25 August, 2020

Sick of the little voice in your head that tells you you’re not good enough?

We’ve all experienced self-doubt at one time or another. It’s only human to have an internal critic – no matter how self-assured or ‘successful’ you are. But what happens when you become captive to the criticism and judgement you put on yourself?

A negative inner monologue can have serious impacts on your self-esteem, relationships, and life in general. It can eat away at your confidence and hold you back in big ways.

We wouldn’t accept this criticism from a friend – so why do we accept it from ourselves?

While you can’t simply switch it off, we hope these tips to quiet your inner critic help you deal with negative background noise in a healthy way.


Challenge negative thoughts

Our inner critic feeds on fear and often fails to consider the facts. Challenge negative thoughts with the truth. Ask yourself if these thoughts are backed by evidence, or if your mind is playing tricks on you out of fear. Then, try replacing unwarranted and overly judgemental thoughts with realistic ones.

For example, you might be heading home from a social interaction and are thinking “I’m so boring and never add to the conversation”. Replace this harmful self-talk with something more realistic, such as “I’m a good listener and my friends enjoy my company”.

An easy way to do this is to imagine a good friend coming to you with the issue, and what you’d say to comfort them. Try saying these things to yourself.


Identify the root cause

Go one step further and explore what fears and limiting beliefs are driving your inner critic. Where are these negative thoughts coming from? What’s really going on? What’s your inner critic trying to tell you?

Maybe you’re telling yourself you’re not good enough because you’ve been hurt in the past. Maybe you’re insecure about how you look because you’re comparing yourself to others.

Once you’ve identified the root cause of negative self-talk, you can start addressing these issues and work toward healing.


Focus on your strengths

If you have an overactive inner critic, you probably spend most of your time focusing on your perceived flaws or weaknesses. But what about all the great things that make you who you are?

Give yourself a confidence boost by focusing on your strengths and celebrating what’s great about you. You might make a list of all the things you like about yourself, the times in your life when you were really proud, and the nice things people have said about you in the past.

Write these down and keep them somewhere you’ll see them every day, such as next to your bed or on your bathroom mirror. These daily reminders can help boost your self-esteem and put you in a positive headspace.


Rethink how you see others

If you catch yourself being critical and judgemental of others, that toxicity is sure to seep into your self-talk, too. Negative thoughts of any kind can breed a nasty inner monologue that can be harmful for you and those around you.

Reconsider how you think about other people, and train yourself to quit criticising and focus on the positives. Once you start celebrating others, you might find celebrating yourself comes more naturally.


If you’d like some support addressing issues around negative self-talk and building self-esteem, our experienced counsellors can help. Learn more about our counselling services and how to book an appointment here.