Quiet Your Inner Critic

inner critic

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Acknowledging the driving force behind the inner critic is the gateway to soulful healthy living.

Words aren’t cheap. They are costly. The words that stay locked inside your head are just as treacherous as those that roll off the tongue. The voice of the inner critic spews words that can destroy dreams, shatter hope, and paralyze progress.

But there is hope in extinguishing the voice of the inner critic.

In what areas of your life does the boisterous inner critic speak loudly to you?

“I am fat..”.

“I am not as smart…”

“My hips are as wide as the Nile River…”

“I don’t deserve that promotion…”

“I am such a terrible mom…”

“Where do I fit in…”

The uninvited internal commentary speaks lies, and too often I listen, intently. It’s the nagging “what ifs” that tend to control my thoughts and immobilize me.

How did the inner critic get inside your head?

The words of our inner critic conjure up fear, self-doubt, and self-loathing.

Is your inner critic the voice of a parent, friend, employer, or teacher who waged war with words on you? Perhaps you grew up with words of anger hurled at you rather than gentle words fueled by restraint.

An inner critic can develop from painful early life experiences in which you witnessed or endured hurtful and destructive attitudes.

When does your inner critic show up?

Does your inner critic speak loudest when you are spiritually parched?

When I pursue possession and position but leave my spiritual life in a drought condition, the voice of the critical inner amplifies.

God shapes the direction of lives—not you or your inner critic.

Recognize the critical inner voice as counterfeit hiding behind the mask of “fear of man.”

Dr. Paul David Tripp assures that within our broken, flawed world exists a war of words, even the ones inside your head. Rather than allowing the harsh words of others to sabotage your relationships, ministry, goals, and dreams, you can silence your inner critic.

Simple strategies to quiet your inner critic

Prayer is key

Author and Pastor, Tim Keller reminds us that “only through prayer do you ever truly see yourself and get self-knowledge.”

Back in 2011, I remember reading the tagline for the novel The Help by Kathryn Stockett, “Change begins with a whisper.

Profound.

If you haven’t read Stockett’s novel, scoot it to the top of your “must-read” list.

Several of the female characters in the novel covertly defy social and cultural conventions of the segregated 1960s in the South, and things begin to change.

They stopped listening to the voices of the white women who, for generations, verbally and socially berated them into submission.

The maids started whispering their stories.

For change to happen, the whisper must be a declaration backed by faith and grit.

First, change begins in our heart and our mind. Then, it moves into action.

Forgive the person behind the voice of your inner critic

Freely grant forgiveness to the person whose voice fuels your inner critic. You may need to write a note to that person, a narrative that declares your forgiveness for his/her litany of insensitive, cruel phrases. Then, tuck it away in a drawer or journal.

Rewrite the words of your inner critic through the lens of scripture

A reasonable starting place would be Psalms. The writers of Psalms were experts in turning to God when pervasive feelings of doubt and fear emerged.

Employ the Psalms as a template to, first, inspire awe in God and then, second, use it to rewrite your truth. Yes, the Psalms showcase human struggles, but more importantly, they reveal, declare, and affirm God’s holiness.

When you hear:

“You are fat.” 

Instead, write this:

“It’s not going to be easy to make better food choices, but God truly understands my struggle in this area.”

When you hear:

“You are a horrible mother, unorganized and unmotivated.”

Instead, rewrite this:

“God is not asking me to do the impossible. I can trust him and follow him as I make this journey through parenting.”

inner critic

Find a mentor

A mentor not only brings life experiences to the relationship but also words of wisdom and encouragement. More importantly, mentors can help you sharpen your spiritual weapons so that you can hit your target: Jesus.

She will listen and undoubtedly pray for and with you. Mentors can help you grow in your knowledge of God. In time, the voice of the inner critic will become weaker, eventually growing powerless.

A month ago, hurricane Dorian trampled down areas along the east coast and ravaged the Bahamas. Fierce winds churned the Atlantic creating waves as tall as buildings. An angry ocean is something to fear and respect.

The other night, light rain moistened the fall crops. Once you’ve endured a hurricane, a drizzle of rain is nothing to fear.

I concur with Ed Welch when he says, “If you have been in the presence of the almighty God, everything that once controlled you suddenly has less power.”

And that includes you the voice of your inner critic.

inner critic

 Plant a reminder then start ghosting your inner critic

You know, the practice of ghosting — the awkward unanswered calls, unreturned texts, ignored emails.

Shunning your inner critic is probably the only acceptable time to use this common, modern method to ignore someone or something. Use ghosting to cut off contact with your inner critic without regret.

Write a Bible scripture that deepens your knowledge of God on a Post It™, framed graphics, or your notetaking app. Whenever that critic comes to condemn, use the reminder to embrace the truth. Seeking God first builds a platform for change.

Soulful healthy living

Soulful healthy living is a lifestyle that includes your physical and spiritual practices. A joyful exploration of God’s purposes, power, and redeeming love lay a firm foundation for a lifestyle of soulful healthy living. It’s the gateway. The rest of your healthy living journey unfolds as you seek to glorify him in all that you do.

 

                     

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6 Comments

  1. Katie on October 16, 2019 at 10:14 am
    Love this! This was super encouraging and timely for our culture today. I also loved the practical steps you give to quiet our inner critics ❤️
    • Denise Sultenfuss on October 16, 2019 at 11:20 am
      Hey Katie, Thanks for the thoughtful comment. I pray that God lesses you, as you continue to effectively serve God in the corner of the world where he has placed you!
  2. Sherita on October 17, 2019 at 12:18 pm
    Beautifully written. The struggles to quiet our inner critical voice can only be defeated by the word of God. Thank you for those practice reminders.
    • Denise Sultenfuss on October 18, 2019 at 11:24 am
      Thank you Sherita, thank you for stopping by the blog today. I am glad that you enjoyed that post. Consider joining my soulful healthy living circle of friends.
  3. Carla Gasser on October 23, 2019 at 12:18 pm
    Such practical, wise, and godly wisdom! I love the idea of “ghosting” my inner critic!
    • Denise Sultenfuss on November 19, 2019 at 2:02 pm
      Carla, thanks for stopping by and spending some time on the blog.

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