Everyone hears it. Some people hear it louder and every day. We’re talking about that inner voice that just complains and criticizes you for everything you do. The one who shouts at you that you are worthless, talentless and stupid – and who lowers your self-esteem and self-confidence completely unnecessarily. It is the voice that reminds us of the slightest mistake we happen to make and that is silent when we succeed in something. Now is the time to silence that critical inner voice for good.
- Celebrate even the slightest success
If you are like most people, you remember your mistakes more often than your successes. We mourn for the slightest mistake and close our eyes to all the little things we actually do right and do well. The point here is to celebrate every little finished thing. Do not wait until you have completed something big. Do not let your everyday life become a matter of “all or nothing”. Tell your inner critic to shut up. Everything does not have to be perfect. One final thing is always a success – let it be enough and celebrate it even if you did not really succeed in doing everything you had planned. Focusing on successes instead of mistakes raises self-confidence and creates a habit of expecting new successes instead of new mistakes. And the rule is simple – we always get exactly what we expect.
- It is not the number of working hours that is most important
This is a common problem for self-employed people. Working hours are not as important as everyone sometimes thinks. It is never the number of hours you spend in the office or with your work tasks that is most important, but the result of your efforts. Say you have managed to tick off everything on your “To Do” list right after lunch one day. Your inner voice roars at you that it is impossible, that you have not worked hard enough. But you have it – the checklist is proof of that, so take time off for the rest of the day. Feel satisfied with what you have accomplished and reward yourself by disconnecting from work for the day.
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But be prepared to struggle for a while to get over the feeling of “slipping” and not working hard enough. This “must be good” syndrome is so deeply rooted in our subconscious and so firmly associated with old unwritten rules that you have not worked hard enough if you have not spent your eight hours in the office. Even though you have “black and white” that you have done everything you should and that you are your own boss, the bad conscience is voiced by your inner critic. But be tough on your inner gap neck. Dare to relax when you’ve done your job, no matter what time it is – and especially if it still happens to be “working time” according to the community around.
- Fool your inner voice
This is a simple trick that will help you overcome the feeling of inadequacy, even though you have already achieved your set goal. Say you’ve been working all day. You feel tired and want to take a break, but your inner critic continues to yawn at you to “stop relaxing”. Instead of fighting on, do something simple that does not require much thought and energy, but is still enough to be “accepted” as a “sensible” task by your inner critic. It may be enough to make a call or answer an email that you have postponed so that your critical voice will be quiet and you can relax for the rest of the day.
- Focus on the here and now
Make a difference now and then. It is normal to think back on old mistakes. It is useful to see old mistakes as experiences and to learn from mistakes that have been made. But it is so easy to dwell on old sins and so difficult to let go. The problem with sticking to past failures is that they often become the breeding ground for new mistakes. As a rule, we always get exactly what we expect, so expect success instead of adversity. The next time your inner critic starts reminding you of old mistakes, bad habits, or less successful ventures, stop it by saying out loud; “It was then, this is now.” Remember that it is always you who decides how your inner voice should treat you. Do not allow it to say negative things. You can always change yourself. Choose to be who you want to be. Choose to be brave, confident, ambitious, focused and calm. Remind yourself of this every time the inner voice begins to whine by saying out loud; Today I choose to be happy, positive, energetic or whatever state of mind you choose to focus on.
And remember – you will not succeed in silencing your critic at once. It takes patience, but keep saying no every time the voice wants to push you down. It is you who chooses how you want to look at yourself – whether you want to define your person according to your failures or your successes. It is up to you to choose how your voice will appeal to you – with respect or with contempt.