How to Silence Your Nasty Inner Critic

10/23/2013 08:37 am ET | Updated Jan 23, 2014

I recently pulled a random card from Louise Hay's Power Thought Cards, and mine said: I release all fears and doubts. How fitting, I thought. It certainly is something that I am conscious of trying to do every single day before I make the next leap, send the next email, write the next blog, or launch the next product. My inner critic used to speak up before nearly every move I made when going into business for myself, and now that I recognize her, I am learning to shut her down...

Every day gives me multiple opportunities to keep my inner critic in check. Do you have an inner critic? If so, let's learn how to keep her in check!

The first step is recognizing this inner critic, this voice that chimes into your consciousness in negative ways, letting you know how you might fail or what you're not doing right. I like to give "her" a name... maybe a name that doesn't invoke positive thoughts so you can learn to discount her input into your life.

For the sake of discussion, I'll call her Mavis. When you are about do something big, or even something slightly outside of your comfort level, Mavis is bound to step in and try to dissuade you. She might say something like:

  • Who do you think you are?
  • Why would anyone want to listen to you?
  • Who is going to purchase your new product?
  • Nobody is going to show up.

And you know what, Mavis might be right. But what's the worst that can happen?

The best thing we can learn to do is keep Mavis in her place. Self-doubt lives in nearly all human beings, but we need to keep it in check and have some strategies in place to move forward despite those thoughts and feelings.

Realize that self-doubt is just that, a thought or feeling. Let's learn to neutralize Mavis!

Here is an easy step-by-step guide to silence your inner critic:

1) Recognize the voice of your inner critic and become aware of the input that she gives you (usually false). Know that your inner critic is simply your ego filling you with self-doubt and causing you to lose confidence. Give her a name if that helps you (the uglier name, the better), so you can tell her to leave you alone... by name.

2) Ask yourself, "Is what the inner critic is saying true?" If not, tell her to shut up and keep moving forward.

3) If what she says could be true, then ask yourself, what's the worst thing that could happen? Come to terms with the worst thing and neutralize it. Hey, if nobody buys your online class or comes to your event, then learn from that experience and make it better next time. Remember that you can never truly fail unless you quit.

4) Say a positive affirmation in your mind that discounts that darn inner critic, such as: I have incredible information to share with the world and people are open and receptive to my words.

5) Finally, move forward with what you were doing and take the next step of your journey and leap into your greatness!

I want to hear from you. Do you have an inner critic that holds you back? Do you listen to her or give her credibility? Share your experiences and silencing strategies with me her or on my website!

For more by Erin Cox, click here.

For more on emotional wellness, click here.