But some of us also have a negative, even cruel inner voice that just doesn’t let up. That voice is “harsh, unyielding, and very, very unforgiving,” she said.
This cruel voice develops in childhood. It stems from the harsh words spoken by our loved ones during stressful times, Serani said. And it’s these negative statements that latch onto our inner dialogue, stalking us into adulthood, she said.
Fortunately, we can disentangle ourselves from the webs of destructive words. According to Serani, “It can take some work to jettison these kinds of critical self-statements, but the payoff is well worth the effort. Having a positive and realistic inner monologue is the key to well being.”
Here, she offered three steps to quiet the inner critic.
1. “Catch the critic.”
The first step, according to Serani, is to become aware of your inner critic. Listen for these self-critical statements, and write them down, she said.
“The more you become aware of this negative style of talking, the better you will be at creating positive self-talk.”
Serani gave the following examples of an inner critic: “You never do anything right.” “You’re nothing but trouble.” “You keep eating like that and you’ll be as big as a house.”
2. “Match the critic.”
Match the self-critical statements with realistic ones, she said. The inner critic spews all-or-nothing, black-and-white statements, she said. These remarks aren’t revelations. They’re lies. Serani gave the following realistic remarks for the above statements:
“You never do anything right” becomes “Yes, I do. I do a lot of things right. And some things pretty well, as a matter of fact.”
“You keep eating like that and you’ll be as big as a house” becomes “I’ll probably get a stomachache if I keep indulging, not become the size of anything resembling a house.” “
You’re nothing but trouble” becomes “No, my mother couldn’t handle my needs, but I can learn how to handle my needs.”
3. “Scratch the critic.”
Scratching the inner critic off your list involves replacing negative statements with realistic, supportive comments along with realizing the inner critic’s damaging effects, Serani said.
“The last step is to truly ground yourself in the belief that negative self-statements keep you from seeing who you really are, keep you from having a good sense of self worth and are distorted, unreliable views,” she said.
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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 15 Aug 2012
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.
Tartakovsky, M. (2012). 3 Clear-Cut Steps to Quiet Your Inner Critic. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 11, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2012/08/17/3-clear-cut-steps-to-quiet-your-inner-critic/