How to Send Your Inner Critic Packing

Sometimes, that little voice inside your head isn’t so little.  Your inner critic gets louder and louder, and she starts to take over your life.  That voice makes herself at home inside your mind, even though nobody invited her.  She barges in, dragging her suitcase behind her, and she moves straight into the guest room where she plans to stay forever.  Why should she leave?  It’s comfy in there.

Imagine what would happen if you had a real live person following you around and saying the same things to you that your inner voice says.  You’d never allow that.   You’d definitely get away from that person as fast as you could, and you’d probably think they were way out of line to behave that way.  You might even call the police.

Do you have an ugly inner critic?  If you do, you’re letting her take up space inside your mind without even trying to evict her, and it’s time she moved out.

What my inner critic says

I know what my inner critic says:  “Ugh, how did you let yourself get like this?” and “What are you thinking with these thighs?”  Sometimes she says, “I don’t know why you have to look so dad-gum frumpy.”

My inner critic has been repeating these same tired lines since I was a teenager.  I’ve had skinny thighs and chubby thighs.  I’ve been exhausted and looked it, and I’ve looked terrific, and still, she said the same words over and over again.

I had to get rid of her, and I’m glad I did.

Do you want to say goodbye to your inner critic?

You can call for help if you like, but this is really an inside job.  Nobody can get rid of this unwanted guest but you.  It’s time she left, and as far as I’m concerned, this is a completely justified eviction.  If your inner critic has been around for a while, better late than never when it comes to getting rid of her.

How to do the job:

  1. Be ready with a few different substitute thoughts that you want to hear from your inner voice.  They need to be believable and positive.  Write them down on index cards.  Here are some examples:

    • I have a body that gets me everywhere I need to go.

    • My body is a vessel for my experiences.

    • I don’t have to be perfect to be happy.

  2. Put those index cards in places where your inner critic likes to speak up.  Mirrors are a good place to start.

  3. Catch your inner voice in the act.  As soon as you hear her start to speak, notice her words, and say “Stop!” inside your head.  That’ll keep her quiet for just a second.

  4. Pick up one of the cards you’ve already written, and read your believable statement out loud.  Read it as many times as you need to silence your inner critic.

It will take a while before your inner critic moves out, depending on how strong she is right now.  How long has she been living in your mind, and what kind of power does she have over you right now?  She can only live in your space as long as you let her.

I kicked my inner critic out a few years ago.  Every now and then, she shows up with her overnight bag, and I have to tell her, “Sorry, no, there’s someone else in the spare room, and I like her better”.  The next time my inner critic comes back, I’m not even planning to answer the door.

Julie Cunningham is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Care & Education Specialist. She believes food is the foundation of good health, and that our culture of obsession about body size is damaging to health, happiness, and productivity in far too many people. When not talking or writing about food and health, she can be found in the the mountains of western NC, where she lives with her family and four legged friends.

Julie Cunningham

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