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It’s time to silence your inner critic

by Amanda Collins

It’s time to say goodbye to self-doubt and to silence your inner critic once and for all. No more letting that constant cruel voice run the show, you are in control.

So if you’re ready, scroll down for 11 of the best ways to put your inner critic back in its box.

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Focus on the evidence

Next time you think a negative thought about yourself, stop, and focus on the evidence that supports that. Nine times out of ten you will find that your negative thought is an assumption you are making, not the truth.

For example, if you think someone is not interested in what you’re saying and that means that they find you boring, think about the evidence. Have they been interested in conversations that you’ve had in the past? Are they tired? Or do they have a lot on their mind?

There are a thousand reasons they could be doing the 1000 mile stare, and they all have nothing to do with you and everything to do with them. So give yourself a break.

Ignore your rival

Try to think of the negative voice in your head as a rival whose sole purpose is to make sure your life is horrible. Give this inner critic/rival a name.

When you do this it becomes easier to challenge the lies that your inner critic comes up with.

Imagine if a person at your work, or in your circle of friends, just stood up and started blurting out horrible things about you. Of course you would defend yourself.

There’s no reason you can’t do this with your inner critic.

Tell your own story

How you tell your story to yourself and to others frames how you live. For example, if you fell down a flight of steps in front of a group of people, this could be either a funny story you tell your friends or it could be so embarrassing that you lock in yourself inside your room and berate yourself for a weekend.

Ultimately, it’s all in how you decide to frame the incident, how you tell the story to yourself and to others.

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Look at what you have done

You have done many awesome things in your life. So next time your inner critic sneaks in, whispering awful things to you, counter it with all the things you have done.

You may say “I’m a great friend” or “I was able to give a speech in front of my work colleagues”. It’s amazing how many mountains you conquer every day. Give yourself credit for them.

Share and say goodbye to shame

According to Brene Brown, a leading expert in shame and vulnerability, “shame cannot survive being spoken”.

So next time you start beating yourself up over a comment you made, or the way you behaved, call a friend and talk about it and get their take on the situation. Shame will disappear quite quickly after you’ve had a chat.

Embrace imperfection

Nobody is perfect, not your favourite actor, not your next door neighbour, not your boss, and not the world’s best business people. We’re all flawed.

Speaking on the subject of perfectionism, Brene Brown said “perfectionism is so destructive”.

“I’ve interviewed CEOs and award-winning athletes, and not once in twelve years did I ever hear someone say, ‘I achieved everything I have because I am a perfectionist.’ Never!” she added, stating that the key to their success lies instead in their ability to move on from their mistakes.

Turn off your filter

Say goodbye to your inner critic by switching off your negative filter. You know the one. It will look at a situation and only see the negative things in it and then you dwell on these things. Instead of only seeing the negative, try to see the whole picture, see the good in it as well.

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Nothing is black and white

If you’re someone for who events are either wholly bad or wholly good, or if your performance falls short you are convinced that you are a failure, you need to turn the tables on your black and white thinking. Look for the good in situations. Things are never just black and white.

So you ate a slice of cake at lunch time. That does not mean you failed at your health kick, it means you gave yourself a treat and you will go for a nice long walk later in the day.

If you failed a test, it does not mean you as a person are a failure. It means that you may have a little more learning to do, but that when you are ready you will take the test again. It means not yet, but soon.

Look before you leap

Stop jumping to conclusions. You will never know what goes on in someone else’s head so you can never assume what they are thinking. There could be a million reasons for something happening, and usually it’s not the reason that you are fretting over.

No you shouldn’t!

The word should is now banned from your vocabulary. Beating yourself up about all the things you “should” do, never makes you feel better, never helps you get things done, and it can suck the joy out of life. Instead, use phrases like “it would be nice if I” and “I would like to”.

You’re not under the spotlight

It’s a human to overestimate how much our actions and appearance is noticed. So popular is this way of thinking that it actually has its own name, “the spotlight effect”.

Psychologists looking into this effect did an experiment where they had students walk into classrooms wearing embarrassing t-shirts. Afterwards the students were asked to guess how many people noticed the shirt, and each of the students wildly overestimated how many people noticed the shirt.

The reason for this is that we’re all the stars of our very own show, and we see the world filtered through how we think and feel. If we are embarrassed about tripping over ourselves, we imagine everyone saw it, but in reality everyone else is so focused on themselves, they’re not looking at you.

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Everyday action

So now you have the tools to silence your inner critic, it’s time to start using them. Make it an everyday thing and you will be surprised by what a big difference these tips make to your life.

What would you do if you had no limitations?

Would you change your life? Stop letting your inner critic hold you back, take the next step in your career or finally explore an interest you’ve always had with a course from Open Colleges.

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