Identifying and countering critical inner voices can be harder than it seems – but here are five steps to get you started:
What is your (very critical) inner voice telling you?
Before you can challenge your negative inner voice you need to identify the area/s of your life that you are most critical of – and pay attention to your self-criticisms. The next time your inner voice murmurs something like “I am worthless/lazy/not good enough”, recognise that this is the voice of your inner critic not your inner supporter. Become aware that you have two voices within you, it is time to silence the inner critic to be able to hear your inner supporter.
Where is this voice coming from?
When your inner critic makes a statement, reflect on the source of this statement. Are these familiar words that were repeated to you maybe by someone from your childhood, a teacher, another child and sometimes even a friend or family member?
Through this process of reflection and discovery, you will realise that the inner critic is repeating statements it has learned over the years whether they are true or not. This powerful process will help you to develop compassion for yourself and start recognising that the inner critic has no real basis for the negative statements.
Understanding how the critical inner voice has affected your actions and held you back from opportunities will open your eyes to the power you have vested in the inner critic.
Transform your beliefs
When you hear yourself thinking a negative thought, acknowledge the thought and the source thereof. If the source is not external, then it could be rooted in a limiting belief. For example, your inner voice proclaims, “You are so stupid!”. Acknowledge that your inner voice is simply repeating a belief it has been trained to remind you off. It is time to re-train your inner voice by transforming your beliefs. The next time you hear a limiting belief like “You are so stupid!”, respond with an affirming, positive thought such as, “I have valid ideas and people care what I think”. Transforming your beliefs is a powerful way to silence your inner critic.
Understand its past influence
How has your inner voice affected your past decisions or actions? Did it limit you in reaching greater heights in your career or did it stop you from social interactions and striking up conversations?
Understanding how the critical inner voice has affected your actions and held you back from opportunities will open your eyes to the power you have vested in the inner critic. This is especially helpful when you want to silence the inner critic and start to change specific self-limiting behaviours.
Change self-limiting behaviours
Once you have identified the areas in which you limit yourself, you can begin to change. For example, if you have avoided striking up conversations or networking, make a point of doing it. Go out of your way to prove your inner voice wrong and surround yourself with positive messages. By taking positive action and re-framing your thoughts, you will be training your inner voice
It is a long process to change how you think and respond to your inner critic – and sometimes your critical inner voice will be triggered again – but you can do it. Take the time to develop the crucial skills and tools needed to manage negative thinking and see the change in yourself.
Find out how you can work with me individually or through my group coaching programs and let me help you break free from your inner critic and work to your real potential.
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Working with a Coach is a great way to fast-track the process.
SILENCE YOUR INNER CRITIC; AWAKEN YOUR INNER SUPPORTER
The Leadership Evolution Masterclass Series incorporates powerful reflection exercises that enable you to silence the inner critic and awaken your inner supporter.
About the author:
Usha Maharaj CA(SA) is an Executive and Leadership Coach in South Africa who went from small town trainee accountant to Director in a Big-4 audit firm. Her 16+ year corporate career had all of the highs and lows of a high performing workplace where she shattered setbacks, crushed challenges and conquered fears to enjoy a highly successful career. She now inspires ambitious individuals and executives to reach their own highest level of influence in corporate South Africa.
Find out more at www.ushamaharaj.com.