Taming Your Inner Critic

Have you ever had thoughts like:

I don’t have enough self-control….

I’m not good enough….

I’m so stupid….

I can’t do that….

I messed up so might as well go back to my old ways….

I should have done ….

Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” Proverbs 4:23 says, “Be careful what you think because your thoughts run your life.” As you can imagine, the thoughts shared above can be quite limiting, and it would be difficult to have much success in changing behaviors if they are running through your mind. 

We are constantly talking to ourselves – and much of it isn’t good. I know I have a terrible inner critic that provides an internal monologue of all the things I suck at. It sends us messages like I’m not worthy enough, smart enough or good enough. When we start to believe these negative thought patterns, it holds us back from being our best selves

I have named my inner critic Marjorie. No offense to any Marjories out there! It is just what came to mind. Marjorie is a skinny, blonde, goody two shoes. She has a successful career, an impeccable house and a family that has it all together. She is an excellent cook and is basically good at all the other things that I’m not. She is very “judgy” and says things to me throughout the day that make me feel dumb, incompetent and generally like I can’t do anything right. Marjorie tries to undermine me at every turn.

For change to happen in our lives, this has got to stop. We must let the Spirit help us change the way we are thinking. And, we have to get rid of our Marjories.  

  1. Provide Positive Reinforcement – Make sure you are reminding yourself of your accomplishments and the positive things about you on a regular basis. If you were going to give a friend some constructive criticism, wouldn’t you try to balance it out with positive feedback over time? You need to do the same for yourself! Toot your own horn occasionally, and recognize your accomplishments.
  2. Talk Back – Start to notice when your inner critic is coming into play. When you recognize it, then you can start to talk back! I think naming my inner critic gave me an odd kind of power. Now, I tell Marjorie to shut up and buzz off when she starts her nonsense. If I start to notice Marjorie being critical in a particular area, I come back with a Bible verse of how God sees me. 
  3. Treat Yourself Like You Would A Friend – You wouldn’t say such harsh things to a friend, so you shouldn’t say those things to yourself. Remember the tongue has the power of life and death (Proverbs 18:21) and that applies when you are talking to yourself. Cheer yourself up like you would a friend by treating yourself with kindness and compassion instead of being so self-critical.

When we are being critical of ourselves, we need to remember that there is no condemnation for those in Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us to take every thought captive. (2 Corinthians 10:5) We can do this by training our minds to let go of our self-judgment, embrace ourselves as we are and not focus on our failures. When our inner critic arises, we can acknowledge these thoughts, let them pass and replace them with kind words about ourselves.


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