When you find yourself engaging in negative self-talk, use these affirmations to shift to self-compassion and quiet your inner critic.
Every human comes equipped with an inner voice that serves as an internal guide. But when your inner critic is harsh, exceptionally negative or even downright mean, you may notice feelings of anxiety, fear and even guilt. Affirmations are a powerful and proven tool to calm your inner critic and increase self-compassion.
You Have the Power to Quiet Your Inner Critic
Our inner voices are formed in childhood, and researchers think that your inner critic voice is influenced by your parents and other powerful authority figures.
Personally, I started taking dance classes at a very young age and immersed myself for years in that world, even becoming a professional dancer for a while! It was no surprise, then, that my inner critic started regurgitating some of the things that my dance instructors offered as feedback to help me improve.
But for some people – including me – the inner critic can become exceptionally negative and offers an often-unrelenting stream of harsh criticism. When you’re exposed to a steady stream of negative self-talk for years, if not a lifetime, it’s easy to develop feelings of anxiety, guilt and fear. You may notice thoughts and feelings of worthlessness — of not being “enough.”
My harsh inner critic liked to focus on my body
… How it wasn’t thin enough, tall enough, strong enough, graceful enough, pretty enough … you get the picture. I developed a lot of insecurity around and dislike for my body and eventually myself. Can you relate?
After years of listening to an overly harsh inner critic, you get used to its messages and start to internalize your inner critic limiting beliefs. Because the thoughts come from within your mind, you start to think that your inner critic is you — and that what it’s saying is just how you think. You may believe that there’s nothing you can do — that your inner critic’s voice is just a part of your life and who you are.
But you actually have the power to quiet your inner critic, transform your relationship with it, and shift what it says from negative self-talk to empowering, uplifting messages. It can be surprisingly easy to do, especially when you cultivate habits around self-compassion and mindfulness, plus affirmations (like the fun, simple, and proven techniques I teach in Project Lighten Up.)
How I Learned to Tame My Inner Critic
For a long time, I felt somewhat helpless with my often abusive and loud inner critic. I had dreams and goals and gave myself pep talks to push myself to achieve more.
But I also had my overly negative inner critic voice offering a steady commentary on all the ways I was falling short. I would sometimes hear that voice and get really down on myself. I’d question my dreams, doubt my ability to achieve my goals, and wonder if I’d ever be rid of that voice. If this is your story, you are not alone!
Things came to a head for me when I was attending a women’s retreat hosted by my mother, Mary Morrissey. At that point in my life, I had hit a point of extreme burnout after years of climbing the corporate ladder while raising young children and trying to take care of everyone around me.
I woke up one morning and realized that I simply had to find a way to do life differently.
It was so scary to leap into the unknown, but my desire to grow was bigger than my fear. I chose to leave corporate and align with my soul’s calling and follow my passion full time. And I vowed to take better care of myself, including creating a new relationship with my body by transforming my harsh inner critic, giving her a new job title, and finding much more inner peace.
My mom was such a force of love and support for me during that time of discovery and rebirth. She shared many of her personal routines and habits that she used to cultivate self-compassion and mindfulness, while quieting her inner critic voice.
Mary and I continued to experiment and explore together and now share our favorite practices with students around the world in Project Lighten Up, 28 day and 28 FUN ways to lighten up in Mind, Body & Spirit.
Pretty quickly, we saw thousands of people see incredible results. I joined “the family business” and became the founder of the Health & Wellbeing Division of Brave Thinking Institute.
A Self-Love Note to Quiet Your Inner Critic
One of the very first transformational practices I learned was something called the Self-Love Note. This practice is exactly as it sounds — it’s a love note you write to yourself!
In Project Lighten Up, I offer this exercise as a way to develop greater self-love, self-acceptance, and self-compassion around your body.
You can use a self-love journal to cultivate self-compassion and mindfulness. I encourage students to write a love note to a specific body part they want to appreciate (I’ve written a beautiful letter to my feet, for example) — or to themselves as a whole.
A self-love note (or a self-love journal) can be a beautiful way to transform the inner critic limiting beliefs that might be undermining your self-confidence or inviting you to indulge in feelings of fear, anxiety, guilt or shame. Use your self-love note to flip the story on your inner critic limiting beliefs.
For example, if your harsh inner critic comments on how big your hips are, use your self-love note to appreciate and celebrate your hips as a center for the creation of life.
If your negative self-talk focuses on your weight, use your self-love note to appreciate your body for how it’s the vehicle through which you get to experience even being alive today.
My client, Tatiana Soltan, embraced the self-love note exercise when she was enrolled in Project Lighten Up, and she had this to share:
“It seemed corny to write the first self love note. But I did it and I put the note in beautiful handwriting in my planner on an opening page. (I wrote it on my favorite color post-it note: Goldenrod, a beautiful rich yellow). Every time I open my planner, I see it and I smile as I read it. Thank you for giving that gift to me. This has helped give me increased awareness of taking care of myself, my health, food, exercise, and SELF LOVE.”
I invite you to take 10 minutes today to write yourself a self-love note. What would you most like to appreciate about yourself as you develop greater self-compassion and transform your relationship with your inner critic. I’d love it if you’d share your thoughts below!
Develop Mindfulness to Quiet Your Inner Critic
If you’ve been living with an overly harsh inner critic for a long time, you might be wondering how to quiet your inner critic and silence the negative self-talk.
Actually, you never will – nor would you want to completely. Your inner voice is an essential part of yourself — your guidance system that nudges you toward the path you’re supposed to follow. The inner critic is simply offering feedback that is meant to help you and keep you safe, even if it doesn’t always feel supportive.
But what you can do is change the relationship you have with this deep and innate part of yourself.
To be able to deliberately transform the inner critique dialogue from negative self-talk to empowering and supportive messages, you first must tune into what you’re hearing.
Mindfulness is a powerful and helpful habit to develop.
Mindfulness is the state of being aware of and tuned into the present moment — to your thoughts, your feelings, and your bodily sensations. It means simply acknowledging, not judging.
Mindfulness empowers you to notice what your inner critic is saying – whether it’s supportive messages or negative self-talk – rather than letting the inner critic dialogue become part of the background noise in your head.
Mindfulness also means noticing — without judgment — how the inner critic dialogue makes you feel. Sad or happy, guilty or proud, ashamed or confident, self-hating or self-loving — simply observe and bear witness to your feelings.
When you fully tune into your inner critic limiting beliefs, you can flip them and transform them into supportive beliefs.
How to Have Self-Compassion
After a lifetime of listening to your harsh inner critic, you may feel anxious, guilty, fearful and even like something is wrong with you. You may not feel like you are “not enough” — especially if you have a strong inner critic about your body like I did.
When you hear your harsh inner critic limiting beliefs come up, you may slip into a pattern of judging yourself. This is where a solid practice of self-compassion comes in handy.
So what is self-compassion, exactly?
It involves treating yourself with warmth and understanding whenever you feel inadequate, fail or suffer rather than beating yourself up, criticizing yourself, or ignoring your pain.
Think about how you treat, talk to, care for and love your friends or dear family members. Now think about how you treat yourself most of the time. Women with an abusive and loud inner critic typically notice a distinct difference.
You may have a steady stream of negative self-talk running in your head, but you’d never in a million years say those things out loud to a friend or someone you care about. Right?
And if you heard a friend talking to herself in such a harsh way, the way your inner critic talks to you, you’d probably interrupt her and lovingly invite her to be kinder to herself.
This is where you can serve yourself by taking your own advice! When we have a mean inner critic, we can grow accustomed to the negative self-talk. But I know from personal experience and from clients’ experiences that you have the power to make different choices — including choosing to treat yourself with love, kindness and compassion.
Affirmations to transform the inner critic limiting beliefs are a powerful habit to adopt, even if you find at first that you don’t quite believe them. Here are some of my favorite affirms to transform your relationship with your inner critic.
Affirmations for Self-Compassion To Calm Your Inner Critic
Repeat these affirmations to calm your inner critic — preferably out loud — one to three times per day.
- I am enough, and I love myself unconditionally.
- I am at peace in my body, and I feel great in my skin.
- I express myself freely and confidently.
- I love and accept myself, exactly as I am.
- I am the perfect weight and shape for me.
- I am grateful to my inner critic for trying to keep me safe.
- I am mindful of what my inner critic is saying to me and how I choose to feel.
- I am choosing self-compassion day by day.
- Each day in every way I get healthier, stronger, and more energized.
- I am made to move easily and be physically active with ease and grace.
- My genes are designed to create perfect vibrant health.
- As I get older, I become stronger, smarter, more attractive, and more productive (“I keep growing and expanding – full steam ahead”).
- Wrinkles are a beautiful sign of abundant living and loving.
- I love my “well lived-in body.”
- Body fat has a purpose and my body easily releases any excess body fat that no longer serves a purpose.
- I am highly pleasing in the eyes of myself and others.
- My body is a masterpiece and I love and accept myself unconditionally.
- I eat healthy organic pure food providing energy and fuel for my body, mind and SOUL.
- I allow myself to feel vibrant, healthy, abundant, and safe, with all of my needs met in advance.
- I am good enough and beautiful just the way I am.
- I am joyfully creating a new relationship with my inner critic.
Now it’s your turn! Do you have any favorite self-love quotes or affirmations to calm your inner critic? Share yours below!
Transform Your Inner Critic Voice
As with any relationship, the process of transforming your relationship with a mean or excessively harsh inner critic is a process. Some days will be better than others. You’ll sometimes take steps forward, and other times, take a step or two backward.
Remember to practice mindfulness, simply observing your thoughts and feelings. Practice self-compassion, encouraging and celebrating yourself for taking ownership of your life and choices.
And review your list of affirmations. Please read the above list of affirmations to calm your inner critic, and even find others that speak to you. Repeat them out loud to yourself and notice the shift they made inside as the work to quiet your inner critic.
If you’d like to accelerate the transformation of your relationship with your inner critic, I invite you to check out Project Lighten Up.
In this powerful 28-day program, you’ll discover quick and proven processes and habits (beyond affirmations to calm your inner critic), that you can use to shift your energy and your relationship with your inner critic. You need only about 10 minutes a day!
You’re Ready to Quiet Your Inner Critic
An overly harsh inner critic can affect your mental health and open the door to experience elevated levels of anxiety, guilt, fear and shame. Also, please remember that:
- Everyone has an inner critic voice. It serves us by offering guidance to steer us away from things that could harm us.
- You have the power to transform your inner critic voice and change your relationship with it.
- Mindfulness is a powerful state to help you tune into your inner critic limiting beliefs and notice how these beliefs affect your feelings and actions.
- Self-compassion is helpful for creating space and grace to grow and learn new ways of relating to our inner critic voice.
- Affirmations are an easy and proven tool to transform negative self-talk into empowering, uplifting words.
- The Self-Love Note is a beautiful way to shower yourself with self-compassion, while also changing your inner critic voice and limiting beliefs.
Now it’s your turn to share! What is your favorite way to shift a loud inner critic voice? Have you ever used affirmations to calm your inner critic? What is your favorite self loving thought or practice? Please let us know, we’d love to hear from you!
Feel confident in your skin and alive in your life!