"You look FAT!"
"You know you can't do it!"
"You are an IDIOT?"
"You are not good enough!"
"You don't deserve it!"
When comments like this are heard in our head, we call them "the inner critic" or "that voice in our head". Take a second and ask yourself, "what is the inner critic"?. What would your answer be? Would you have one or would you just stare at the screen without the ability to describe it?
What about when that voice in our head says positive things like "you are a badass" or "you can do whatever you put your mind to"? What do you call that voice? For the most part, people do not have a phrase/term they use to explain positive voice in our head. I find this interesting
We can both agree that this "inner critic" or "voice in our head" doesn't seem to help us. So, how do we overcome it?
In order to overcome something, we must begin with an understanding of it. We need to know how it works in order to make adjustments to it. When we are able to make adjustments to the way something works, we can affect the outcome or output.
What I find so fascinating is that when we speak about that voice in our head, we generally speak of it in the third person. Essentially, speaking in the third person separates US (you) from IT (the voice in your head). This is where we struggle. When we attempt to control others, we often become frustrated, angry and/or let down because, in all reality, we are unable to control others.
This happens when we speak of the voice in our head as well. We feel as if "our inner critic" is not us or our friend thus we lose the ability to control it. In order to control the inner critic, we truly need to understand exactly what it is.
So, what is the inner critic?
From the moment we wake up to the moment we fall asleep, we have anywhere between 30-70k thoughts a day. Generally speaking, we spend seconds on a thought and then move onto the next. Thoughts are neutral yet our assumptions, beliefs and our bias will paint them as positive or negative. When we think of something, let's say.... a green ball, we talk to ourselves through "self-talk". When I think green ball, my self-talk says "GREEN BALL", when I think about this cup of coffee being good, my self-talk is "this coffee is good". Thus, self-talk is exactly the same thing as our thoughts.
When we think about "our inner critic", the same concept is applied. When you THINK you are not good enough, your inner critic says "You are not good enough!". When you THINK you are "fat", your inner critic says "you are fat". Essentially, your inner critic is your self-talk/thought. When you have a thought, you MUST talk to yourself (self-talk) about the thought. That self-talk ALWAYS changes with your thoughts.
Your inner critic is the term you use to explain your self-defeating self-talk when you judge yourself based on OTHERS. You do this because you THINK of yourself in a negative way regarding that particular thought. Whether it's your looks, intelligence or even social status.
The way to greatly reduce your inner critic is to acknowledge it as what it really is, your thoughts. When you acknowledge this, you can then take control. For most people, controlling our thoughts seems impossible, however, knowing that your self-talk is the same thing as your thoughts, you can reverse engineer the situation and change your self-talk which in turn changes your thoughts.
Instead of having thoughts about what you don't have, find something about yourself that you do have and appreciate that. When we appreciate, we shift our self-talk to something positive thus destroying our inner critic. Self-appreciation has a lasting effect on your health and well-being. Did you know that 80% of our thoughts are negative and 95% are repetitive? That's because once the negative things start up, we habitually continue that form of thinking. We want to take control of our thinking by disrupting the negative thinking and consciously choosing a positive thought to focus on.
Breaking the habitual negative thinking and creating a new habit of self-appreciation and acceptance is the only way to greatly reduce that which we call our "inner critic".