7 Ways to Silence Your Inner-Critic & Start Living Unapologetically
“YOU’RE FAT. YOU’RE NOT CREATIVE. YOU CAN’T START A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS.”
These statements used to be on repeat in my head quite often, and the crazy thing is that I didn’t even realize it. After experiencing deep heartbreak and developing early signs of anxiety and an eating disorder, my inner-critic was spewing out harsh accusations and jabs so often that I became somewhat numb to them. I had become BFF’s with my inner-critic, and my thought-life and actions were truly showing it.
Instead of simply acknowledging my inner-critic, I began to listen to it. I started taking advice from it, and it led me towards an even deeper pit of self-doubt, insecurity, and sadness. Rather than having moments of feeling fat, uncreative, and unsuccessful, I started to take on these words as a part of my identity. I didn’t just have down moments where I felt these things; I started to live from a place of believing that these things were my truth - my identity - my reality.
But the moment I REALIZED that this was NOT my truth, something shifted.
After living from this place of deep insecurity for so long, I made the decision to rethink my feelings, beliefs, and ultimately my reality. I had one of those big “AH-HAH” moments where I realized what I had been doing. I had been self-sabotaging! The truth is that our internal beliefs truly do create our external reality. And by me constantly thinking and feeling fat, uncreative, and unsuccessful, that had become my reality - AKA that’s what I saw when I looked in the mirror. That’s what I noticed when I saw a picture of myself. That’s what I felt when someone said my name.
But the good news is this: YOU CAN STOP LISTENING TO YOUR INNER-CRITIC AT ANY MOMENT. You can choose to stop taking advice from that voice and start creating the reality that you truly want: one where you can show up fully, freely, and unapologetically as yourself. After being on this journey for quite some time now, I’ve learned so much about that voice and how to stop letting it run my life. I’m going to share some of my top tips with you now.
7 Ways to Silence Your Inner-Critic & Start Living Unapologetically:
1| Become AWARE of your inner-critic. Notice it in your thought life.
The first step to overcoming anything is noticing it. This was particularly true in my own journey. It wasn’t until I became aware of my inner-critic that I started letting go of the demeaning beliefs and showing up fully as myself. Analyze your thought life. Is it mostly negative or positive? Become aware of your thoughts throughout the day. Do you notice yourself constantly beating yourself up? Or do you constantly find yourself awing at your beauty - body, mind, and soul? Really get intentional and notice your thought-life.
Journaling Prompt: What is the nature of your thought-life? Is it mostly positive or negative?
2| Stop that voice in its tracks. Don’t entertain the negative energy once you’ve noticed its presence.
Often, when those negative thoughts and energy show up, it can spiral out of control very quickly. For example, if I’m feeling ugly, I can allow that feeling to propel me to deep insecurity, anxiety, self-doubt, and feel like a TOTAL failure. This is why it is SO important to stop the negative self-talk in its tracks. Notice that it is present. You get to choose what happens next. (More on that below).
Journaling Prompt: How do you want to respond the next time you notice your inner-critic showing up in your thought life? Create a plan of action.
3| Notice your inner-critic and give it space to be present. But gently express that it does not have permission to run the show.
One of the worst things I tried to do in my journey was suppress, ignore, hide, and completely eliminate my inner-critic. The truth is that we are going to have bad days, and we are going to have feelings of doubt and insecurity. One of the worst things we can say to those feelings is “I don’t see you. I don’t understand you. And you are not welcome here.” Instead, we need to say “I see you, and you are allowed to have space here, but you don’t get to run the show. I will take it from here.” Be understanding of those feelings, but be sure that YOU are the one who’s taking the steering wheel.
Journaling Prompt: Write a little note to your inner-critic. Be gentle and kind but also firm.
4| Ask yourself this question: “Is this my truth? Is this a reasonable thought? Is this giving me life or draining me?”
Now, it’s time to evaluate if this feeling is ultimately your truth. This step is particularly helpful for those times when you have given into that inner-critic and gone down the never ending spiral of self-doubt, blame, and insecurity. Evaluate what you’re feeling, and ask yourself if it feels true to you. For example, I know that my truth is NOT that I’m fat, uncreative, and unsuccessful. My truth is that I am beautiful, creative, and greatly successful. The beautiful thing is that we get to decide what we claim as our truth.
Journaling Prompt: What is your truth? Who are you, really?
5| Bring yourself back to reality - the present moment - to the TRUTH.
It’s easy to get lost in those negative thoughts as they spiral downward. Instead, find a practice that brings you back to the present moment - to the reality that you are worthy and amazing. Here’s one of my favorite, quick, 5-minute processes:
Go to a quite place, without distraction. Ditch your phone. Be sure you are alone.
Get comfy. Sit down, perhaps on the ground in criss-cross applesauce position. Sink into the floor. Cozy up.
Close your eyes, breathe in deep, and clear your mind.
Place your hand on your chest and feel your rib cage rise and fall. Feel your body serving you, giving breath to your lungs, and holding your beating heart.
Sit in this position, admiring your breath and marveling at your worth for just a few minutes.
6| Create a list of your truths (some positive affirmations) and proclaim those out loud. Bring yourself back to who you really are.
Never underestimate the power of positive affirmations. They truly have, and still do, change my life. Create a list of positive affirmations that ring true for you. Stash them in your journal and proclaim them out loud when you’re feeling low. One of my favorites on my list is this: “My worth is proven evident by the breath in my lungs & the beating heart in my chest. I don’t have to fight for it.”
Journaling Prompt: What positive affirmation rings true for you? Which one are you going to use the next time you’re feeling low?
7| *Find a friend for feedback. Not sure if what you’re feeling is true or complete hogwash? Run it by a trusted friend. Hash it out.
Lastly, if you’re really struggling with a doubt or a deep insecurity, go to a friend. Hash it out, have a heart-to-heart (maybe even over coffee), and ask for their feedback. Let your friend speak some life into that beautiful, radiant heart of yours.
Are you ready to let go of the self-doubt and insecurity and step into confidence and courage? Download ‘The Self-Love Revolution’ cheatsheet full of strategies that will help you kick-start your self-love journey TODAY!
Ashton is the founder of The Authentic Woman, a platform that empowers women to live authentically as themselves. She firmly believes that women have the power to shift culture, eradicate unjust standards and ultimately change the world. When she's not working with her husband, she is most likely sipping on a cup of local coffee, swooning over pottery or adding to her succulent collection.
Connect with Ashton over on her Instagram!