Is your Inner Critic on Fire? Negative Self-Talk is Nonsense!

Did you know humans have between 12,000-70,000 thoughts a day? Wow! At times, I must be on the 70,000 range because my monkey mind bounced through what it seems like 500 thoughts in the car to work this morning alone. But less about me and more about you. Your thoughts, beliefs and self-talk shape your life and your reality. It’s true.

Now here are some famous quotes to mull over. “We become what we think” (Earl Nightingale)  “Where attention goes…energy flows” (James Redfield)  Sit on that for a minute. “We become what we think.” What are your thoughts? Are your thoughts positive or negative? Now let’s take that a step further.

What is Self Talk?

Self Talk is running inner dialogue that takes place in your mind.  It notices, corrects and redirects your thoughts in a certain direction. It can also be known as the “monkey mind”. Monkey mind is a Buddhist term meaning “restless”, “confused” or “indecisive”. Self talk can be mindless and automatic. Your unconscious mind is always on and listening but until you tune into it, you just don’t notice.

When Can Self-Talk Work?

Did you know that one of the biggest predictors of success is actually positive self talk? Positive self talk has numerous benefits including lower grades of depression and anxiety, stronger immunity, better psychological well-being, better coping skills when things are hard or stressful, higher relationship satisfaction, stronger connected relationships that have more longevity and even living longer. Self-Talk can be positive when you congratulate yourself and are proud of yourself for things you did well.  Positive Self-Talk accepts your vulnerabilities and incorporates the growth mindset. Your inner voice can also be a fantastic tool for problem solving 

What is Negative Self-Talk?

If self talk is what you say to and about yourself inside your head, then negative self-talk is the inner dialogue that makes you feel less than who you really are. It can be like having a “24 hour complainer” inside of you continuously running. Sometimes it screams at you. Sometimes it’s a whisper. It seems to always want to remind you that you are going to fail. 

Your inner critic is trying to protect you and keep you from harm.  It’s telling you, you’re not good enough and protects you from someone else talking to you that way first.  The Inner critic can also be from a place of shame which means when you don’t feel worthy and feel self-conscious.  The job of the inner critic is to shame us first so we don’t feel the sting from other people calling us out. 

Furthermore, the inner critic can also rear it’s ugly head in relationships. The inner critic and negative self talk leads you to become needy or insecure. You want others to “have your back” like your significant other or friends but in reality, you don’t have YOUR OWN back and you want them to prove they have your back because you don’t feel worthy.

According to Quinn Kelly, licensed Marriage and Family Therapist there are several types of negative thinking patterns that are not based on fact or reality. These patterns are Cognitive Distortions.

One type is called, Black and White Thinking or Polarized Thinking . This means that you think in absolutes and extremes without considering all of the possible facts. When you use words like “always, never”  “Why I can’t I ever…”, you are in the Black and White Thinking Zone. These words come up because they are driven by fear of failure  At times you may have a false sense of self and you beat yourself up day after day, over and over again. Small beliefs cause us to think inside a box.” (Paul Colaianni) For example, you may think that if you don’t make an A, you are a failure.  Instead remember that things don’t have to be perfect to still be good.  You can be a work in progress. Undoubtedly, you will begin to be a lot nicer to yourself and the voices in your head become much more peaceful and kind if your thinking is not polarized.

In addition, cognitive distortion is Mental Filtering. In this case you discount the positives. Mental filtering is only focusing on the negative of a situation and ignoring all the positives   If you focus on the negative, you begin to live in a negative world. When you focus on the positive, you begin to see more positive around you.

Personalization Thinking, my personal favorite, is the thinking that you are to blame for a situation even though you had little or nothing to do with it. If you are a mother, you may be personalizing challenges your children have. If your child is struggling in school or with friends, you believe it is solely your fault. Feeling responsible for other people’s happiness or feeling guilt about situations out of your circle of control, is Personalization Thinking. Stop and think, “Am I solely responsible for this situation?”

Finally, another Cognitive Distortion is Catastrophizing. In this type of thinking, you take one small scenario and blow it out of proportion.  You made a mistake at work, now you are going to lose your job. You say something unkind to someone, now you believe they don’t love you any longer and will leave you. You are fixated on the worst possible outcome and think the situation is much worse than it is. Your mind twists information into an imagined scenario.

Coach and speaker, Rob Dial He says, “How can you talk negative in your head AND STILL have the beautiful life you have always dreamed of

He continues, “It is impossible to plant strawberry seeds and think tomatoes are going to grow.” Which is the same as thinking you can plant negative seeds inside your head and expect somehow you are going to have a positive life.”  Most of the time the talk you are talking to yourself and about yourself isn’t even true.  The voice talking to you inside your head is your voice from the past. It may also be a combination of voices like your dad, a sibling, a coach, a teacher or even a stranger that said something to you that stuck. That voice is NOT you.

Patterns of negative self talk really start in childhood but we are not aware during that time period. There may have been times when you didn’t feel accepted by your parents, siblings or friends.  These feeling start the shame cycle – why are you being accepted?  I think I better change or I won’t be loved. Shame is destructive- it only comes for you- there is no room for improvement and separates you from others. Instead, rewording your inner dialogue can be helpful. For example you could say, “It’s not true that my husband never has my back, there have been many times when he… Another one, “I can never do anything right” Instead think, “I messed that up but sometimes I’m on and sometimes I’m off.  What can I do to be more “on” tomorrow?”  Finally, when partners or friends don’t show up in the way you think they should, you start feeling resentful and angry. – If you are running around feeling resentful and angry you most likely have a very negative inner critic

Ways to Silence Your Inner Critic and Change Your Negative Self-Talk

Action Steps to Break the Cycle of Negative Self-Talk

Here are some ways to quiet your inner critic and change your internal dialogue

  1. Boost self worth and self esteem will help avoid negative self talk  Be loving and kind to yourself.  Practice loving and kind meditation. Take a few minutes of quiet time in the morning for yourself 
  2. Say a positive affirmation – Having these words be your truth.  Example “I am strong. I am brilliant. I am beautiful. I am worthy. I love you” Validate yourself through your words. 
  3. Go check in with someone – trusted friends or family  Humans are wired for love and connection. Friends and family can keep you accountable, challenge you and speak truth into you
  4. Read a high vibrational book by Gabby Bernstein, Abraham Hicks, Eckard Tolle, or Paulo Coelho – just to name a few
  5. Create a space. Sometimes you have to create space through exercise, eating well, or taking a walk.  Reducing the heart rate can help. When you breathe out you are looking to fight or flight. The body needs energy for that. For energy you need oxygen. Which means you need to get the heart pumping. 
  6. Be selective to what you are exposing yourself to on a daily basis. Are you listening to shock jocks on your morning ride to work? Are you hanging out on social media reading all the negative comments? Are part of the gossip mean girl group?
  7. SOS Technique – Stop, Observe, Shift (your perspective) First stop and take a pause. Then ask yourself these questions in the OBSERVE stage – is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? Finally shift your perspective and thinking. (Vanessa Cutting – Wellnessa Podcast)
  8. Abra (Cadabra) Technique  –  which means “I create as I speak”  from Jim Kwik  A- Acknowledge and don’t resist. B-breathe which can promote feelings of calm and relaxation   R- release what you do not want (the hurt, the helplessness)  A- align to what your really want- use your imagination
  9. Self distance by responding from a detached perspective – Being a witness of your thoughts. Replace the word “I” with your pronoun or your name.  When you talk about it in the first person style, it is so easy to get caught up in the pain and panic. Instead when you are talking about yourself, try using your own name or your pronoun. Example why was Tricia so confident at school But now she feels like she can’t do the work at her job? Why does she think that all of her years of persevering and always being able to figure it out can not work now? In addition, you can kid with your inner critic and name like the diva making it as late and funny as possible. This is another way to distance yourself from to diminish it power.  You become more rational and get clarity when you separate yourself Because I’m thinking part of the brain is engaged. Detaching from thoughts and being an observer  I love what Brian Pennie said, “Think of your thoughts as clouds floating across the sky. Sometimes the clouds are puffy and joyous. And bright. You are not the clouds you are the blue sky. You observe the clouds coming and going. Try to take the observer view.   You’re still going to have uncomfortable feelings and sit with it. But you’re going to want to observe without engaging. Distanced Self Talk works because you are better at advising others than yourself. 
  10. You maybe have heard it suggested that you talk to yourself, like you’re talking to a best friend
  11. Replace negative self with positive self-talk or a mantra like “I know I did my best and it’s ok my best isn’t always perfect” (Dr Margaret Rutherford) The great news is the brain has Neural Plasticity which means you have the control and power to change it by what you think about because brains are flexible. Also using more accurate language can calm you down. The easiest ones are the “never ever” words. For example saying, “I never know what to say”. Use language like “it’s true, I have been having difficulty talking more in meetings but I do it really well at home. I’m going to have to figure out how to transform transfer those skills over”.  Another example is, “It’s not true that my husband never has my back, there has absolutely been times when he has been there for me”  Even if it’s just one time that doesn’t mean never. I can never do anything right can become I messed that up.  Sometimes I’m on and sometimes I’m off. What can I do to be more on later today. When you are more accurate you calm down. Breakdown catastrophe statements to more accurate statements because the inner critic offers no room for growth or change.
  12. Create a positive state of mind in your head (How do I want to support myself in my own growth – what do you want to say – put affirmations and mantras on your mirror, screen saver, phone background) Here are a few of my favorite – “I trust myself and the decisions I make.”, “I can do it.”, “The past does not define me.” and “I let go of anything not for my highest good.”
  13. Use a Growth Mindset – Add the word “yet” on to the sentence. I haven’t figured it out yet. The word yet offers hope possibility and problem-solving. (Carol Dweck)  When you were problem-solving you were not beating yourself up for not being perfect. 
  14. Practice and Repeat with kindness and self compassion over and over again 

Journal Questions for Reflection

Ways to Silence Your Inner Critic and Change Your Negative Self-Talk to Positivity and Self-Love

Important Quotes

“By changing your beliefs, you change your internal dialogue, you change your self-talk. By changing your self-talk, you change how you feel, you change the consequences of your actions and ultimately change your life.” – Brian Pennie

”Distinguish between what we have control over and what we do not. Once the thought is activated then we have enormous control. We can open up our toolbox at that time and we can push that thought around to amplify it, minimize it, transform it, or replace it with other thoughts” – Ethan Kross

“You are not your thoughts, you are the observer of your thoughts.” – Amit Ray

To sum it up, become aware of self talk so you master it, instead of it mastering you. “Awareness is the catalyst for change.” (Brian Pennie) The Inner critic can be destructive and does not motivate you, in fact, negative self talk can link to higher levels of stress and depression. This can drive your insecurities, fears and worries.  Sometimes your negative thoughts can become self fulfilling prophecies and begin to show up. It is so important to have a language and a narrative that serves you. Thinking more objectively will help find solutions and make sense of life challenges. You can actually change the story you’re living by changing the story you’re telling yourselves. You want to feel empowered (not limited)  Your inner critic needs to become your inner champions. With the action steps listed above to quiet your inner critic and change your internal dialogue, you can be on your way to living a self-loving life. You’ve got this!

Resources to Explore

Renew You with Quinn Kelly Episode 3 How to Go From Negative Self Talk to a Mind Filled with Trust October 11, 2022 (podcast)

The Happiness Lab with Dr Laurie Santos How do I Stop Negative Self-Talk with Ethan Kross July 25, 2022 (podcast)

The Adult Chair Michelle Chalfant Episode 311 How to Overcome Negative Self-Talk, Negative Beliefs and Addiction with Brian Pennie April 21, 2022 (podcast)

The Mindset Mentor with Rob Dial  Episode How to Destroy Negative Self Talk October 27, 2021 (podcast)

The Self Work Podcast with Dr Margaret Rutherford Episode Six Tips to Catch and Change Negative Self-Talk July 9, 2021 (podcast)

Relationships Made Easy Dr.Abby Medcalf Episode 133 Negative Self Talk and Your Inner Critic Need to Go March 16, 2021 (podcast)

Wellnessa Podcast Negative Self Talk September 1, 2020 with Vanessa Cutting (podcast)

Kwik Brain Episode 30 End Negative Self-Talk Like Magic August 21, 2017 with Jim Kwik  (podcast)

The Overwhelmed Brain  Paul Colaianni Reducing Negative Self-Talk January 2015 (podcast)

Chatter: The Voice in our Head and How to Harness It by Ethan Kross (book)

If you are READY to take charge of your life and make some changes, I AM HERE to support you.

Bringing a fresh loving and supportive perspective, I can help you set goals, create healthy routines, or help you become the most loving and confident woman you have always dreamed of to be.  

Schedule an Initial Free Call with Me!

Ways to Silence Your Inner Critic and Change Your Negative Self-Talk Life Coaching with Tricia certified mindset self-care and wellness life coach

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Shopping Cart