We’ve all heard it — that inner voz that speaks up whenever we’ve just messed up. Sometimes, your critical inner voice tells you what you should have done but didn’t. Other times, it reminds you of something you did that you shouldn’t have. Whenever you have a running dialogue with yourself about how you’re falling short in your behavior, your autocrítica (self-criticism) is racing right along with you and it can be hurtful. How can you quiet that voice before it destroys your self-esteem and confidence?
Follow this 6-step process:
Analyze the criticisms. Point by point, what does your inner voice say? Jot it down in a journal or piece of paper so you can reflect on what you feel you’re doing wrong. One by one, go through the points and ask yourself, “Is this really valid? Is it true?” If so circle it. If not, cross it off your list.
Figure out when the criticisms began. For example, if you say to yourself, “You’ll never be successful at anything,” take time to resolve why you feel that way deep down inside. You might discover a time when an authority figure or someone in your family was overly critical of you. Unfortunately, uninformed adults and loved ones can devastate the self-esteem of little kids around them when they use negative, accusatory, or demeaning words directed at them.
Let it go. Release any negative remarks or thoughts that stem from those early experiences. They hold no value for you now. They came from an adult who was unaware of the impact of their words. Don’t let your inner voice keep repeating these false criticisms. They’re untrue. Take an active stance to discard them. Release yourself from unhealthy words. Give yourself permission to let go of any negative statement that prevents you from moving forward and being successful in life. Just release this negativity from your life. Realize that no one can function well when being constantly told that they cannot persevere and rise above their struggles.
Criticizing yourself is not the answer. Acknowledge that self-criticism can be damaging. If you continue to repeat negative statements, it can be crippling to you and even block your path on your journey. Embrace a more encouraging part of you that speaks positively.Designate your supportive, caring voice as the one in charge. You can learn to be your strongest supporter.
Counter your critical voice with your supportive, caring self. Instead of thinking, “I won’t be good at _______,” think, “This is a good opportunity for me to work on learning something new.”
Stay focused. Rather than allow your critical inner voice to get the best of you, continue with your plan full speed ahead. You can challenge the validity of any criticism simply by continuing with your efforts to accomplish your desires.
Quieting your critical inner voice is one of the wisest things you’ll ever do. When you apply this process, you’ll discover a more serene, happy existence along your incredible journey of life. Go ahead and get started now! You deserve it.
Dr. Patty Jiménez is the Founder of Recetas. She obtained 2 Masters in Theology and Ministry and a Doctorate in Ministry specializing in Latinx theology and ministry. She has over 27 years experience in Catholic Ministry and is a spiritual director and training as a wellness coach.