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How to quieten your inner critic and love your inner cheerleader

Unkind thinking does not motivate, in fact quite the opposite. When you change your inner critic to a more empowering voice, you will feel your mood lift and your self-belief grow.

Everything you say to yourself is an affirmation. What are you affirming when your inner voice gets going? Is it helpful to you? Or does it sabotage your dreams?

According to research by Queens University, Kingston, Ontario, we have 6,200 thoughts in a day. Our brain is constantly in motion with thoughts that both reflect and create our reality and our thoughts then become the stories we tell ourselves.

There is nothing wrong with inner chatter, it is just one way we process our experiences and some of us have more inner chatter than others. We all have an inner voice and it only becomes an issue when we aren’t aware of it or it is an inner critic rather than an inner guru.

As you become more aware of our thoughts, you can start to decide if you want them or not. Challenging your voice allows you to be more flexible and adaptable.

Recognise your inner critic

Adults display a negativity bias: we pay more attention to negative information far more than positive information. When we are making judgments, we weigh the negative aspects of an event, thought or idea more heavily than the positive aspects. This is also true when we are judging people, including ourselves: we notice the traits we don’t like more than the ones we do like.

Research has shown that unkind thinking does not motivate us, in fact quite the opposite. In addition negative thinking is exhausting. Repetitive negative thinking lowers your mood, reduces your self-belief and causes a decline in memory associated with ageing, specifically dementia.

When you get something ‘wrong’ how do you react? Put yourself down? Name-call? Play the blame game?

When we have come to learn to judge ourselves, doubt ourselves and criticise ourselves, we create that feeling not being good enough. Instead of encouraging us, soothing us and motivating us to be our best, our mind keeps us stuck as we beat ourselves up.

If your inner talk is an inner critic that undermines you, that holds you back, that makes you doubt yourself, you may recognise thoughts such as…

‘not good enough’
‘too loud’
’who do you think you are?’
‘don’t you forget…’
‘don’t you dare’
‘what will they think?’

All thoughts that sabotage you and your dreams.

Soothe your inner critic

Some people like to tell their inner critic to go away when it starts up. I recommend that you don’t argue with it, because the more we resist something, the stronger it becomes. Having compassion, accepting and acknowledging her will allow you to let her go. Perhaps you could befriend her and respond to her in the way you would a friend who gave you unhelpful advice.

If unhelpful thoughts pop into your mind, thank her for her old wisdom and gently brush the voice away. Gradually you will disempower her.

Remember thoughts are only thoughts and you can choose different ones. They are most definitely not facts. You can break any negative thought cycle by creating a positive affirmation that focuses on what you want in your life instead.

Nurture your inner cheerleader​

When you soothe your negative voice, you will become more aware of a quieter, encouraging voice. This is the voice who will propel you forward, help you achieve your dreams.

The subconscious mind cannot tell the difference between a fact and something that you have imagined. Therefore, if you have spent a lifetime telling yourself you’re lazy/stupid/fat/rubbish/unsuccessful, this is what you will notice in your life, this becomes your identity. By purposefully choosing thoughts that are more helpful to you, you can begin to rewire your brain. The unconscious mind learns through repetition, so the more you repeat your affirmation, the more you will believe it.

When deciding on an affirmation, focus on what you want, phrase it in the present tense and only use positive language. Make sure it truly resonates with you and will move you to where you want to be. Repeat it every morning and night, even multiple times a day, put it on post-its and make it your screensaver.

Be kind to yourself and challenge an unkind voice. When you change your voice, change your mind, you will start to feel more confident and more successful.

If you would like to start changing that voice right now, so you can let go of that nagging doubt and start to feel good and believe in yourself, you can take my Retrain your Inner Voice course

You are your best friend - so make sure your inner voice is your cheerleader​

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