Inner Critic Definition And Practical Strategies To Make It Quiet!

inner critic definition

Do you have a voice that tells you… it’s your fault?

That nagging voice in your head that tells you you’re not good enough, smart enough, or capable enough?

Ugh… the horrible inner critic!

As a life coach for over two decades, I’ve help thousands of people, in addition to myself, quiet their inner critic. It’s gotta go!

You’re looking to understand this term and how it’s shaping your self-talk and thinking patterns.

In this article, I will define the inner critic and give you doable strategies for silencing your inner beast… so it doesn’t dominate your life!

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Inner Critic Definition: What is the Inner Critic?

Harsh thoughts, from you to you… hurt you.

It’s that voice inside your head that judges, critiques, and undermines your confidence.

But what exactly defines this inner critic?

It’s the internalized voice of your fears, insecurities, and negative beliefs.

It tells you your not nice enough, strong enough, you didn’t do a good enough job, you’re too this and not enough of that….

Enough already!!

self criticism, critical thoughts, self critical thoughts

The mantra of the inner critic

It’s the inner critical voice that says…

  • It’s my fault
  • I am responsible for their feelings.
  • I’m the one to blame.
  • I need to fix this or I can’t bear it.
  • I am ashamed of myself.

How it impacts self esteem

The influence of self criticism extends beyond negative thoughts; it can affect your emotions, behaviors, and mental health.

  • Emotional Impact: Constant self-criticism can lead to feelings of anxiety, depression, low self-esteem and poor mental health.
  • Behavioral Patterns: It causes you to avoid risks, procrastinate, or hold yourself back from pursuing your goals.
  • Interpersonal Relationships: The negative beliefs can impact your relationships, leading to communication barriers, distrust, and difficulty in forming connections.

Characteristics of Your Inner Critic

Your harsh inner critic manifests as self-doubt, perfectionism, negative self-talk, and a tendency to focus on flaws and shortcomings.

It’s truly your achilles heel!

Understanding these characteristics can help you recognize when inner critics.

Self doubt

This mean voice thrives on planting seeds of doubt in your mind.

It makes you question your abilities, decisions, and worthiness, leaving you feeling uncertain and insecure.

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It sets impossibly high standards for yourself, leading to a never-ending pursuit of perfection.

It criticizes every mistake or imperfection, fueling feelings of inadequacy and failure.

Negative self-talk

Negative self-talk is a hallmark of the inner critic. It bombards you with harsh and critical remarks, constantly reminding you of your flaws and shortcomings.

Positive self-talk is necessary to put the negative inner voice at bay. Here are positive self talk examples.


It loves to compare you to others, highlighting their successes while downplaying your own achievements.

This constant comparison creates feelings of envy, resentment, and unworthiness.

Obviously, you want to create positive feelings instead.

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Fear of failure

It feeds on your fear of failure, convincing you that any misstep will result in disaster.

It paralyzes you with anxiety and prevents you from taking risks or pursuing your goals.


It has a knack for blowing things WAY out of proportion.

This was me!

I would blow the smallest thing up in my mind until I was so upset I’d want to hide! I had to learn emotional release to help me with this.

It takes isolated incidents or mistakes and extrapolates them to represent your entire identity or worth, leading to distorted perceptions of reality.

self criticism

Practical Strategies to Silence Your Inner Critic

Here are practical, doable strategies to help you tell your inner voice to stop criticizing and please leave the premises!

1. Silence the critical inner voice

Where does the inner critical voice come from?

It’s the voice of your fears and insecurities.

It’s the part of you that internalizes negative beliefs and messages, often stemming from past experiences or societal influences.

Recognizing this is not the true reflection of who you are is the first step towards peace!

2. Recognize Negative Thought Patterns

One of the most effective ways to combat it is to become aware of the negative thought patterns it creates.

Pay attention to the recurring negative thoughts that bring you down and make you doubt yourself. Are there specific triggers or situations that tend to activate your inner critic?

By identifying the self criticism, you can start to challenge and reframe them.

Here’s an entire article dedicated to self love… find a positive affirmation or two that’ll work for you!

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3. Practice Self-Compassion

Self-compassion is the antidote to self-criticism.

Treat yourself with self love and the same kindness and understanding that you would offer to a friend facing similar challenges.

When you start to criticize yourself, counteract those negative messages with words of self-compassion.

Remind yourself that everyone makes mistakes and that failure is part of the soul’s path.

4. Cultivate a Growth Mindset

Embracing a growth mindset can help you shift your perspective from self-criticism to self-improvement.

Instead of viewing setbacks as proof of your inadequacy, use them as opportunities for growth and learning.

Adopting a growth mindset means believing in your ability to develop and improve over time, rather than being limited by your perceived shortcomings.

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5. Challenge Your Inner Critic

When it rears its head, challenge its assertions with evidence to the contrary.

Ask yourself… Is this criticism based on facts, or is it just my insecurities talking?

Look for examples from your past where you’ve proven your critic wrong and use them to boost your confidence.

6. Surround yourself with supportive people

The company you keep can have a significant impact on your inner dialogue.

Surround yourself with good people: supportive friends, family members, and mentors who believe in you and encourage you to pursue your goals.

A strong support network can help counter the negative messages and remind you of your worth.

However, it’s important to keep doing the inner work or you won’t be able to let in the love that’s around you.

stay true to yourself

7. Practice Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation and deep breathing exercises, can help you quiet your mind and cultivate a greater inner peace.

By staying present in the moment and observing your thoughts without judgment.

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Final thoughts

Your inner critic may be loud, but it doesn’t have to dictate your life.

By understanding where it comes from, recognizing negative thought patterns, and mindfully catching it before it dominates your inner dialogue, you can overcome self-doubt and enjoy a more positive inner dialogue.

You are worthy of love, respect, and success, regardless of what it may try to tell you.

Don’t listen!

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