4 Ways To Shut Down Your Inner Critic (For Good!)

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4 Ways to Shut Down Your Inner Critic
Self

Switch off her loudspeaker.

We’ve all heard the adage, "Talking to yourself is fine as long as you don’t answer back." Well, that’s all fine and dandy until your inner critic tries to run your life and deserves a response.  

Case in point, meet Natalie*, she’s the dis-empowering voice inside my head that speaks when I am learning something new; excited about a new venture or project or attempting something transformative and positive in my life. Her voice speaks to tell me (as if I don’t already know) all the fears that exist inside my head:

"Don’t call those people, you’ll be bothering them, and they will say "no" anyway. Who wants to hear what you have to say? That’s a big, hairy audacious goal — you can’t achieve that, how are you going to pay your bills with no money and no clients?!"

Not long ago, Natalie was on loudspeaker and running that negative rhetoric on repeat. I was being bombarded with so much: full-time job ending unexpectedly one year ahead of my planned exit strategy, the opportunity to build my coaching practice full-time, developing short and long-term plans for the business, while still paying the bills and keeping a roof over my head. 


RELATED: How To Silence Your Obnoxious 'Inner Critic' In 5 Easy Steps


Natalie was talking and I was listening, too well, I may add. However, in this instance, Natalie needed a response. I had to prove the adage wrong and answer Natalie back and shut her down!

Here are 4 ways to shut down your inner critic:

1. Practice good self-care.

Here comes another adage — you can’t pour from an empty cup. I was excited about the opportunity to be a full-time coach and at the same time, I was petrified. I was getting up each day, thinking about the laundry list of things I had to do to fill my pipeline and build my business. 

However, I was not taking care of me; I was not sourcing my mind and spirit; I was not being with what was so. I was not nourished and because I was not nourished, full, positive and empowered, I was being beaten up by the throws of everyday life. All I could hear was Natalie’s negativity because I was not sourced, my cup was not full. 

I had no energy to fight against her and the world I was approaching as a new entrepreneur. I created a self-care plan that incorporated prayer, meditation, and reading my vision and mission for my coaching practice. 

The prayer, meditation, and visualization in tandem worked to build my spirit and esteem, and remind me that my doing is not as important as my being to generate and create what it is I really want. 

When my mindset is positive, the negative talk does not sound so loud. 

2. Plan and prepare. 

Natalie has a very bad habit of showing up unannounced. I expect her to show up when there is a setback or disappointment, but she also interestingly enough, shows up when there’s a potential win too. 

Right after the client calls with second thoughts about proceeding with coaching, here comes Natalie. When I follow-up with a contact from a networking event and hear crickets, you guessed it, here comes Natalie.

And even when I get the green light to have a discovery session with a potential client, yes, Natalie again! Just to be sure I don’t get my hopes up too high and prove her wrong at something.   

See, she had been telling me stories nearly all my life and when I looked at the circumstances around me, I was able to see evidence of her being right. However, I had to learn to beat her at her own game. I made a journal of my accomplishments, wins, successes, achievements, skills, strengths, as much as I could think of that was positive about who I am and what I had done in life. 

I even wrote down additional affirmations of who I am in Christ. This was new evidence I could use to disprove the story Natalie was telling me. The list of my accomplishments and affirmations served as ammunition in my arsenal for when Natalie popped up and particularly when she pulled out the big guns. I also incorporated this into my morning routine of prayer and meditations to front-load my spirit with positive information to keep Natalie at bay.


RELATED: 2 SUPER Effective Ways To Silence Your Inner Critic


3. Talk back.

Yes, I had to break the rule. Not answering the voice inside my head was OK when she told me to go back downstairs when I could not remember what I went upstairs for. 

However, I was dealing with Natalie who was no friend inside my head but was the inner bully that was trying to intimidate me into giving up on my purpose and destiny. So, all bets were off, and the rules could be broken; after all, she broke them all the time! 

No need to fight fair with someone who tries to kick me when I’m down. I had to talk back to Natalie with force, confidence, and rebellion. When she popped up with a criticism and evidence after a disappointment; I reminded her about a past accomplishment. When she came for me after a setback, I told her my strengths that reassured us both that I was properly skilled and when she told me I could not achieve my goal.

I defiantly shut her down with my achievements and affirmations that told her that my God had done it before and could do it again. Even though I front-loaded positive thoughts in the morning, of course, Natalie tried to see how well they worked. She learned that process worked well. Ha Natalie, take that!

4. Ignore it.

Finally, going on the offense and preparing to step up and face Natalie, I was beginning to wear her down. Her voice was growing less and less loud. Soon, I was able to simply ignore her.

Ignoring her meant sometimes correcting her lies with the truth before telling her to get lost; other times, it meant simply breathing, getting back to being and moving on without even acknowledging her presence. 

Let me tell you, it feels so good when that happens. I feel empowered in self and spirit and not run by my inner critic that wants to keep me small and inside of my comfort zone.  My goals, dreams, destiny, and purpose are too powerful to play inside my comfort zone. I must step outside and expand my comfort zone. Now that’s another topic. 

We all have an inner critic, a voice that speaks up when you are following your dreams; playing in the land of possibility, outside of your comfort zone, or even doing something simple, but new. 

Whether you name your Inner Critic Fido or something more sinister, the truth of the matter is that inner critic is not going away. Sometimes the voice will speak softly in the shadows, at other times loud and clear, and even sometimes so loud you will think the world can hear it. 

However, the voice does not have to run your life; you can take control over your inner critic. When you practice self-care; take note of your strengths, accomplishments, and skills; talk back and finally ignore the inner critic, you are positioned to move forward in your life with the confidence and assurance needed to feel the fear and still take the necessary steps in the direction of your future and destiny.


RELATED: 5 Ways To Shush Your Inner Critic That Keeps You From Doing You


*Please Note: I named my inner critic Natalie, not to offend anyone that shares the name, but because it coincidentally begins with the letter N. To all my real Natalie’s out there, it’s nothing personal.

Veronica Matthews is a Life & Leadership Coach specializing in supporting clients in the discovery of themselves, their purpose and how to passionately pursue it. Visit her website for more information and to schedule a discovery session.

This article was originally published at LinkedIn. Reprinted with permission from the author.