
Doing these steps will allow you to listen to yourself, your true soul identity. You are not your trauma. You are not your self-sabotaging behavior. You are not somebody who should say, “Don’t listen to a word I say.”
Listen to Yourself
You are worthy and valuable. What you have to say to yourself has immense value when you turn the volume down on your inner critic.
Make sure you bookmark this page if you are truly ready to do this hard but rewarding work. You might even want to print the steps or screenshot them to keep them handy when your inner critic starts telling you those lies.
After you have done these steps several times, they will become natural to you. Even if these steps seem silly to you, try them. I know all too well how an inner critic can take over your life.
It robs you from having peace in your life. It prevents you from truly having love for yourself. The damage it causes magnifies the pain and trauma you have endured throughout your life.
Who needs their pain and trauma magnified? I know I sure don’t. Nor do I know anybody else who needs theirs magnified.
If you have read this far, it’s safe to say that you are ready to begin this healing work so that you can truly listen to yourself. Being able to listen to yourself, your true soul, is a powerful weapon against your inner critical voice.
As with all of my posts that offer any kind of guidance for healing Not Good Enough Stuff, I highly recommend finding a licensed therapist to help support you on this healing journey. It’s hard to do it alone.
If you don’t have a licensed therapist and don’t know how to find one, click here to read my post How to Find a Good Therapist. Having a therapist to help you process your inner critical voice is very valuable and can make the process faster for you.
In closing, keep in mind that we can all learn from each other. We all have valuable experiences that others can learn from us. So, if you are doing theses steps, have questions about them or want to share your success with the Not Good Enough Stuff community, please comment on this post.
Your experience or questions just might be the “thing” that helps somebody else in their journey of healing their Not Good Enough Stuff. Just remember these things.
You are full of worth.
You are loveable.
You are important.
You are capable of healing.
You meant to love yourself.
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This site is only intended for people who are truly willing to look at themselves with an open mind and have the ability to truly be vulnerable with themselves and others. Please understand that this site is in NO WAY THERAPEUTIC ADVICE. However, this site can be very beneficial in learning the causes of your Not Good Enough Stuff. This site is not intended to provide or replace medical or psychiatric treatment. Mary Beth HIGHLY RECOMMENDS finding a licensed therapist to help you process the information from this site and all that you learn about yourself. Visit Psychology Today to find a licensed therapist in your area.