6 immediate ways to silence your inner critic

6 steps to become friends with your inner critic 

I have this really good idea. Waauw, I see fabulous things happen!  

Great!  I’m all excited!!

And then …

my inner critic shows up.

Self – sabotage.

For example, right now, writing this blog my inner critic says:

“It has been written already.”

“Nobody is going to find this interesting.”

“Who are you to write this.”

“It’s not good enough.”

“You’re a lousy writer”

Do you also have one of those inner critics living in your head too?

You just can’t seem to get them out, do you?

Here is the good part. You don’t have to get writ of them.

Your inner critic does this because he wants to protect you. He wants to prevent you from getting hurt.

He refers to past experiences to prove that he’s right. 

  • Remember that time when you said something weird being your enthusiastic self as a child and everybody around you started laughing?

  • Or that diner party where you defended your point of view in a political discussing and your husband/wife/parent sighed and said that you’d better not talk about things you don’t understand?

  • Or that meeting where you had the courage to bring up a new exiting way to improve employee satisfaction, but nobody seemed to care?

Those were the times you felt lonely and not understood. Your inner critic wants to prevent you from going there again.

Your inner critic has a positive intention – it wants to protect you – OK … but at the same time it keeps you from what you really want to do.

If you keep doing what you have always done, you will get what you have always gotten.

  • This could result in being invisible at work.

  • Not getting the promotion you were waiting for but seeing your colleague moving one step up.

  • It could be staying unhappy at work, not having the courage to follow your heart because you’re afraid that you will not be able to pay off your loans.

  • Being short tempered towards your employees because they keep intruding you or don’t seem to do what you want them to do.

  • Not finishing that paper  again.

  • Being very creative in finding new excuses not to give that presentation.

These thoughts keep you trapped and make you unhappy in the long run.

6 steps to become friends with your inner critic 

1. You need to know what it is that you want to achieve.

Where do you want to go? What are you longing for? What do you want to focus on?

2. What are the thoughts, the limiting beliefs that come in to your mind when you think of pursuing this dream?

What are you afraid of? What could go wrong? What’s the worst thing that could happen. What would happen if you fail?

Write down what you say to yourself when you feel down, sad or are blaming or judging yourself. Make these negative self-thoughts visible to yourself so they can’t sneak up on you in the dark and haunt you.

3. Where do these limiting beliefs come from?

Do they go back to previous experiences you had? Is what you experienced then, still valid now? Is the context the same?

Visualise a penguin. It’s a clumsy creature when hopping from one foot to the other on land. But once in the water, it becomes an elegant and fast swimmer. If penguins would keep seeing themselves as ridiculous, slow and clumsy – because that’s their first experience on land –  they would never dare to jump in the water.

Their limiting beliefs, which they don’t have, would prevent them form experiencing the freedom of swimming.

Unfortunately, we humans, are gifted with the ability to think about the past and the future, whereas the penguin can only act in the now.

Ask yourself if what your inner critic is saying, is still valid in this specific situation.


4. Are the negative thoughts you keep telling yourself yours or are you living the limiting beliefs of someone else?

Do you worry about what your parents might say? Or your partner, boss, friends, colleagues. …?  Do you hear their warning voice when you only just think of trying something new and exciting? “You shouldn’t be doing this, be responsible, don’t make a fool of yourself. You are an adult now.” Right! You are an adult, which makes you able to make your own decisions.

And just as anybody else you are entitled to make mistakes. Even more, you are just as well as anybody else allowed to be unreasonable or unrealistic.  Because in the end, being unreasonable of unrealistic is nothing but perception. Who is to decide what is reasonable or realistic? We all see the world through our own eyes.  Everybody has his own version of what is true.

Ask yourself who is talking through your inner critic. Is it you or somebody else? Do you still give them the power to tell you what to do?


5. Train yourself in thinking positive thoughts.

Our brains are like a muscle. You can train your brain to think more positively.

Neuroscience teaches us that repetition creates new links in the brain. The more you think positive, the more your brain will adopt this as a new pattern to follow, instead of the old negative pattern.

You are not your brain. Your brain is merely there to serve you, just as your other body parts. Train it!

6. What is the first step you could take in the direction of what you want to achieve?


“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Lao Tsu.

Nobody knows what the future will bring. Don’t focus on predicting the future. Focus on what is now. The only thing that is really real is now. By deepening your attention to the now, you allow yourself to connect with the emerging possibilities of the future. These possibilities can guide you in taking the next step.

So in fact you only need to know 2 things   

  1. The direction you want to go

  2. The very next step you want to take.


Easy, isn’t it ? No?

Do you want some help on this?

Remember my limited summer offer is still valid:

Free coaching session if you contact me before the 15th of August. 

Register and tell me how I can help you. The person with the most specific case, gets the free session.

What’s the very next step you will take?

Register Now for Your Free Summer Coaching Session
If you enjoyed this post, I’d be very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter, Linkedin or Facebook. Thank you!
So grateful to have shared this with you!

Live on purpose,


P.S.: In my previous blog “Empathy, not such a soft skill after all“, I asked “What is holding YOU back?” Thanks for all the thoughts you shared with me. I used some of your inner critic examples in this blog.

P.P.S: Save the date. On the 21rst of August, the Leadership Road to Freedom will take place at the Heerlijckyt in Geetbets.

Ann Baeke

Natural Leadership wants to help people, teams and organizations with their self-realization in an authentic and effective way. Self – realization brings freedom. People will feel happier and energized. Their performance increases. 

I put the mission of Natural Leadership –  finding self – realization and the freedom to unlock your full potential – to work by doing two things:

  • First helping leaders in strengthening their personal leadership.
  • Second helping teams and organizations in creating a culture of engagement.

Both reinforce each other and transform people and organizations. Result: Increase in well – being, profit and growth.




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