Making Peace with your Inner Critic

Everybody has an inner critic. One that will chime in when you make a mistake “hey you should’ve known better” or try to over prepare you “you need to do it this way or its wrong” and sometimes it will get nasty “what an idiot you are!.” This probably sounds familiar. The majority of the people I see struggle with a strong inner critic who if left unchecked can wreak havoc on their self-esteem and lead to more feelings of depression or anxiety. If you have experienced trauma, your inner critic may have an even stronger hold on you.   It can be feel challenging to turn down the volume on its voice.

Most people want the inner critic to just “go away.” But did you know that it is there for a reason? It can be part of our brains that’s trying to keep us safe and protect us. Our survival depended on it like if we heard the voice “stay away from that snake.” Our inner voice can also tell us positive things but for some people the negative voice is so loud that the good stuff is quieted into the background.

Unfortunately the negative inner critic can go off the rails and wreak havoc day in day out for some people as it goes into overdrive. I have found people with multiple traumas have a stronger inner critic that can be more difficult to quiet and to manage. Sometimes it can be the voice of an abusive parent or caretaker and it can be difficult to accept it and for us want it to be a part of us.

So how do we make peace with our inner critic?

1) Know that its normal to have an inner critic and also realize that its possible to quiet it down more and amplify the more positive inner voice

2) Make friends with your inner critic, thank it for its help its given along the way but you’ve got this and will do your best to make the best choices you can now.

3) Using mindfulness can help you recognize that they are just “thoughts” and practice letting them go and not get carried into a story about them. Using nonjudgmental mindset “its just a thought” and “I’m going to let it go” can be a good start. Turn your attention to other sensations in your body such as how does the floor feel beneath you? What colors do you see around you? What sounds do you hear?

4) Journaling can be helpful, ask yourself this question “what are some words of understanding and self-compassion you can say to yourself when your inner critic starts in?”

5) Ask yourself what are a few words of thanks to the inner critic you could express? How can you learn to accept this part of yourself?

6) What is a new voice your inner critic could adapt?

It can be challenging to start the processes above but it can really be healing to look differently at the relationship you have with your inner critic and find a way to accept it and make some peace. This could lead to more helpful thoughts and feelings for you as well as settle your mind a bit. Just know that this won’t happen over night, it will take some time for form a different relationship but know over time that the voice can get quieter and more manageable. This can help guide you to feel more happiness inside.

Are you struggling with your inner critic? Therapy can help! The Therapists at Path to Hope Counseling can help you better manage it and find more peace. Reach out today for a free 20 minute consultation, fill out the contact form below or email at

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