Imagine having a life-long friend that has experienced every single moment with you and knows you better than anyone else in the world…
…but makes it a point to remind you of your flaws and failures every chance they get.
You probably wouldn’t want to be around someone like that!
But as much as you try to shake them off, they only fade into the background…
Just to come back right as you’re about to try something new – or make a significant change – or take a risk!
So what is this voice that keeps you from feeling confident and capable?
This constant companion is your inner voice – which, after decades of molding by limiting stories, persistent fears, and negative emotions, has hardened into your inner critic.
If you’re in search of unstoppable vibrancy and inner confidence so you can live your purpose, the first step is to follow these 4 steps to overcome your inner critic!
#1 – Stand Up to the Bully Voice of your Inner Critic
Your inner critic holds on to past hurts, fears, and failures like a paranoid, overprotective childhood friend.
If you think about it, it knows absolutely everything about you! Every life experience that has caused even the slightest inkling of discomfort or pain, whether emotional or physical, is jotted down in your inner critic’s notebook.
Then, just when you’re about to accept a new opportunity or step out of your comfort zone, it pulls out the perfect failure story to make you reconsider and retreat to safety. This triggers your flight or fight response and, if successful, pulls you back into your comfort zone to “save you from failure.”
It’s a defense mechanism wired deep into your subconscious which makes it difficult to separate the voice of the inner critic from the voice of truth.
So the first step to reprogram this pattern of negative thinking is by calling out the bully voice and choosing not to respond with fear.
You have the power to pick and choose which thoughts to believe, and which to release. That means using your awareness that the things your inner critic says are not FACT and the truth is that you are capable – worthy – and ready!
By doing this, you shift control from the inner critic to the part of your spirit that knows you already have everything you need to succeed.
Heal Your Inner Critic with Kindness
As much as we hear the term “silence your inner critic”, a more permanent solution is healing your relationship with it!
As a result, if and when self-critical thoughts creep into your subconscious, you’ll know exactly how to resolve it rather than just shushing it away. In this way, you’re not “killing it with kindness”, but actually healing yourself on a deep level!
Here’s how to begin the process of healing your inner critic:
1. Identify the voice of the inner critic.
As often as you can, write down what the critical voice is saying so you’re:
(1) Aware of how it sounds, and
(2) Reminded that it’s just a thought.
You can weaken its influence further by changing the voice you hear into something ridiculous or silly! This exercise of internal “speech-jamming” is a fun and easy tool to turn the inner critic’s authority into one of hilarity.
I once heard someone say that when they catch their inner critic talking, they imagine it speaking in the voice of Daffy Duck!
2. Acknowledge your inner critic’s positive intentions – then realize it’s not working.
When you notice your inner critic trying to sabotage your life purpose, respond with kindness by acknowledging and thanking them for trying to help you – but make it clear that their strategy is not working. This awareness puts YOU in control of which thoughts you hold and empowers you to release the ones that aren’t working for your greater good.
Byron Katie, author of “The Work” says it like this:
“I love what I think, and I’m never tempted to believe it. They’re not personal, they don’t belong to us, they just come and go. When they’re met with understanding, they’re friends.”
3. Write a letter to your inner critic.
Writing things down builds a habit of awareness and moves your thoughts into the physical realm where you can release them from mind, body, and spirit. In the same way, you can write a letter that combines everything from the previous steps to make a powerful statement to your inner critic.
In your letter, acknowledge that your inner critic is separate from who you are, that you’re grateful for its protection over the years, but you’re moving on!
Following this step-by-step process will result in a life-transforming awakening where you heal your inner critic with grace and kindness instead of letting the bully voice carry on without question.
#2 – Strengthen Your Friendship with Yourself
Step two to overcoming your inner critic is being a better friend to yourself!
This means allowing self-love, self-confidence, and self-gratitude to take root in your life. By doing this you will be able to recognize when something is off and bring it to your attention, as well as be your best advocate for releasing unwanted negativity.
As a result, you create a safe space for your personal growth. This makes it difficult for your inner critic to uproot your self-confidence!
Plus, you’ll need those healthy roots in place to withstand your inner critic’s best friend: imposter syndrome.
Overcome Imposter Syndrome by Increasing Your Confidence and Self-Gratitude
Imposter syndrome works with your inner critic by intruding “in the moment”. It steps in when you’ve made the leap to do something new, and tries to pull you back into negative thinking by making you doubt your power and sense of deserving. It’s a last-ditch effort to make you retreat out of fear and attach more negative emotion to what you’re doing!
The truth to “feeling fake” is that YOU ARE deserving of your achievements! But imposter syndrome convinces you that luck – good timing – or unrepeatable, superhuman efforts – is responsible for your success rather than your own capabilities.
To silence this negative, critical thinking and amplify your confidence, use these positive psychology practices:
See yourself from the eyes of your Creator.
Life, Spirit, or God – whatever you choose to call your Creator – doesn’t judge you. Just like when you look at a pet you adore or a child you love unconditionally, all you feel is love. By seeing yourself through those inner eyes of love, you’ll begin to shift your confidence in major ways!
Write and say aloud daily affirmations.
The purpose of affirmations is to remind your inner critic about the truth of who you are. I invite you to be specific and detailed by asking yourself “What would I say to someone I love if they said something negative or self-defeating about themselves?” In the same way you would protect someone you love from negative self-talk, doubt, and verbal abuse, do the same for yourself and shift to a more optimistic outlook on life.
Keep a daily self-gratitude journaling habit.
This is an easy and effective tool that you can start anywhere, anytime: Write one thing you appreciate about yourself each day and add why. Remember that whenever you’re about to do something that poses a risk – like going out on a date or changing careers – our comfort zone will seek a failure story to save us from failure. Having a journal full of gratitude and accomplishments builds evidence to back up your affirmations and guides you away from the fear of failure.
Keep in mind that a part of you may feel fear, but there’s also a part of you that’s always available: your confident, all-knowing self. Sometimes it takes a mental “pause” to remind yourself to tap into that confidence. It’s my hope that these practices will help you strengthen that connection with yourself, just like it did with me!
Empower Yourself with Skillful Pauses and Success Stories
When I just started my career as a speaker, I constantly judged myself and never felt good enough.
Although I was still learning this skill of speaking in front of a camera and on stage, I compared myself to professional speakers with decades of experience. At one point I had to realize that it wasn’t fair to compare myself to that level of speaker.
“I just have to bring my best to this moment,” I remember telling myself. “If I show up as myself, I know that all will be well.”
Even with this positive mindset, there were times when I failed on stage. Sometimes, the memory of those old, past failures would visit me just before getting on to the next one.
The moment my inner critic spotted the opportunity to bring up a failure story, I had to press the pause button and remind myself that “If I go down that path and think about all my failures, I am not going to be prepared to step on that stage as my empowered, confident self!”
I then took that opportunity to reflect on a time when I was successful. The success story that came to mind was when I created a dance routine in the 9th grade that won the talent show – on my birthday!!
When I thought back to that moment, I was able to reconnect with that success and separate myself from my inner critic. As a result, I grew more comfortable on stage and opened myself up to so many other opportunities to speak.
Progress, not perfection, is ultimately what led me to greater confidence! As you grow in your own competence, remember to embrace the skillful pause and turn to stories of success to overcome your inner critic and keep imposter syndrome at bay!
#3 – Match your Psychology with your Physiology
While you develop positive psychology and learn to embrace a growth mindset, allow your body to heal along the way too!
One of the most essential but often overlooked ways to overcome your inner critic is by paying attention to your physicality.
For example, if you slouch, look down, and lower your voice, it dramatically impacts the confidence you communicate through your body. On the flip side, if you stand up tall, allow your chest to rise, and project your voice, you present yourself with more empowerment and ultimately – more confidence!
This works because when you use your body, your physicality communicates on a non-verbal level.
So regardless of how you feel inside, if you move your physiology, it will shift your psychology!
Using Conscious Dance to Connect with A More Confident “You”!
Within each and every one of us is a deep well of confidence that is always available to tap into no matter your age, size, or physical ability.
For over 20 years, I’ve had the privilege, gift, and joy to help people tap into their innate body wisdom and learn to use their physical bodies as a conduit to connect with their soul.
I’ve distilled all I’ve learned in the past two decades into my own conscious dance modality, TranscenDance™, which has impacted the lives of thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds worldwide. It infuses mindfulness with:
- Guided breathing
- Relaxation and Stretching
- Free-Form Conscious Dance
- Energy Healing
- Embodiment Coaching
- Life Empowerment
These are all practices to help you overcome your inner critic so rather than living just in your head, you thrive at the interaction where your mind, body and spirit unite.
As you become more conscious about your movement, you’ll deepen your mind-body-spirit connection and come into your own. Use it to fully tap into the kind of inner confidence that flows from the soul!
#4 – Introduce New Friends Into Your Circle of Influence
As you begin to implement these steps, remember to invite others on your journey. In fact, I’ll be the first to encourage you to replace your overprotective, paranoid friend and ex-bully (your inner critic) with a sisterhood or brotherhood of like-minded individuals who see the best in you at all times.
Your new circle of influence should help you stay on track as you install these empowering beliefs and support you in your transformation.
If you’re looking for an accountability partner that will help you uncover your blind spots, repattern limiting beliefs, and create permanent change, consider investing in a life coach!
At the end of the day, your community is meant to create an environment conducive to your success! You’ll learn so much from sharing those secrets of success, stories of inspiration, and getting up close and personal to how others overcame their inner critic.
From Living with your Inner Critic to Living Your Purpose
On your journey to healing your inner critic, remember to stay close to your “why”:
Free to live your purpose with vibrancy and unstoppable confidence! To finally transcend the cycle of “two steps forward, one step back” and permanently unleash yourself from your comfort zone.
Making the transition into a life without your inner critic is entirely possible and READY for you!
I’d love to leave you with this amazing story from Kimberly – a vibrant, healthy, radiant woman I had the privilege of coaching!
“I completely repatterned a very heavy habit of self-criticism, which has been running since childhood. This has led to deeper feelings of self-love and acceptance, freedom, expansion, and abundance as I move through life…I am so grateful to have had this opportunity to work with Jennifer and to have had such massive growth in her programs.”
Now it’s your turn…
When you’re ready to start your own journey into a life of confidence and freedom, grab my Confidence Kit.
In a few minutes per day, you’ll be guided to:
- Repattern disempowering thoughts and habits.
- Release feelings of unworthiness and deepen unconditional self love.
- Speak your truth more boldly, love yourself more fully and express your gifts more freely in the world!
This will help you overcome your inner critic and to begin the process of repatterning disempowering thoughts, release feelings of unworthiness, deepen unconditional self love, and boost your confidence from the inside-out!
Until next time,
Jennifer Joy Jiménez