7 Tips for Dealing with Your Inner Critic

April 26, 2021

by LaVerne H. Collins, PhD, LPC, LCMHC, NCC

Were you ever about to do something - and then suddenly, that voice inside your head starts talking?
Why did you do that? You’ll never succeed at that. No one wants to talk to you. You will never achieve anything like that. You're not "something" enough to do that!

The negative voice that judges, criticizes, and demeans you, seems so loud.  And, unfortunately, it plays a critical role in how you see yourself and your place in God's creation. When you don’t know how to deal with that voice, you can feel ashamed, worthless, or low on self-esteem.  Your inner critic might undermine your every accomplishment. Or it might show up as you enter a room of people you’ve never met before, leading to self-doubt or lack of confidence.

When you let that voice control too many of your actions, it can hold you back from things like growth, connection, and your full potential. If someone feels insecure and believes no one wants to talk to them, how charismatic do you think they will be in social settings?   But those thoughts are absolutely not true! 

Here are 7 strategies to deal with your inner critic and take control of your thoughts:

1. Acknowledge and understand. When negative thoughts come up, acknowledge your thoughts. Try to understand the source of where your thoughts are coming from.
● How old do I feel right now?
● Why do I feel this way?
● What are some patterns I recognize?
● Where do these thoughts come from?
● How do these thoughts affect my behavior?

2. What advice would you give a friend? If a friend came to you in the same situation as you feel, what advice would you give to them? Many times, we are harder on ourselves than we are with others.

3. Separate facts from feelings. Your brain might be accustomed to thinking that no one wants to talk to you or that you’re undesirable as a person. Feelings are not facts. Nor are they commands. Feelings are just emotional responses to the world around you.  Practice separating facts from feelings.  What is another, more positive way you could look at the situation?

4. Practice self-acceptance and self-compassion. Replace negative or critical thoughts with accepting and compassionate ones. Have a selection of empowering, compassionate beliefs that you can tell yourself instead of succumbing to negative ones. Use Scriptures to speak the truths of God over your life.

5. Write down and meditate not on facts or feelings, but on truth!   Ask God to silence the voice of your inner critic, the voices of the culture, and the voice of the adversary.  Focus on your strengths and God-given gifts. 

6. Distract yourself when you start replaying mistakes in your head. Have you ever made a mistake and replayed those moments over and over again? That doesn’t resolve the issue. If you find you’re ruminating instead of actively problem-solving, distract yourself from those thoughts.

  • Pray
  • Take a walk
  • Read
  • Meditate
  • Listen to an inspiring podcast.
  • Play a game
  • Cuddle your pet

7. Remind yourself that your inner critic has already been defeated and dethroned.  Then, don't allow that critic to sit on the throne of your heart and mind.  Every time he tries to ascend to the throne of your thoughts, evict him and remind yourself that God's Word is the only inhabitant permitted on the throne of your heart and mind.  Your inner critic does not have to control your life!

Taking these steps to silence your inner critic and nurture a more spiritually empowering inner dialogue can help you grow and expand your horizons. There’s a difference between that harmful voice telling you that you are not good enough and wanting to improve yourself. Use the tips above to silence your inner critic so you can reach your full potential.