Kristie Overstreet Ph.D., LPCC, LMHC, LPC, CST
Do you ever have those days when your self-talk takes a downward plunge? Regardless of how great life may be going, your negative narrative can come out of nowhere. No matter how confident or not you may be, your inner critic can show up in a big way.
Since snapping your fingers and expecting your negative self-talk disappear won’t work, there are techniques to turn down the volume. Here are nine ways to silence your inner critic that can help you make a change starting today.
1. Call your negative narrative out for what it is
To stop the inner dialogue, you have to first be aware of it. Call it out by putting a name to it. If you don’t, the volume will continue to turn up.
Self-doubt is a normal part of existence, but that doesn't mean you have to embrace it and stay stuck. Call out your negative self-talk and self-doubt when it happens, this is the first step to changing it.
2. Is this my narrative or my reality?
Asking yourself how real the self-talk is will help you silence it. Your negative self-talk isn’t your reality; it’s just the narrative you keep repeating to yourself. Separating it to realize that it isn’t real, will help you turn it down.
3. Get outside yourself
If your thoughts are cycling and you feel the walls closing in, get outside yourself. Your negative self-talk wants you to stay stuck, so do the opposite by reaching out to a friend.
Whether you call, text, or visit with someone you are shifting the focus from yourself to someone else. Redirecting your thoughts to someone else versus yourself will help turn down the negative self-talk.
4. It’s not all about you
Even though your self-critical talk wants you to think that everyone is looking at you, they are not. You may feel like someone is judging you, or you are worried about what someone thinks.
The truth is that people are too involved in themselves to care about what you are doing. They are thinking about themselves and their lives, not yours.
5. Weigh your evidence
What kind of proof do you have to be so critical of yourself? If you had to stand in front of a judge, could you prove your point of being critical?
If you can’t prove it, consider dumping the thought and replacing it with something that you do have evidence of. Identify the things that you do like about yourself and your life. These are the reality, not the negative self-talk that tries to keep you stuck.
6. Your imposter syndrome only exists in you
No one else is thinking that you don’t know what you are doing. Your negative self-talk is coming from within and not from anyone else.
That’s good news because you can decide to change it. Your inner critic has been in control long enough. The time has come to take a stand to silence it.
7. You know more than you realize
Stop the automatic self-doubt that you aren’t good enough by giving yourself credit where credit is due. Be aware of how hard you have worked to accomplish what you have.
Your success regardless, of how big or small it may be, didn’t come easy. You worked for it, so don’t skip accepting credit for it.
8. Turn down the chatter
The chatter is the inner dialogue that is on repeat in your head. It’s the one that doesn’t stop even when you try to go to sleep. It can cycle through your head and make it impossible to fall asleep.
This critical self-talk is keeping you from growing the way you know you can. Visualize a volume knob that ranges from 0 to 10. Imagine that you are turning down the chatter in your head because you have control of the volume. Don’t expect to turn it to 0, but if you can turn it to a 2 or 3.
9. Kill the cycle
Your endless loop of negative self-talk about how you aren’t good enough is keeping you stuck. You feel bad about yourself because you believe what your thoughts say about you. Then you feel more frustrated and stuck, which leaves you with little motivation.
You are stuck in a cycle. One option is to make a clean break by identifying what triggers the cycle to start. Try reframing those first few thoughts that lead to your spiral. Question the evidence of how accurate those thoughts are and replace them with truths.
You can change the toxic relationship you have with your negative self-talk. You have done harder things in your life than this. You are strong, confident, and know the power you have over your thoughts.
What is your favorite way to silence your inner critic? Share in the comment section below. Don't forget to share this post with anyone who needs help with their inner critic.