Are you your own worst enemy? Here’s how to silence your inner critic.

Dan Murray-Serter

We’re all familiar with that little voice inside. The one that has the gall to utter all the worst things you think about yourself, the one that gets in the way of success by criticising your every move.

Ambition trumps perfection—no thanks to that inner critic

Being ambitious doesn’t mean you need to tear yourself down and bully yourself into achieving more in dogged pursuit of perfection.

In fact, by listening to your inner critic, you can actually send yourself further off course, away from your goals.

The key is learning to differentiate between perfectionism and ambition.

All hail Brené Brown

If you haven’t jumped on the Brené train yet (she’s Oprah-approved), here’s a truth bomb to blow your inner critic out of the water.

“Understanding the difference between healthy striving and perfectionism is critical to laying down the shield and picking up your life. Research shows that perfectionism hampers success. In fact, it's often the path to depression, anxiety, addiction and life paralysis.” -The Gifts of Imperfection

How to silence your inner critic?

—Give that b*tch a voice

Hell, give it a name. Who’s the most loathsome character you can think of? David Brent? Janice from Friends? Mr Burns? Your mother in law?

Giving your inner critic a voice that isn’t your own will make it easier to identify when you’re listening to it, and so, make it easier to stop listening (or tell it to shut up).

—Show yourself some compassion

Learning self-kindness means that you can pick yourself up after a fall and be vulnerable enough to try again. Meditation is an effective way to make great progress in this area.

A popular one is a “loving-kindness” meditation, where in essence you send love, peace, wellness or general good vibes to other people and things in your life, including yourself.

Psychologist, Chris Germer has plenty of free meditations and self-compassion exercises to try. (Don't be surprised if it takes you a while to be ok with this - it's a process.)

—Be your own friend

Imagine if you spoke to your friends as harshly as you speak to yourself.

If you told your nearest and dearest that they’re rubbish, made fun of their fashion choices and made them re-live inconsequential cringe-worthy moments for hours on end—you’d be unfriended pretty quickly.

You’re stuck with yourself for life, so you might as well be mates.


FOR THE NERDY: Pipe down, critics (Source: Psychology Today)