Chances are you know the inner voice that regularly criticizes you. For some, this voice is stronger than it is for others. But this inner critic can significantly damage your self-confidence. We often speak kindly to others, but why can’t we do this to ourselves? How great would it be if your inner voice is your best friend and if it motivates you instead of putting you down?
It’s okay to criticize yourself every now and then. But, if you find yourself constantly addressing yourself in a negative and harsh way, this can have many negative consequences. You might avoid challenges, or are too afraid to meet new people because you believe you aren’t good enough.
Your inner critic has been there for such a long time, that you probably don’t even notice you’re often critical towards yourself. Unconsciously, this voice can have a big impact on your feelings and behaviour. We want to increase the impact this voice has, that’s clear by now. But how can you do this? First, it is important to become aware of your inner voice. Once awareness is created, there is room for change. Be aware of the following:
- In which situations does this voice arise?
- What does my inner critic say?
- What behaviour do I display next? How do I respond to the voice?
Try to find answers to these questions and write down your thoughts. Now that you have written this down, it is important to monitor yourself. It’s about being able to identify the negative thoughts, and categorizing them under your inner critic instead of yourself. You are not your negative thoughts and they do not define you.
The awareness process can feel confronting and uncomfortable. Know that this is completely normal. It is important to praise yourself for being able to identify a negative thought; you’re moving forward! You’re learning and recognizing and identifying your negative thoughts is an essential part of the process.
We often tend to address ourselves in the first person. For example: “I can’t do this”, or “I can do this”. By addressing yourself like this there is no distance between you and your thoughts. If you strongly feel certain (negative) emotions, it can help to take a step back and look at them from a distance. By addressing yourself with your first name you create a psychological distance. For example, say: “ You can do this, Kim!”.
Who else are you?
Another way to increase your self-worth and to fight the negative voice in your head, is by increasing your self-concept: what other roles do you fulfil and what do you find important? For example, are you insecure about your performance at work? Then this thought can predominate in your self-image. At such a time, remind yourself of all the other important roles you fulfil. You may be a good partner, friend and/or great parent! Force yourself to look at the bigger picture.
Are you getting started?
Do you regularly suffer from your inner critic, or do you perhaps notice how often you criticize yourself? Then try to become aware of this and get started!
Do you think you could use professional help with this? Visit your doctor to discuss the options of mental health care or click here for more information about treatment via NiceDay at several mental health care instutions.