Have you ever been on a date with someone at a restaurant that is too noisy that you can’t hear your date speak? Well, that’s what it’s like to have an inner critic (a.k.a., the judge, saboteur, gremlin, mental monster, etc.) that never shuts up.
When your inner critic talks nonstop, it prevents you from establishing a relationship with yourself and your soul.
Why? Because it is CONSTANTLY evaluating you:
- “Oh, look how fat you look in that dress.”
- “I can’t believe I forgot to say that in the meeting.”
- “What’s wrong with you?”
- “I’m never gonna meet someone.
Get the picture? Most of the time, what your inner critic has to say is not so kind. And that can wreak havoc on your self-esteem and sense of worth.
In order to build a strong self-esteem, you have to begin by having a relationship with yourself. So often, we think that we know ourselves. The truth is, many of us spend more time taking ourselves for granted than treating ourselves like someone we’re truly interested in. The quality of your relationship with yourself can be severely compromised if you spend too much time listening to your inner critic.
Today, I’m challenging you to shut up your inner critic (or at least turn its volume down). Here are a few steps to help you do that:
1.Pay attention to your thoughts.
2. Give your inner critic a reality check. Inner critics are drama queens! They LOVE to exaggerate. Notice if your inner critic tends to use all-or-nothing statements that include words like “never” or “always”. If your inner critic tends to exaggerate, simply make a statement about the situation that is more realistic. For example, instead of saying, “I’ll never get out of debt,” say, “I’m in debt now, but I intend to get out of it and I commit to developing a plan to do so.” As a word of caution, be honest with yourself here. Using the above example, if you don’t intend to commit to developing a plan, then don’t say that you will – it’ll only give your inner critic more fuel to burn you with!
3. Listen for silence. In between each of our thoughts there is a moment silence – however brief the moment may be. Make a game out of listening for the silence in between your thoughts. The more you focus on the silence, the more you will notice it. Ideally, you will become so aware of the silence that when your inner critic shows up, you will readily notice it because of the stark contrast between its chatter and your peaceful silence. If you’re having trouble listening for moments of silence in between your thoughts, then start by practicing silence for a period of time through meditation (it could be as little as 1 minute when you first begin).
By silencing your inner critic, you make room to get to know the most important person – YOU!