A to Z Guide to Thriving in Life Over 50s Lifestyle

‘N’ is for Negative Self-Talk – Silencing your inner critic

April 16, 2018

Negative Self-Talk, your ‘inner critic’, is one of the barriers we have in trying to thrive in life.  We all have two little voices in our heads – the positive one who reminds us that we are capable and beautiful and enables us to thrive in life, and the negative inner critic, that shoots us down and blows up our self-esteem and self-confidence.

Unfortunately, for some of us, the Negative Voice seems to be louder more times that we would like.  It prevents us from achieving a life that is thriving in all areas. We all have an inner critic who judges us, the voice that tells us we ‘aren’t good enough’, ‘pretty enough’,’ slim enough’, ‘wealthy enough’, ‘successful enough’  I’m sure you can keep adding to the list, but you get the picture.

Our inner critic is much harder on us than others. Negative life experiences happen to us all but they shouldn’t define us or shape our future.

Recently I’ve been reading Brooke Castillo’s Self-Coaching 101 – Use Your Mind – Don’t Let It Use You.  She refers to the ‘negative spin cycle’ and how we can become slaves to our negative thoughts:

When you think a thought – you feel a FEELING.  When you feel a feeling – you take ACTION OR NOT, because of how you FEEL.  Your ACTIONS (behaviours) create your experience in the world and ultimately what your life looks like.

If you aren’t conscious of your negative thoughts, you are enslaved by them.  I call this the ‘spin cycle’.

In order to thrive and grow, we need to break the ‘negative spin cycle’ and move forward rather than continually spinning around.  We need to create a new habit of thinking and break the old patterns of the inner critic.

Negative Self-Talk – How to silence your inner critic

1. Self-Love and Acceptance

Unless we can accept ourselves for the person we are and love that person, we will never silence the inner critic.  That doesn’t mean giving up.  If we want to make changes about ourselves then we need to work positively to get to the place where you can actually look at yourself and know that you love that person who is looking back at you.

2. Self-Awareness

Do you really take time to check in with how you are feeling?  Do you know what triggers the inner critic?  Becoming aware of who you are, you thoughts, fears and dreams will provide the guidance you need to shut down the inner critic when it wants to have a conversation.

3. Soul Shares

I read about Soul Shares in Mastering Your Mean Girl by Melissa Ambrosini.  Melissa describes Soul Shares as:

little whispers of love to nudge you back onto our path.

Soul shares could include positive quotes or thoughts that will keep you motivate or inspired.

Make a list of positive thoughts or ‘soul shares’, write them on post-it notes for around the house, or make a vision board of them.  Reinforce the positive thoughts rather than encouraging the inner critic.

4. Letting Go

Most of us have regrets or hold grudges and wish we had done things differently in life.  We can never move forward and thrive unless we let go of those negative feelings and make peace with them.  Letting go can lift such a weight from our shoulders and life it is amazing how liberated you will feel.

5. Willingness and Commitment

Again, with anything we want to do in life we need to be willing to make changes if necessary and be committed to making the changes happen.

6. Stop the Self-Sabotage

We are sometimes our own worst enemy because we let the negative self-talk and inner critic sabotage our lives.  Remember we can control the way we react to our thoughts and feelings.

A Quick Way to shut down your Inner Critic

When negative thoughts or the inner critic starts chattering away and putting you down.  Stop the conversation, shut it down by:

  • Taking a long deep breath
  • Letting go of your thoughts
  • Coming back to the present moment
  • Reminding yourself that this beautiful, unique person is YOU

Do you have an ‘Inner critic’?  What steps do you take to silence the negative self-talk?

Negative Self-Talk - How to silence your inner critic

In my next post in the A to Z Guide to Thriving, I’m discussing ‘O’ is for Opportunity, Openness and Optimism. I do hope you will join me.

If you have missed previous posts in the AtoZ Challenge 2018 just click here to find them all.

You might also like to check out my Over 50 & Thriving series.  In this series, published every Thursday, guest writers give insight into what ‘Over 50 & Thriving’ means to them.

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  • Reply Jennifer Jones April 16, 2018 at 12:24

    This is such good advice Sue. For me, silencing that nasty negative voice in my head is to recognise it for what it is. To see that it isn’t real. I’ve done a lot of work in this over the years. Your tips are great

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 16, 2018 at 13:08

      Mine is getting softer Jen but it can become vocal from time to time. It is hard to always shut out the negative voice but it can prevent us from enjoying our life. Glad you found the post useful and have a beautiful week. xx

  • Reply Retirement Reflections April 16, 2018 at 12:52

    Hi, Sue – This is so true. Negative self talk does serve to undermines us in so many way. I had a Yoga Teacher remind us that even the subtle, self-deprecating statements that we say with a laugh “I’m such a klutz, a nerd, an idiot, a loser….” can have the same negative effect that you’ve described above. Thank you for another great post!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 16, 2018 at 13:09

      Yes they can Donna that is for sure. That is the type of negative voice I have – putting myself down with a smile on my face. Have a great week and hope you enjoyed Boston xx

  • Reply leannelc April 16, 2018 at 14:42

    I’m getting better with this Sue, my inner critic used to be going full bore in my head, but now I’m learning to not listen and to focus on the things I love and the people I love and let the rest go. That letting go thing is so important if we want to learn self-acceptance (you can’t undo the past, you can learn from it and then you need to let go and move forward).

    Leanne | crestingthehill.com.au
    N for Never Lie

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 17, 2018 at 11:38

      I think we have both come so far in the last 3 years, Leanne and I also believe blogging has helped our growth. x

  • Reply Akshata Ram April 16, 2018 at 19:24

    Dont let the bad one win, its hard for we are quick to listen to the negative voice but practising to turn a deaf ear to this pessimistic us, is a win win in the long run.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 17, 2018 at 11:37

      So true Akshata. Thanks for visiting and have a great day!

  • Reply Candi Randolph April 16, 2018 at 20:14

    I love the quick steps to shut down my inner critic. It pops up here and there, and I know it’s only going to drag me down. I’m going to remember these steps and practice them. Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 17, 2018 at 11:37

      Thanks Candi, we just have to keep trying don’t we? Have a great day!

  • Reply Weekends in Maine April 16, 2018 at 22:30

    That negative inner voice can be strong. Love your tips for navigating through. I especially believe in letting go but sometimes find it challenging and have been working in this area. I remember reading a statistic once about job applicants where men are far more likely to apply for a job even if they don’t meet all the requirements and women tend to only apply if they meet every one. I suspect negative self-talk may be at play a little bit. Weekends In Maine

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 17, 2018 at 11:35

      I think it is always a work in progress and as long as we keep trying that is what matters. Interesting statistic about job applicants but I think that is right. Men seem to be able to project a different image and just put themselves out there.

  • Reply karen@profoundjourney.com April 16, 2018 at 22:30

    I love the reference to the negative ‘spin cycle,’ Sue. That’s definitely how it feels – old thoughts and feelings, steeped in dirty water, spinning and spinning without ever finishing the cycle. I’m becoming more aware of my negative voice and awareness I know is the first step. But I’m looking forward to taking the next step soon!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 17, 2018 at 11:33

      We all have to take that first step Karen and whilst it isn’t easy we just have to keep trying to let our self-confident and positive voice increase in volume to drown out Ms Negativity

  • Reply patwdoyle11 April 17, 2018 at 02:24

    Sue, another reminder about this topic in a matter of days! How wonderful. Recently, I’ve started to make the unconscious negative thinking more conscious. Literally writing it down. (I’m not a good friend. I’m not physically capable of doing that. etc.) And then writing the positive statement in a way that feels truthful. (I have a great circle of friends and we all support one another. I am physically capable of doing stuff..and have proven that with taking up yoga. etc.) That has been quite powerful for me. Being aware of when my inner critic is alive – when I start doing compare and despair, when the Imposter Syndrome comes out, when I worry about other’s validating me….that’s been my first step in stopping the negative self-talk. #2 for me — Self – Awareness!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 17, 2018 at 11:31

      Great idea Pat about writing it down. I’m actually working through a self-coaching book that does something similar with thoughts and feelings. You write down how you are feeling or what you are thinking and then put a positive twist on it. Comparing ourselves with others is so easy to do isn’t it? We have much in common! Have a great day! xx

      • Reply patwdoyle11 April 20, 2018 at 01:33

        The emotional awareness tool I’m using (from a life coach) has a listing of emotions from the best (Joy, Love) to the worst (Depression, Despair). Mine has 26 levels and I’ve adjusted the list to what I think is more/less positive/negative. The idea is to identify where you are and then identify how you could move up just 1 or 2 or 3 levels. So if I’m feeling Blah (level 14 on my list), how might I feel more peaceful or hopeful. Often that means (for me) doing some active planning. I’m learning how to “manage” my negative emotions. Let me know if you’d like my list – via regular email. It’s a bit different than putting a positive twist – which I also use in my journaling – about looking at a situation differently. Both are good tools to have! As is being aware of when I comparing and despairing!! Self-awarenss is a thing for me right now. LOL.

        • Reply Sue Loncaric April 20, 2018 at 11:33

          I would love a copy of the Emotional Awareness Tool, Pat. I think you have my email address, if not let me know. Thanks!

  • Reply Shirley Corder April 17, 2018 at 04:17

    Thanks, Sue. I needed this today. My negative critic is really trying to get to me today! Why? I finally submitted my book for publication. There’s no more I can do to it. Oh help . . . Next post in A to Z: N is for Nourish your Body and your Mind.

  • Reply Kimberly April 17, 2018 at 04:31

    We tend to be our own worst critics, its true. You’re right, these feelings start on the inside. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how you feel, but what you project that counts. Act confident, be confident. Fake it till you make it, so to speak… There is power in the belief, right, but getting there can be a challenge. We must push away the critic till she comes to us less often!
    N is for Nature

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 17, 2018 at 11:29

      Perfectly said Kimberly. We do have to act it even if we don’t feel it. It is true though that once you start acting the way you want to be you will start feeling it. Have a great week!

  • Reply doreeweller April 17, 2018 at 09:18

    Great post, and so true about that inner critic!
    Doree Weller

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 17, 2018 at 11:27

      Yes we certainly have to keep that inner critic in check Doree, although sometimes that is easier said than done.

  • Reply Debbie Harris April 17, 2018 at 10:09

    I tried to post a comment here yesterday but couldn’t do it so I’l try again. I really needed to hear this today Sue as I’m having a case of the guilts about travelling for so long. You have already commented on my post I know but this negative self talk can really impact on us. Great tips and thanks again.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 17, 2018 at 11:24

      Glad the post helped Deb. It isn’t easy to turn off the negative voice but we have to overcome it otherwise we just feel miserable. Enjoy your holiday and no more guilt! xx

  • Reply Miriam April 17, 2018 at 19:41

    Great ideas on shutting down that inner critic that we all have from time to time. Vision boards are so effective so is just learning with age and wisdom.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 18, 2018 at 11:50

      Oh mine sometimes gets too loud but I manage to push her out the door! Yes vision boards are good and I would also agree that with age you have the life experience to help guide you.

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