How to silence that negative inner voice. Whether you have an inner critic or an inner committee, I’ve found that the best strategy for dealing with our internal negative voice is awareness. When I identify the types of situations in which my inner critic thrives, I can be on special alert when they occur. When my inner critic kicks into high gear, I can become “observer-participant,” laugh, and say, “Oops, there he goes again.” By doing so, I take away my inner critic’s power.
I also try to cut myself some slack. Sometimes I am just tired, inattentive, or simply out of kilter. I am too quick to discount the good stuff and focus on the bad. When something goes wrong and my inner critic starts to squawk, I try to stop concentrating on the negative areas and focus on the positive ones. I also find it helpful to focus on the big picture instead of that one detail that has gone awry. I am human, and I know I will make occasional mistakes.
Another strategy is to catalog our inner critics’ criticisms and determine their historical sources. Were they based on something that our dad, mother, siblings, teachers, or peers once said? Once we know the source, we can begin to uncover the truth and change our thinking.
Finally, I find it helpful to take a reality check. For example, when my inner critic tells me that I did a lousy job, I check in with a trusted friend. Almost always, I find the job I did was fine.