The saying “you are your own worst critic” could not be more true, as many people have a tendency to be quite hard on themselves. Being your own worst critic can take a toll on your mental health as with time your pathological critic continues to grow stronger and could severely damage your self-esteem. Although your critic pretends to have your best interests at heart and may sound believable on the surface of the critic’s ulterior motives hurt more than they help.

Here are some tips as to how you can muffle your harsh inner critic:

Catching Your Critic
You cannot change what you are not aware of. You cannot make choices about things you do not know exist! Catching your critic means tapping into your own thoughts and monitoring your internal dialogue for harsh, negative, critical self-talk. It could be a challenging task as monitoring your own thoughts requires some level of detachment and mindful awareness, but it can be done. Sometimes “rewinding the tape” or saying those judgemental thoughts out loud could help you notice what you have been saying to yourself.

Stop Comparing
Making negative comparisons to other people or situations is something we have always done. You could probably remember several times you did this as a child or as an adolescent. As adults, however, we make these comparisons harsher and more negative. Just because your co-worker got a pay-raise does not mean you should be hard on yourself. Stop making harsh comparisons, and enjoy who you are. Everyone is good at different things and there are plenty of things that you do well or even much better than other people.

A Kinder Voice
Once you come to a better understanding that your inner critic is like someone who kicks you when you are down you may want to cultivate a kinder, more compassionate inner voice. To develop this supportive voice you may practice imagining what it would say when you are in trouble or make a mistake. What would a loving parent or good friend say? How would you comfort or encourage someone who you love who needs emotional support? Imaging saying it to yourself, and with practice this kinder voice is going to be there stronger and more often. It will allow you to accept your mistakes without blame or judgement, improve your compassion for yourself and others for things from the past.

By becoming more aware of how harsh your inner critic can be, eliminating negative comparisons and judgements and developing a kinder and stronger inner ally you may change the way you feel about yourself for the better.