How to get Rid of your Critical Inner Voice
The critical inner voice is “a well-integrated pattern of destructive thoughts toward ourselves and others.” These thoughts are often accompanied by feelings (body sensations) that further reinforce negative beliefs about ourselves and the world around us. It is often experienced as an internal enemy affecting every part of our lives. Examples of a critical inner voice include repeating thoughts like “You’re stupid,” or “You’ll never be successful” or “I could have done better.” It is important that you turn your inner critic into an inner voice of strong, empowering and supportive thoughts. Doing this will help you feel better on a daily basis, and help shape a more positive life.
Where does it stem from?
Critical inner voices often stem from early life experiences, like childhood trauma, or living in a volatile or neglectful home. Dr. Lisa Firestone explains that “While the negative inner voice can be affected and sometimes worsened by current day life experiences such as significant trauma or abusive relationships, it does not develop suddenly in adults; it’s based on implicit memories of trauma experienced in childhood.” Children are perceptive to the attitudes of their primary caregivers' feelings toward them as well as the feelings their primary caregivers have toward themselves. Because of this, those negative beliefs can be passed down. Children can also be influenced by their siblings and peers around them.
Reframing the Voice
The first step of reframing your critical inner voice is to be conscious of what it is telling you. You must start with identifying and becoming aware of your negative thoughts and beliefs. Then, ask yourself questions to help you get a better understanding of how to cope with that thought. Ask yourself “Is this thought 100% accurate?”, “is this thought helpful?” “what are the chances this thought will come true?, “what will I think of this in a week?”. The last step is to reframe your negative thought into a positive one. Try to come up with a “redemptive narrative” where you are able to bring something positive to the table. For example, instead of asking yourself “why is this happening to me?” try to ask yourself “what can I learn from this?” Notice how this reframing changes the feelings you have in your body.
Getting Rid of it for Good
Reframing negative thinking patterns takes practice and practice. It won’t happen overnight. The biggest thing you can do to take control back over your negative thoughts is to start being aware of them. Switch your thinking from an inner critic to an inner voice. An inner voice can be supportive and encouraging (like an inner coach or cheerleader). It can move you forward by encouraging you to learn and grow, try new things, and practice self-love. If you want help overcoming your negative thoughts, Wise Mind Therapy provides a safe space to help you become the best version of yourself. Click here to contact us and schedule your first appointment today.