Are you keen to conquer your critical inner voice for good?
If so, today’s blog post is for you as I talk about how you can stop negative thoughts running the show in your mind.
1) What is a critical inner voice?
If you’re reading this and are not sure if you do have a critical inner voice.
And are potentially questioning how often you need to think negatively to classify as having a critical inner voice.
Let’s first run through what a critical inner voice looks like so you can know what you’re trying to stop.
- Insecurities about yourself (i.e. not good enough, smart enough, loud enough)
- Putting yourself down (I’m so stupid) or others down
- Berating yourself when you make a mistake (why did I do that?)
- Assumptions (assuming the worst in other people and putting onto others your interpretation of what they are saying rather than what they’re actually communicating)
- Generalizing (saying you always/never do this or you always/never do that)
- Constantly finding what’s wrong with something rather than what’s right with something (e.g what you did wrong rather than what you did right)
- Finding and focusing on only the faults of others
- Over-thinking situations
- Complaining and moaning about the situations in your life
- Regrets about the past and what you could have, should have done
- Judgements you make of others (i.e. how they appear, what they said, didn’t say)
- Criticising yourself and others for what they are and aren’t doing
- Comparisons you make between yourself and other people
- Indecision – going back and forth in your head about progressing with something or not
- All you don’t have and want
- Blaming others for the person you are today, how you feel, how you react and how your life has turned out
If you resonate with frequently having one or more of these, it’s safe to say you have a critical inner voice.
2) Where your critical inner voice comes from
To be able to stop negative thoughts, you also need to know where they came from.
Since it’s this understanding, which will allow you to have the self-compassion needed to be able to take the necessary steps to stop your negative thoughts.
You weren’t born with negative thoughts, no baby is.
You are happy, joyous, smiley and peaceful when you are born.
But then you go through life and your family treat you a certain way.
They might criticise, judge, shame, distrust, jump to the worst conclusions, humiliate and blame you.
Since they too frequently think negative thoughts.
Therefore, leaving you feeling angry and resentful at them as they squash your voice (a.k.a. your personal power).
Read more about personal power here.
So their negative thinking traits become your negative thinking traits and the emotions you’re feeling get stuck in your body.
Therefore, creating a negative feedback loop where you feel resentment and anger, which reinforces your critical inner voice and vice versa.
You then bring this way of thinking, feeling and being into the outside world with you.
Treating other people the same way you were treated.
So please don’t be ashamed with noticing you frequently think negative thoughts.
And most importantly, don’t blame your family. You have the power to change how you think and feel today as an adult.
You might not have when you were a child but you do now.
So it’s about figuring out how to put your personal power into use today.
(Something I’ll be coming onto a bit later on).
So be proud instead because the first step to overcoming anything is awareness and understanding.
The belief ‘there’s something wrong with you’
It’s also really easy to slip into the belief ‘there’s something wrong with you’ when resonating with having negative thoughts.
Since it’s likely you already have this belief ingrained within you as it shows up in other areas of your life.
However, this belief isn’t true and it’s about challenging this belief to what is true.
That is, you are whole and complete as you are.
So when the belief arises, feel where the feeling arises in your body and reaffirm to yourself ‘I am whole and complete as I am’.
And really feel what it would be like to feel whole and complete.
Once likely will not be enough, you need to keep paying attention to this belief arising so can keep putting the steps into practice.
Also, check out my blog post on How (and why) to change the way you see yourself.
Since there is absolutely nothing wrong with you for thinking negative thoughts.
The only thing wrong with negative thinking is how it makes you feel: rubbish, which is the key here.
And it is for this reason why you want to stop your negative thoughts.
Not because of what other people think about people who think negatively.
3) The impact of your critical inner voice
At the minute, since your familiar with thinking negatively, you probably can’t see the impact your critical inner voice is having on you and your life.
You might be able to see it from the results you’ve created in your life so far but not necessarily feel it or even care since sitting behind it, is most likely self-hatred.
And since you can’t physically see thoughts, it’s easy to dismiss certain thoughts as unimportant.
As not having a negative impact on your life.
When the reality is they have a massive impact on the quality of your life as they stop you from taking action to make life better.
And move you away from gratitude and connection, which are founded on love, happiness, peace, and joy (our true nature as human beings).
So let’s also run through what the impact of your critical inner voice is.
Negative thoughts constantly swirling around your head cloud your mind.
Therefore, also clouding your ability to make minor day to day decisions, in the moment.
This is because your mind is constantly thinking about reasons for why you ‘should’ not do something.
Reasons for why something may or may not work or be needed.
Instead of the reasons to do something.
So in other words, your negative thoughts always put into place a barrier so you don’t take action on what will help you to progress your life.
As a result, you’re constantly doubting your decisions.
You might also not listen to what is being fully communicated by another because your mind is so focused on your negative thoughts.
Before the other person even speaks.
Therefore, you’re likely to take longer to accomplish a task.
Or you might even trust the opinions of others more so than your own inner voice.
Therefore, going along with their suggestions only to realise you were best off listening to yourself.
So to put a face to negative thoughts and the impact these really have on your day to day life imagine this:
Having to hold your breath underwater for 10 minutes (David Blaine style) and only after 10 minutes being able to breathe again.
So except water being the potential cause of your own drowning.
Your thoughts are.
This might sound extreme but it really is how strong frequent negative thinking feels.
Since it’s not the negative thoughts alone, which contribute to this, it’s how they make you feel (i.e. fear, guilt embarrassment and shame).
However, you’ll only realise this when you come out of the other side, when you’re negative thoughts quieten.
4) What your critical inner voice needs
Part of the reason your negative thoughts are loud is your true authentic inner voice (a.k.a inner child) has been and is still being neglected.
So it needs:
- to be heard, seen and understood
- kindness; and most of all
All of which, you most likely didn’t get when you were a child by your parents.
However, just because you didn’t get them then doesn’t mean you can’t find a way to get them now.
Something I will also be discussing a little bit later on in my blog post.
5) The body and your critical inner voice
Another part of the reason your critical inner voice is loud is, you’re disconnected from your body.
More of which, I discuss in my blog post Unhappy with life? 4 reasons why and how Psychotherapy can help.
So you get caught up in your negative thoughts.
However, if you were to move down into your body, into the feeling, you would be able to move away from the negative thoughts.
For example, identifying where it’s located in the body and really feeling the sensation in your body.
And staying with the feeling for as long as you need too.
And every time you start thinking you practise moving back into the body.
6) How to conquer your critical inner voice
Above I’ve given you one tip about how to stop thinking negatively (i.e. practising moving down into your body and feeling).
However, this alone will not work as there likely are other factors at play, such as, those I mentioned earlier:
- Feeling a lack of personal power; and
- Not having been given love, understanding, kindness, patience, respect and attention when you were younger.
And so often it requires multiple tools and techniques, such as those I discuss in my blog posts:
- 3 powerful tools and practices that transformed my life; and
- How Psychotherapy can support you to relieve your stress
To establish new practices (i.e. habits and behaviours) within you.
Tools and techniques, which you’ll only gain from seeing a Counselling Psychologist as you apply them directly to the situations you are facing in your life.
Since everyone’s experiences are different.
So it is here, within your Counselling Psychologist sessions, where you’ll get what your inner voice needs and what it didn’t get when you were a child.
To further make my case, E.B. Johnson, NLP-MP has a great article called Growing up Critical: How to recover from an overly critical childhood.
Since what she suggests to reclaiming your adulthood is necessary, but it isn’t necessarily easy to do alone.
So often requires the support of someone else like a Counselling Psychologist/Psychotherapist.
To be clear, it’s not to say you’ll never have negative thoughts and feelings by embarking on a therapeutic journey.
However, they will significantly reduce and you’ll get better at noticing, stopping and changing them when they arise.
Since you’ll get better at finding solutions to your struggles.
7) Managing your expectations
I’m nearly at the end of my blog post.
But, before you go I want to impart a final piece of wisdom (I hope).
Our expectations (i.e. our beliefs) determine the quality of our results.
So if we expect something to work it will work.
And if we expect the opposite to happen this will happen too.
In other words, they become self-fulfilling prophecies.
So the key in any situation, including Psychotherapy is to be open and not expect anything.
Just turn up each week with one intention:
‘To communicate the challenges you have faced in any given week and (if any) the realisations you have had’
So don’t expect it to take one day, two days, three days etc. because it’s not called brain training for nothing.
It takes much longer than this and it takes repetition, after repetition, after repetition just like it would losing weight by going to the gym.
Because the mind finds it easy to find and remain on the negative rather the positive thoughts.
It’s its speciality.
However, this is especially true of someone with a critical inner voice.
If you’re ready to see a Counselling Psychologist to finally put your negative thoughts at bay and are based in the UK, book an appointment with your GP at your local GP centre.
Once there, ask your GP to print you out a list of practices in your area so you can begin your brain training today and do not waste your time or money on things, which don’t work.
In summary, to conquer your critical inner voice and stop your negative thoughts see a Counselling Psychologist/Psychotherapist.
The reason for this being, a Counselling Psychologist/Psychotherapist can give you all the things you didn’t get when you were a child.
And so, most likely don’t give yourself today either.
Now over to you, if you have any questions, leave me a comment in the comment section below so I can help you out further.