Overcoming that nagging little voice that likes to remind us how terrible we are is no easy triumph. Self-doubt is always waiting in the wings to knock us off our feet, but these 10 tips, tricks and tools can help you to work with that voice and find the inner power to get out there anyway…
1. Give Your Critic a Name
One of the first tools to utilize when it comes to taking the reigns from your inner critic is to give that voice a name. Giving your negative internal criticism a name helps you to separate it from your everyday thoughts and means that when those self-doubts are ebbing through you can untangle your own healthy thinking from your inner critic. Call it Charlie, call it Nancy, call it the dictator – whatever you want, but give it a name.
2. Keep the Conversation Flowing
Now your inner critic has a name it will be easier to tempt it into conversation. While the ultimate aim is to quiet the voice, this isn’t always possible until that piece of us feels like it's been heard. There’s a part of your inner critic that has your back and is trying to protect you from potential harm. Next time your inner critic says, ‘you can’t do this’, ask why, and follow the thread right down to what will probably be a ridiculous ending. Once your inner critic has been heard and conversed with, odds are it will stop shouting your name.
3. Pretend to be a Friend
In those moments when you are struggling to crawl out from under the rock, try and step outside yourself and address yourself as though you were addressing a friend. We are often so much harsher on ourselves then we would ever dream of being to a friend, and it helps to remember this, and practice some of that kindness, compassion and true belief on ourselves that we usually reserve for others.
4. Put it on Paper
If your inner critic won't quit it, take the statements it is echoing and put it down on paper and outline the proof. If your inner critic says, ‘your self-starter business will fail’ or ‘you are a bad friend’, then take a piece of paper and draw two columns. On one side make a list of statements that back up that fact, and on the other make a list of evidence that counteracts it. By mapping out the evidence on both sides in black and white, it will help you to have a balanced view of the facts, rather than getting swept away in the emotions.
5. Change to Accurate Statements
Next time your internal criticism pipes up about how terrible you are at something, aim to replace those sweeping generalizations with more accurate statements. So, perhaps you aren’t always making the wrong decision, but sometimes you make the wrong decisions. Being able to lend accurate statements in place of the dramatized version of events is an amazing reminder that you are indeed human and deserve compassion and the chance to take both wrong and right turns in life.
6. Balance and Action Goals
Now you have the accurate statements you can work in some balance with actionable goals. Not every inner critic statement should be met with a plan to do better, as this gives too much strength and weight to that little voice. What you can do is learn to recognize where there is space for an actionable goal. Accepting some flaws and knowing where there is space to work on things can be a super healthy balance to aim for. For example, when that voice says you are awful at public speaking, accept that you struggle with it and aim to find a way to become more comfortable with it. That is an actionable goal right there.
7. Don’t Suppress
This relates back to the point about hearing your inner critic out. We can often fall into a cycle of spiritual bypassing where we feel ashamed or guilty for having negative thought cycles. If you try and shut down your inner critic, it can only amplify that voice and we end up being worried about being worried. Don’t suppress negative emotions; let yourself feel all the feels.
8. Ask for Assurance
If you have people in your life whose voice you love and trust, don’t be afraid to ask them for their nod of assurance. Tell them that you struggling with your inner critic saying X, Y, and Z, and let them tell you all the ways in which your inner critic is way off the mark. It helps.
9. A Simple Mantra
Calling on a simple mantra when your inner critic is acting out is another simple way to close the gap when you are feeling low on energy and kinder resources. One of the easiest mantras to employ is the idea of responding with ‘so what?’. The next time your voice says – you can’t do this or everybody hates you, responding with a so what can carry a lot of emotional strength and weight.
10. Call on the Crystals
There is rarely a problem that a certain crystal cannot help to solve. Self-doubt is a widespread side effect of being human and the crystals that will help you overcome are Rose Quartz for its kiss of self-love and Carnelian for its boost of self-confidence.