Everyone has that nagging inner critic that makes it tough for us to feel confident in our daily lives. When we are always picking ourselves apart, it becomes increasingly difficult to complete any task without negative thoughts. We spoke to wellness professionals and business owners about how they combat their own inner critic and why it works not only for the short term, but the long term as well.

Put yourself in a friend’s perspective

Miss Vivi Yu, the founder of Vagus.net and wellness expert says, “If you criticize yourself once, it’s bound to happen again. It’s difficult to get out of that cycle of self-criticism once you start, and it can lead to a major decrease in your mood. I like to put myself in a friend’s POV when I find I am entering the spiral of self-doubt and negative thoughts. What advice would a friend give me if they were to know what I was thinking about myself at that moment? 

More often than not a friend will treat you with empathy and compassion, which is how we should be treating ourselves. I find my inner critic appears mostly when I am trying something new for my business. The fear of failure causes me to think of all the worst things that could happen instead of allowing myself to be proud and excited. When I pretend to be a friend, the more positive thoughts start to come in, and it minimizes my critical thoughts.” 

Replace negative thoughts with positive ones

The practice of being more mindful isn’t easy, but it really does help when it comes to trying to think more positively on a day-to-day basis suggests Jennifer Gragg of Colony Roofers. “For me, practicing the exercise of replacing bad thoughts with good ones is helpful. If I find my inner critic coming to the surface, I remember all the good things I have done in the past, and how I know I have it in me to keep persevering. 

I also find it beneficial to practice self-affirmations every morning as this consistent practice of changing your mindset helps you in the long run when it comes to squashing those negative thoughts. When you begin your day on a good note, you are less likely to be self-critical which in the end makes you more productive and that too helps you to be more confident in your own abilities.”

Work on making improvements

Everyone has missed a deadline, or at least come really close. According to Michael Jestadt of Smart Heating And Air Conditioning, this doesn’t make us a bad employee, or person, but it can really affect how we feel about ourselves every time we think we might miss another one. “A good exercise for me is to simply work on making small improvements and setting goals for myself. This allows me to have more control over my days, and helps me to be less critical of myself. 

If you find you’re always close to not making a deadline, make goals throughout the week of being at a certain point of a project or task so you can ensure you will be done well ahead of time. You don’t need to do anything drastic or make major changes, but making smaller improvements here and there allows yourself some grace and keeps your confidence intact.” 

Find the facts

When it comes to your inner critic, it’s mostly wrong about what it has to say about yourself, and you need to chase the facts for it to go away.

When you really dig deeply into the negative thoughts you are having, you will probably find that they aren’t really true. We like to take one mistake or bad thing that happened in the past, and let it dictate every other thing that happens in the future. For example, if you completed a task improperly at work once, every time you do this task, you are thinking about how you are going to mess it up again. 

But the fact is, you learned from this mistake and everyone but you has probably forgotten about it. One mistake doesn’t make it a fact that you can’t do it properly the next time. Instead of thinking this way, think back to a time it may or may not have happened and think through why that one time was the one that stood out. You will find there might have been other factors that affected it and you can prove to yourself that it’s not a fact that you can’t get over that one random mistake. This really helps to calm your inner critic and it makes it easier to focus on getting work done.