When your inner critic is programmed to tear you down and you’re left feeling “not good enough” and full of doubt, use this powerful tool to install new, empowering beliefs (and create more confidence along the way!)
Every human being is gifted with intuition — an inner voice that speaks to us and guides us toward our dreams, and the fulfillment of our higher purpose. This inner voice is supportive, kind and always empowering…
But many people – develop an overly harsh inner critic that’s not afraid of sharing judgments that can all too often drown out the softer whisper of our intuition!
Having a toxic and loud inner critic can increase your stress levels and trigger feelings of guilt, fear, and anxiety. Learning to tame your inner critic when it provides too much negative self-talk is an essential step in boosting your confidence and living an authentic, happy, vibrant life.
I would know! I suffered from a toxic inner critic for many years and it can be devastating and paralyzing.
If you’re ready to learn how to quiet your inner critic when it gets too mean, good news! There are lots of simple and easy to use tools that allow you to be kind to yourself and facilitate inner critic healing.
I learned why it’s important to silence the inner critic when its negative self-talk gets too loud when I was a young adult after years of immersing myself in the overly negative critical world of dance.
I have loved dancing since I could walk and experimented with multiple dance modalities throughout the years. What I learned is that to be an exceptional dancer, I had to be exceptionally critical of my performance … analyzing every tiny nuance of movement, critiquing almost imperceptible flaws in the strive to be “perfect.”
Unfortunately, I didn’t criticize only my movements. My overly harsh dance teachers and choreographers fed fuel to the fire of my inner critic analyzing my body, my very being … until I developed a true love-hate relationship with my body and myself. Can you relate?
One day, I was introduced to another way. I was led to a beautiful old building in downtown Portland, Oregon where I discovered a conscious dance class … and it completely transformed my life.
I experienced my body in a new way, a sacred way … as an incredible vessel for my divine self. That one class launched a 20+-year exploration of mind-body-spirit health and a journey deep into my authentic self.
It also transformed my relationship with my overly negative inner critic and fueled a passion to help other women experience inner critic healing, as I help them do in my Vibrant Healthy Woman program.
How the Overly Negative Inner Critic Forms
Everyone has an inner voice and I’m sure you know the sound of yours. Some psychologists believe that it forms when we first start to learn language and that our inner voice tends to be positive or negative based on the messaging received by parents and caregivers. Children who grow up hearing “no” a lot develop an inner critic that is mostly negative, overly critical and continues to correct their behavior. At its root, the inner critic — even a harsh inner critic — is trying to keep us safe.
Biologically, we are wired to pay more attention to negative experiences and feedback. After all, believe it or not, those are the messages most often designed to keep us safe!
A message like, “Don’t touch the stove – it will burn you,” is worth paying attention to because it can keep us from harm. Messages like, “Great job, you did that well!” don’t have as much impact, because they aren’t as immediately connected to keeping us safe and alive.
Additional life experiences strengthen the limiting beliefs your inner critic holds and frequently shares with you. These messages expand beyond the bounds of true safety-related messages to a general criticism of our very beingness.
We grow up with so many messages of how we “should” be, feel, speak, think, act, and look. Some messages are blatant, others are subtle. Some messages we notice consciously, while others, we absorb as effortlessly and unconsciously as we take in air. Some messages we receive from the people who are nearest and dearest our hearts, while others we pick up from society as a whole.
My dance instructors certainly meant well…
Their feedback was essential to helping me grow as a dancer, learning the correct way to perform traditional dance steps and carry myself as a dancer. But in my strive to be the best dancer I could be, my inner critic became overly zealous in its criticisms of my body and other aspects of my being.
We end up internalizing this barrage of criticism and “not good enough” messaging … until we have a vocal, often mean inner critic chattering in our heads all day long.
At some point, the strong inner critic’s voice becomes part of the background noise. We might not be hanging on her every word, but she’s there, dripping her unsupportive messages into our subconscious minds … feeding the impulses, actions and habits that align with her most negative observations. We adopt our harsh inner critic’s beliefs as our own limiting beliefs and that impacts every area of life, including our health, our finances, our relationships, and the work we are meant to do in the world.
A Harsh Inner Critic Example You Might Relate to
I adored dancing. Yet in some ways, I dreaded it, because it would open the door to feedback from my mean inner critic. As much as I loved moving my body and expressing myself through dance, I also didn’t want to dance because it meant facing harsh judgements from choreographers, especially about my body shape and weight. Which led to hearing too often from my abusive, loud inner critic sharing its observations.
Having a mean and loud inner critic can affect self-esteem and mental health, triggering shame, guilt, fear, anxiety and more. The overly harsh inner critic also impacts the choices and actions we take. If your inner critic tells you the lie that you’re fat and will never lose weight, for example, you’re much less likely to stick with a healthy eating and exercise plan because those actions don’t align with your inner beliefs.
Learning to quiet and reprogram our strong inner critic limiting beliefs can do wonders for making choices that are more supportive of the holistic health we want — and create the results and life we dream of.
That was certainly true for one of my coaching clients, Kimberly.
Like many of us, Kimberly had been running a pattern of extreme self-criticism since childhood. The steady drip of criticism and negativity she received from her harsh inner critic nudged her to make choices that were out of alignment with her goals of good health.
Instead, she slowly surrounded herself with things that created a sense of psychological protection — in her case, extra weight and lots and lots of clutter (paper, clothing, dust, books, garbage — you name it!).
On a deep level, Kimberly felt safer. But on a conscious level, she saw proof that her strong inner critic was right about what a flawed mess she was.
As I worked with Kimberly in the Vibrant Healthy Women Program, she began to experience inner critic healing. She told me she developed an increased sense of self-love, acceptance, and appreciation for her amazing body temple.
The more she plugged into her inner truth, her divine radiance, letting her essence and light shine fully and brightly from the core of her being, the easier it became to make changes in all areas of her life.
Kimberly repatterned her habit of self-criticism, replacing her inner critic limiting beliefs with beliefs that aligned with what she wanted to create. I saw her come alive as she tapped into deeper feelings of freedom, expansion and abundance.
As she worked to quiet her harsh inner critic, Kimberly released the clutter that had built up in her house over decades and now enjoys a home that is organized and beautiful. She’s released more than 40 pounds since we started working together, and she’s discovered her voice, and she’s living in alignment with her purpose.
Something I really love about Kimberly’s story is that she’s also learned to set loving, healthy boundaries, because she feels more confident and empowered.
And to think … it all starts with learning how to be kind to yourself and shift your negative self-talk to a voice that is empowering and supportive!
Quotes to Quiet Your Inner Critic
Throughout my own journey of becoming comfortable in my own skin, I found that reading inspiring quotes from powerful women bolsters my confidence and helps remind me of how incredible my divine self is.
I share quotes with clients like Kimberly often to help them boost their confidence, and I’ve collected 31 of my favorite quotes to inspire and support you along your inner critic healing journey.
“Looks aren’t everything, it’s the confidence with which you walk into a room, it’s the ability to do your job to the best of your capabilities.”
~ Priyanka Chopra
“I was raised to be an independent woman, not the victim of anything.”
~ Kamala Harris
“Step away from the mean girls and say bye-bye to feeling bad about your looks. Are you ready to stop colluding with a culture that makes so many of us feel physically inadequate? Say goodbye to your inner critic, and take this pledge to be kinder to yourself and others.”
~ Oprah Winfrey
“The most revolutionary thing a woman can do: the next right thing, one thing at a time, without asking permission or offering explanation.”
~ Glennon Doyle
“You can be whatever size you are, and you can be beautiful both inside and out. We’re always told what’s beautiful and what’s not, and that’s not right.”
~ Serena Williams
“Women need to shift from thinking, ‘I’m not ready to do that,’ to thinking, ‘I want to do that, and I’ll learn by doing it.’
~ Sheryl Sandberg
“For there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it, if only we’re brave enough to be it.”
~ Amanda Gorman
“You are never too small to make a difference.”
~ Greta Thunberg
“Stop shaming women about age, gravity and cellulite. They are inevitable, completely normal things. To make us fear them and try to ‘fix’ them is to literally set us up for failure.”
~ Jameela Jamil
“Do not wait for someone else to come and speak for you. It’s you who can change the world.”
~ Malala Yousafzai
“Today, do what others won’t, so tomorrow you can accomplish what others can’t.”
~ Simone Biles
“A woman with a voice is by definition a strong woman. But the search to find that voice can be remarkably difficult.”
~ Melinda Gates
“When you’re in your lane, there’s no traffic.”
“My thing is, you don’t need anyone else to empower you; you can empower yourself. Whether it’s a pep talk or putting on a good shade of lipstick, whatever you need to do, do it, but be yourself. You absolutely don’t need someone else to tell you that you’re good enough.”
“If you can’t change your fate, change your attitude.”
~ Amy Tan
“Stand for something or you will fall for anything. Today’s mighty oak is yesterday’s nut that held its ground.”
~ Rosa Parks
“A woman is like a tea bag; you never know how strong it is until it’s in hot water.”
~ Eleanor Roosevelt
“Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn’t be that women are the exception.”
~ Ruth Bader Ginsburg
“If I am not good to myself, how can I expect anyone else to be good to me?”
~ Maya Angelou
“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”
~ Jane Goodall
“The most difficult thing is the decision to act. The rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life and the procedure. The process is its own reward.”
~ Amelia Earhart
“You should never view your challenges as a disadvantage. Instead, it’s important for you to understand that your experience facing and overcoming adversity is actually one of your biggest advantages.”
~ Michelle Obama
“True beauty is not related to what color your hair is or what color your eyes are. True beauty is about who you are as a human being, your principles, your moral compass.”
~ Ellen DeGeneres
”The art of life is not controlling what happens to us, but using what happens to us.”
~ Gloria Steinem
“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.”
~ Mother Theresa
“We are taught you must blame your father, your sisters, your brothers, the school, the teachers — but never blame yourself. It’s never your fault. But it’s always your fault, because if you wanted to change, you’re the one who has got to change.”
~ Katharine Hepburn
“I’d rather regret the things I have done than the things that I haven’t.”
~ Lucille Ball
“I feel that losing both my legs was a blessing. It was meant to happen to me: I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to touch so many lives in such a positive way.”
~ Amy Purdy
“Stop trying to fix your body. It was never broken.”
~ Eve Ensler
“You block your dream when you allow your fear to grow bigger than your faith.”
~ Mary Morrissey
And of course, one from yours truly…
“Love your body as the chalice for your soul and the vehicle through which you create and experience life, build your dreams, and fulfill your divine purpose!”
~ Jennifer Jiménez
I’m always looking for new quotes to inspire and uplift myself, my friends, and my clients. What are your favorites? Please share them below!
How to Deal with Your Harsh Inner Critic
The inner critic healing journey is one that concludes only when our time on this planet ends. Although I’m happy, inspired and vibrant most of the time … there definitely are times when my inner critic gets a little too loud.
Those are the times when I pull out quotes like the ones I’ve shared with you here today. Whenever you start to doubt yourself, get too hard on yourself, or simply start to feel not good enough, use these quotes to tame your inner critic by challenging and replacing its limiting beliefs … and inspire and remind you to step into your inner power.
Whenever you’re wondering how to shift your inner critic, I encourage you to pull out these quotes and reflect on the ones that really grab you. They hold a message that your divine self wants you to hear!
I also invite you to check out my free Confidence Kit, which contains an eBook and guided meditation to help you feel more confident, beautiful and loved in your skin from the inside out! Energize your body, increase your fun, and rejuvenate your soul so you can speak your truth more boldly and express your gifts more freely in the world. Get more details and sign up here.
Are You Ready to Tame Your Inner Critic When It Gets Too Loud and Mean?
As you take steps to build your confidence and self-esteem, remember:
- Everyone has an inner voice — and yours is trying to be helpful and keep you safe, even when it is being too harsh!
- A harsh inner critic may cause guilt, stress, anxiety and fear … so it’s a good idea to learn how to shift your inner critic by transforming your negative self-talk into a more supportive and empowering voice.
- As you’re learning how to deal with your inner critic, be kind to yourself. It’s a process! Re-patterning your inner critic from one that is harsh to one that is empowering takes time and repetition.
- Remember that you will never get rid of the inner critic forever – and you don’t have to. You can, however, repattern it and shift your relationship with that mean voice in your head, by giving your negative inner critic a new job title.
- Easy tools exist for transforming your inner critic — like the inner critic quotes I’ve shared here and my free Confidence Kit.
Feel confident in your skin and alive in your life!