Tips for overpowering your inner critic

We all have an inner voice that we use to guide us. But if your inner voice is cruel or criticising, you may have a strong inner critic.


The effect of this powerful inner voice may be preventing you from moving forward with your life, applying for jobs, or entering new relationships. 

How can I overpower my inner critic?

If this sounds familiar, here are some tips to help you overpower your inner critic.

Introduce a positive or neutral voice

Try developing a more positive voice to counter the negative inner critic. For example, if your inner critic is telling you that you don’t have enough experience to get the job, your positive voice might remind you of your valuable experience in other areas and your ability to learn quickly. Some examples of positive phrases and statements include, "I forgive myself for my mistakes.", "I'm doing the best I can" and "I choose to support myself".

Don't worry if producing a positive voice is initially difficult. If your negative voice has been dominant for a long time (perhaps even the majority of your life!) it will take time and conscious effort to retrain your thinking patterns and get into the habit of talking positively. If a 'positive' voice is hard, try a 'neutral' voice – this voice might not praise you or tell you you’re amazing, but it will reassure you that things are OK. Practising gratitude, self-compassion and mindfulness can all help nurture a more positive inner voice. 

Look for evidence to support your positive thinking

Maybe a manager/customer/friend or partner praised your work or gave you encouraging feedback. Proactively look for ways to remember these. One strategy would be an 'evidence bank' in the form of a journal, or a collection of sticky notes where you can record instances that help affirm your self-worth.

What would you say to a friend?

Being kind to ourselves as well as others is really important. We often treat our friends with respect and encouragement but neglect to use the same kindness for ourselves. There are some great self-compassion resources, exercises and meditations available online that can help develop this practice.

Give the inner critic voice a name or face

Using a third-person perspective can reduce the impact of negative thoughts by creating a distance. So, try giving your inner critic a name, or spend a little time creating an image of them. Then when you hear the voice, remind yourself that it's your inner critic talking, not you!

Consider your inner critic's origin story

Inner critics can develop for a number of reasons including childhood experiences (such as harsh parents/teachers), perfectionism, societal pressures and traumatic experiences. Spend some time reflecting on where your inner-critic voice grew from. Learning to understand its function and questioning if it’s trying to protect you, can improve your relationship and help with perspective.

With practice, perseverance, and a more positive outlook, it is possible to overpower your inner critic's negative voice. Treating yourself with kindness, building evidence to support your positive thinking, and learning to separate yourself from the critical voice can help build confidence and self-esteem. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Biggleswade, Central Bedfordshire, SG18 8GU
Written by Claire Coker, MA, MBACP Counsellor and Psychotherapist
Biggleswade, Central Bedfordshire, SG18 8GU

Claire Coker is an integrative counsellor, proud to be woke and anti ‘should’. She loves working with people who struggle with low self-confidence and/or loud inner critics. She’s all for saying no, respectful boundaries, breaking down negative self-beliefs and the magic of our unknown potential.

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