How do you deal with negative thoughts?
Or more importantly, do you deal with them at all?
Often, we think that our inner critic is just a fact of life, and we have no choice but to listen to it.
But what happens when that negative voice is so loud, all your positive thoughts start to sound small and distant?
Each one of us has been an audience to the voice of the inner critic. This “bully voice” arises from our memories, beliefs, and life experiences.
The problem is that these thoughts can prevent us from showing up as our highest selves and giving our gifts to the world.
But the truth is, when the inner critic attacks, you don’t have to surrender to the negative self-talk!
There is a power inside of you that is far more powerful than any of those failure stories, insecurities, or fears.
So today we’re going to tap into that power by learning where the voice of the inner critic comes from and learning three powerful tools to unleash unshakable self-confidence!
If you’d love to learn how to silence your critic for good, let’s get started!
What is the Inner Critic Voice?
The inner critic is an internal programming that begins very early on in life. Oftentimes how we view ourselves or how we speak to ourselves is simply a playback loop.
What do I mean by this?
When I first work with clients, I ask them to write down what the voice of the inner critic is saying to them.
And then I ask, “Does this sound like anyone you know or anyone you grew up with, or anyone of your teachers or coaches, or caregivers that you had in your childhood or teenage years?”
All too often their negative self-talk can be traced back to an overly critical caregiver, parent, or authority figure. Sometimes it even gets tied back to sports coaches, or gymnastics, dance, or ice skating!
That’s because there’s quite a bit of body abuse and/or negative body image that gets installed by coaches, parents, teachers, society, magazines that we read, and even the commercials that we watch.
And as you’re growing up, your mind is like a sponge. It just receives. It can’t edit.
What are some Examples of the Inner Critic?
Some of the best examples I can give you are from my own life story dealing with the voice of the inner critic.
Prior to becoming a transformational coach and difference maker, I accomplished my very first dream of becoming a professional dancer.
Now, as you can imagine as a professional dancer, the dance world is filled with “constantly looking at yourself in the mirror” and criticizing/critiquing your form.
I would have called myself a body abuser back then in my early 20’s (I’m 46 at the time of writing this).
I was highly critical of my body to say the least.
A lot of negative thoughts played on a loop in my mind: constantly tearing myself down, I never felt thin enough, and I never felt good enough.
I worked tirelessly, starved my body, and whipped myself into shape.
Trying to fit into the dance world’s vision of what a professional dancer looks like, I did everything I could to manipulate my natural body into what I thought they wanted.
Back then, I had some deeply set limiting beliefs.
So I’m going to share what those limiting beliefs were and their negative effects on my life.
From there, we’ll talk about the three things I did to quiet the voice of the inner critic and skyrocket my confidence and divine radiance! And you can implement these same tools to create the confidence you desire as well.
Voice of the Inner Critic Example 1
“No pain, no gain.”
I grew up in the early 2000s when aerobics and fitness DVDs were really popular.
I was inspired by toned bodies, and slim physics, but during these years you did not see body diversity presented, respected, nor supported. The core messaging I learned from these fitness DVD’s and at the gym was:
Burn off that fat and get those buns of steel!
If I wasn’t working my butt off or working my tail off, I didn’t feel like I did enough.
It was very much an all work and no rest, no pain and no gain mentality.
I was constantly telling myself not to feel tired and to push through the pain, and that rest is for the weak. Those kinds of thoughts were going through my mind on a daily basis.
Voice of the Inner Critic Example 2
“I need to mold and whip myself into shape!”
Back then, I believed that the natural curviness and voluptuousness of my body was not acceptable.
I would often hear, “Aren’t dancers thin?” and, “Only thin people can wear those types of clothes.”
When I looked at myself in the mirror, I would have thoughts like, “You’re too fat. You need to lose weight.”
The interesting thing is, when I looked back at those pictures, I was actually quite lean and very beautiful, but I never felt that way.
But the messages I was receiving became my self-critical thoughts and had control over my identity and self-image.
As a result, I found myself:
- Allowing the number on the scale to determine whether I had a good or bad day.
- Resisting and suppressing my body’s messages to rest.
- Pushing through and not listening to my body’s inner wisdom..
- Judging my self worth by the wordly standard of attractiveness.
I listened to the critical voice dialogue like a broken record. Those negative feelings fueled me to work hard to the brink of brokenness.
Voice of the Inner Critic Example 3
“I am not enough.”
I felt like I wasn’t enough and later learned that “how we do anything, is actually how we do everything.”
My husband and I were married for a few years already when I was in my early 20s. I met my husband very young and after a few years in the professional dance world, I got pregnant with my beautiful first child.
Now, remember, I had a very abusive relationship with my body at this time.
I was at the peak of my physical fitness. At that point, I felt like this beautiful professional dancer and the facade was that I had a great relationship with my body.
But at the time, I didn’t know what I didn’t know.
As a result, my birth was not the kind of all natural, easy, birth that I wanted it to be because I was in resistance to my body.
I tried to control everything and had so much fear around food and fitness in my body that all the stress and fear built up into a 50-hour labor!
It was definitely a traumatic labor and not the kind of healthy, all-natural labor that I wanted. So that created a lot of confusion for me.
I felt like a failure as a result of this birth. And the powerful thing is oftentimes our failures turn into the doorways to our greatest successes.
Or some people might say “our mess becomes our message.”
How I Finally Transformed My Inner Critic Into Unshakable Confidence.
Now I didn’t know it yet, but that 50-hour labor was the doorway that opened up a whole new world for me, a world where in order to uncover what had gone wrong, I instinctively knew it wasn’t an answer I was going to find outside of myself. What was required was diving deep within myself.
This led me on a quest within, and I began to discover and learn everything I could find on the mind-body-spirit connection.
My studies and research led me to a new way of movement through conscious dance.
I worked with mentors, completed certifications, and found every opportunity to nurture my passion and skill sets.
I became aware of how abusive my relationship with my body had become and how powerful my inner critic was at beating me up all the time. Eventually, I connected it back to the professional dance and fitness world, where I learned to look outside of myself for approval and validation.
But in the healing arts and conscious dance, you connect with your inner wisdom and higher power for guidance. You feel fully connected and empowered in your mind, body and spirit, and with your higher power to guide you as you live, dance, and literally move through life.
[h4] My journey to becoming the confident and empowered woman I am today started with this modality.
As a result of my studies, working with world-class mentors and personal experiences, I learned to fall in love with my body and myself, healed old wounds, and bridged deep divides through personal development and conscious dance. I silenced my judgmental inner critic and released overflowing confidence and divine radiance!
I now feel more energized, radiant, and healthy in my own body temple than ever before!
The Result of Silencing my Inner Critic
Over the years, I felt called to make a difference; to help women all over the world to heal and feel confident and empowered through personal development and conscious dance. So, I began to teach conscious dance as a healing and transformative modality.
I began to create more programs, services, and retreats to help other women who were suffering like me from low self-esteem, and who want to live their purpose, and unlock and unleash their unique gifts in the world, and claim their full power.
I am so happy and grateful that I am living on purpose and have successfully merged my love for health & wellbeing, conscious dance and personal development.
And after many, many years of mind-body-spirit training, practicing conscious dance, and rewiring my inner critic to be more of an inner cheerleader, I now have new empowering beliefs which include:
I believe I am a living, breathing expression of divine spirit and my body is a sacred temple.
I believe that pleasure, movement, fitness, and wellbeing is everyone’s natural birthright! And that by listening to your body’s inner wisdom and nourishing your body, you will create optimal wellbeing.
Because as you love and trust your body, it will maintain a healthy size and shape.
Above all, know this:
Your body is the perfect vehicle to bring forth your life’s purpose and mission.
And at this very moment, you can begin to pull those weeds and plant new seeds of beautiful thoughts and beliefs about your body, yourself, and your beauty.
So how can you go from body abuser to body lover? Let’s get into your 3 confidence tools!
Brave Thinking Tools to Silence Your Inner Critic
1. Recognize and Hear When the Inner Critic is Speaking
The first tool is “noticing what you’re noticing.”
What I mean by that is to pay attention to your thoughts instead of letting them run in the back of your mind without question.
Eventually, you’ll come to recognize that the voice of the inner critic isn’t coming from the truth of your being or your higher self.
It comes from years of programming by your life experiences.
For example, maybe you received messages of “being too skinny” or “unable to focus/too hyperactive” growing up.
These are not truths about your being. They have just been recorded into your subconscious and played on a loop for so long that they’ve become background noise.
Once I started to notice my negative thoughts in the area of self-image, body image and self-confidence, I realized that I was speaking to myself in ways that I would never allow anyone to speak to my best friend let alone my daughter or someone I deeply love.
Through the simple act of “noticing what we’re noticing”, we can begin to ask ourselves, “If I was my own best friend, how would I speak to myself? How would I encourage myself? Or .. How would I pump myself up? How would I help myself grow if I want to improve?”
So set yourself up for your success by noticing when your inner critic attacks instead of letting it fade into the background as fact.
2. Interrupt the Voice of the Inner Critic and Install Love & Confidence
Tool two is to interrupt the voice of the inner critic with a loving voice, like the voice of a best friend.
You can start by looking at yourself in the “eyes of your creator.”
What I mean by that is that our creator – call it life, source, God, etc. – doesn’t judge us.
There’s no comparison. You’re designed perfectly as you are.
For example, when you look at a baby you love unconditionally or a pet you absolutely adore, all you feel is love!
I invite you to shift your eyes to see not only from the outer eyes, but from the inner eyes of love.
You have been given the perfect vehicle to live the life that you’re meant to live.
So I encourage you to shift your language to the compassion and grace you would use to speak to your own children and others that you love.
For example, let’s say you’re about to take a risk like going out on a date, starting a new fitness routine, or speaking on stage.
Your inner critic uses the “bully voice” to remind you of the failures you’ve had in the past. This is an attempt to save you from the possibility of failure.
But when you notice the bully voice, immediately press the pause button.
Instead of listening to the negative, interrupt that train of thought by bringing up a successful moment.
For me, one of the many life moments I go back to is when I won my ninth grade talent show – on my birthday! This was such a HUGE win and I am always filled with pride and celebration when I think of it.
Your success story can be from any point in life and it doesn’t have to be in the same category as the action you’re about to take.
In short, by installing a more positive voice, you’ll shift your thinking pattern and feel more confident about yourself!
3. Use Positive, Empowering Affirmations
Let’s dive deeper into how you can unleash greater confidence through the language you use.
Here at the Brave Thinking Institute, we encourage people to use brave thinking and language over common hour thinking.
Common hour thinking is the default language of fear, uncertainty, and doubt. We usually shift into this language when we’re about to do something new, a.k.a., stepping outside your comfort zone:
“You’ll never be good enough.”
“What will people think of me?”
“Just wait until tomorrow.”
On the other hand, brave thinking language uses positive, empowering affirmations and words of loving kindness.
“I am glowing with total unconditional love for my body & my whole self!”
“I celebrate this body. It is the best body I could have chosen for my learning experience here on earth.”
“I easily express my unique gifts, talents, and creative energy to uplift and improve my life, my health, and the world around me.”
“Each day in every way I get better, healthier, more youthful, alive, and full of wonder.”
With practice, you’ll replace your inner critic with an empowering growth-oriented voice!
Healing and Releasing the Voice of the Inner Critic
The voice of your inner critic is similar to a bully: they project insecurities, fear, and hurt in an outward, physical way.
For instance, putting off action through dissuasion, distraction, and delay is the physical manifestation of those negative thought patterns.
But the truth is that the power inside you is capable of healing and releasing the bully voice so you can offer your gifts to the world as your highest self!
Now, if you would love more support in overwriting your critical inner critic and installing unshakable self-confidence, I have a free gift for you. It’s called the Confidence Kit.
This eBook and guided meditation will help you feel more confident, beautiful, and loved in your own skin from the inside out. You’ll discover how to energize your body, increase your fun, and rejuvenate your soul so that you can speak your truth and express yourself freely in the world.
I look forward to supporting you on your journey of self-confidence and creating vibrant health and wellbeing, as well as living a life you absolutely love!
To the bold – confident you,
Jennifer Joy Jiménez