Expose the Real Fraud – Your Inner Critical Voice
There’s no deadlier critic than a harsh inner critic. Every negative message and comment directed towards us early in our lives end up as part of our internalized antagonist. Messages such as “You’re not good enough”, or “You’re incapable”, become part of our internal dialogue. Once there, those messages can be challenging to remove or reframe. The good news is, it’s not impossible.
An inner critic is a self-destructive stream of thinking inside our minds that always seeks to undercut our happiness and ruin our success. It’s not our true thoughts, but a dark and depressing reflection of our worst fears.
A harsh—or even abusive—inner critic can be silenced. Our internal dialogue can transform into a positive, comforting friend. It takes some work and doesn’t happen overnight. But always remember your inner critical voice is not telling you facts.
It’s incongruent with reality, and there are many ways to shut that voice down. Consider the following steps on your path to shedding an inner critical voice:
Become aware of your inner dialogue.
Most people have a voice running through their thoughts all day, every day. That voice is a negative reflection of our self-image, our self-esteem. When you feel down over something, pay attention to your thoughts. Are they straying into the unrealistically negative? Are your thoughts blessing or cursing you? Are you starting to speak the negative thoughts your negative inner voice is throwing at you? When you become aware of your thoughts, you can begin to control your words and actions.
Confront your inner critic with facts.
The inner critic always exaggerates, always so dramatic. For example, an inner critical voice who tells you you’re always weak can be countered with your writing or saying to yourself, “First of all, I am not always weak. No, I have problems sometimes, but I’m still here. I’m not hiding in a corner somewhere. I am here. I get through my problems.” I also use scripture as affirmations to counter my inner critic. Using the same example of your inner critic telling you you’re always weak. I’ll say, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”.
Consider what’s the worst that could happen.
If your inner voice is screaming that you’re going to blow an important presentation and be fired and never get another job, redirect that scary exaggeration. Cut the drama. Consider: Even if you got fired, you’d find another job. You can even go further and say it means that God has something better for me. Make sure to confront your inner voice with reality.
Don’t do what your negative inner voice tells you!
It will tell you to give up, quit your job, or let it die. That voice can be that terrible at times. Act with compassion toward yourself and be true to who you are—the best you, the real you. The things you want to achieve, the good outcomes in life you deserve – those are what you need to focus on.
When your inner critic gets going, tell yourself that the fear isn’t you. Sometimes you’re afraid, because you’re human, and everyone is afraid sooner or later. I once heard someone identify fear as “False evidence appearing real”. It’s not real. That fear is not who you are, so don’t embrace it. It’s an emotion, and emotions are fickle – they go up and down. It is not going to stop you.
When it comes to your inner voice trying to scare you into immobility, remember that it’s ok to be scared. Be scared and still boldly go forward with your life!