How to Silence Your Inner Critic

Recap of: “Silence Your Inner Critic” by Jena Pincott, Psychology Today, April 2019

We all hear voices in our heads – or at least one.

How do you talk to yourself when you’ve made a mistake? What goes through your mind when you’re trying something new or risky?

Your Inner Critic…

  • tells you you’re not good enough, insincere, stupid.
  • rises up when you feel insecure or you’ve made a mistake.

“Your Inner Critic attacks and undermines you to protect you from the shame of failure.”  

Jena Pincott
Example - You're interviewing for a new job.  
INNER CRITIC

You idiot!  You totally botched that answer.
They're going to see how unprofessional you really are.  

Your inner critic is designed to protect you, but all too often it keeps you from trying new things or doing your best.

Solution: respond with a Growth-Oriented Voice

“A Growth-Oriented Voice could respond with self-compassion and forgiveness for a mistake, followed by encouragement: ‘What can you learn from this?’”

Jena Pincott

The Growth-Oriented Voice

  • must be cultivated on purpose
  • responds to inner critic with balancing comments
  • sounds like a supportive friend or comforting parent
Back to the job interview -  
INNER CRITIC
You idiot!  You totally botched that answer.
GROWTH-ORIENTED VOICE
Okay that wasn't so smooth, but it's the content
of your answers that matters the most.  Stay focused and you'll do fine. 

How to cultivate a Growth-Oriented Voice: (the article gave a whole bunch of suggestions, but this was my favorite)

  1. Recognize a time when your inner critic is beating you up inside
  2. Imagine yourself as a compassionate observer of you in this situation – maybe a (good) parent who sees their child suffering
  3. What would you – the good parent – say to yourself – the suffering child?
After the job interview, you're still beating yourself up - 
INNER CRITIC
I totally screwed that up!  I'll never get a job if I can't make it through
an interview without stumbling all over my words.  I looked so stupid.  
GROWTH-ORIENTED VOICE
The important thing is that you did your best.  Even if you don't get this job,
the experience will help you next time.  But who knows?  Maybe the interviewer
could see past your mistakes and heard the smart answers you gave.  

What does your Inner Critic say to you when you’re feeling insecure or when you’ve made a mistake? How can you respond with a Growth-Oriented Voice?

I’d love to hear your own examples in the comments!