Silence Your Inner Critical Voice So You Can Move Through Your Day Without Judgement

Hi! I’m Roksana

I can’t tell you how many times I believed my inner saboteur. You may call it your ‘Inner critical voice’, negative voice or as one of my clients calls it, ‘Judge’. The inner saboteur is more than negative thinking or being pessimistic. It aims to cause destruction, to stop you moving forward by planting an imagined threat.

At certain points in my life, I found the critical voice utterly debilitating, so much so I would surrender. I quit the new thing I was taking up whether it was applying for a new job, starting a new course or planning a family. It didn’t just wait for the big things, it was present on cold February mornings when I had vowed to get to the gym for 6 am. It’s present right after I discipline my children, questioning my choice and tone of words, planting a seed of doubt in my parenting ability.

The voice is brutally harsh, piercing right through my positive thoughts and creeps out of nowhere at the most crucial time.

Sound familiar?

Truth is, we all have an inner saboteur that operates to varying degrees. The critical voice exists for our protection by preventing us from harming ourselves or risking social Outkast. Primitively, these outcomes would have resulted in death. Every feeling has a positive intention. The BIG problem is the inner saboteur is irrational and critical thinking is WAY OUT of proportion to the perceived risk, like WAY OUT!

Destructive Thinking

If you think you are yet to meet your inner saboteur the telltale signs are your thoughts. Destructive thoughts are ones that stop you in your tracks. If you think along these lines:

“I’m going to (have to) work 10x harder to nail this”

“I won’t get my hopes up about that promotions”

“When he/she gets angry, it’s always my fault, I’m responsible”

“They might find me out, who am I kidding”

“I’ll do that thing tomorrow” (after making a commitment to doing it today)

Destructive thoughts prevent you from moving forward. You can get stuck in a loop, jumping from one destructive thought to another.

Challenge Your Thinking

Your inner saboteur is clever and will disguise your thoughts into logical reasoning.

Let’s take the first example from above.

“I’m going to (have to) work 10x harder to nail this”

On the surface, this can sound like motivational talk, a way of psyching yourself up to claim a victory. Those of us who have this thought tend to believe we have grit, courage and tenacity. All very logical and justifiable on the surface until you dig a little deeper to understand where this thinking comes from.

This type of thinking more than often confirms a negative thinking pattern which can lead to destructive thinking. It’s confirming, life doesn’t happen easily for me, achieving success is always harder for me compared to others or I’m somehow never lucky when it comes to success.

With this kind of thought pattern, I hope you can see why one would give up before they even start. Why even try? “I’m going to fail anyway” is the way most sensible people would take respite by silencing the critical voice.

You are not your (destructive) thoughts

Just because you may think something it doesn’t mean it’s your thought. Your thoughts are not all our own. As you grow you hear other peoples thoughts about hard work (sticking to the example above), you may hear that it is harder for Women than it is for Men, its harder for Ethnic Minorities than it is for White people, it’s harder for Working class than the Middle class and so on. Whoever you are, you will likely have heard a biased view that you took on (like osmosis) to be your own. You will have been influenced by your parents, caregivers, teachers, families, friends, colleagues, the media, movies, documentaries and so on. Your biases will likely be confirmed by new influences over the years until they become reoccurring thoughts running through your mind.

Action – Start to challenge your thoughts. Where does the thought come from? Look for counter-evidence to disprove the destructive thought.

If left unchecked, you can find yourself on a treacherous path. Thoughts become feelings and soon enough you will display unwanted behaviour to suffocate the feelings or release the stress. It’s crucial for you to know that you are not your thoughts. You may have a thought telling you, you are not good enough but this does not mean you are not good enough. You are enough.

Recognise the critical voice or the inner saboteur

Recognising your thought pattern is the first step to managing your inner saboteur. Do you think “always” or “never”, do you jump to conclusions? Do you find yourself on edge? Do you feel tired or even exhausted but you don’t know why? Do you find yourself hopping from one thought to the next? Do you feel unsettled or discontent?

Keep a journal to record your thoughts for a few days this will give you the intel you need.

Positive thinking vs. Constructive Thinking

Developing constructive thoughts will remove power from your destructive thoughts or your inner saboteur. If your inner saboteur is powerful like mine than positive thinking will only serve you for so long.

Positive thinking “I’m amazing, I was born to do this and i’m the best in my team at_______”.

Constructive thinking “Each day I’m going to dedicate 30 mins to learn about __________ which will build my confidence, knowledge, and expertise”.

Constructive thinking is about formulating a plan and taking an actionable step. It’s creating compounding evidence to disprove the inner critic. Taking action, having new learning experiences, attending talks, meeting experts in the field will silence you, inner critic. The inner saboteur can not penetrate constructive thinking. There’s too much recent evidence to disprove its irrational-out of proportion theories!

Positive thinking will only get you so far before the inner saboteur creeps back. It takes one real or imagined criticism before you begin to unravel. The inner critic gradually increases in frequency and volume. It’s as though someone hit mute on the positive thinking vibe you had going on and replaced it with a painful high-frequency tone rendering it impossible to access the positivity.

Believe me, I’ve been there!

Silencing the voice takes practice

I came to realise (with age and coaching) you can choose to give your inner saboteur a corner of your mind or you can make it centre stage. The inner saboteur interprets a situation and catastrophes the outcome. It’s quick to jump to conclusions, become irrational and muddle up thinking.

Even today, given everything I understand about how the mind works (still plenty to learn), I find myself hearing the critical voice and giving it way more air time than it deserves. Knowing how the critical voice operates doesn’t make me immune from falling prey to destructive thinking. I have to figure out where the thoughts are coming from, recognise their disguise and construct one actionable step after another to silence the voice.

I hope this article helped you realise you’re not alone and there’s plenty you can do to help yourself. If you have a concern and are ready to be coached or even curious then let’s have a conversation to see how I can help you. You can book a FREE call with me.

Let’s Talk!

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