10 Inner Critic Examples (And How to Reframe Them!)
A negative inner voice creates stress, frustration, and anger—in other words, your inner critic may be sabotaging you. With an inner critic, we tend to judge ourselves and others in ways that we would never speak aloud. We restrain ourselves from speaking these thoughts because we know that they would sound harsh, mean, or downright abusive… So why do we allow them to wreak havoc on us from within?
Consider the way you speak to yourself on a daily basis… Now flip the script: If you overheard someone speaking that way to a close friend, a loved one, or a child, would you tolerate it? If you would feel the need to step in on someone else’s behalf, it’s time to stand up to your inner critic. A constant barrage of negativity does not have to be your default.
The Inner Critic is a Barrier to Success
Our inner critic discourages us from trying new things, silences us, and stops us from living our lives to the fullest. If someone constantly bullied you, picking apart everything you did and mocking your every move, you would probably choose to find another person to hang out with. Just the same, you can replace your inner critic with an inner champion who practices empathy, compassion, and general kindness. Related: Impacts of Your Inner Critic
How do you create an inner champion?
Your inner voice is essentially a reflection of your mindset, and your mindset can be molded by shifting your focus (related: learn how to quiet your negative inner voice). When you focus on what is lacking, you develop a negative inner voice. When you shift your focus onto the good (the abundance) that surrounds you, a positive inner voice will start to show up more and more.
In other words, transforming your inner critic to an inner champion is all about breaking negative habits. You can reclaim ownership of the stories you tell yourself the same way you break any other habit: decide to make a change and stick with it. Self-correct when you notice those negative thoughts slipping into your psyche.
Every time you catch your inner monologue veering away from the path of positivity, take a moment to say “Nope! No more of that!” and reframe the negative thought in a positive light. Every time you challenge a negative thought in this way, you are reprogramming the way you think and reinforcing your inner champion. Breaking a habit takes time, but every thought that you challenge is a step in the right direction.
4 Steps to Challenge Your Inner Critic
- Realize when a negative thought is occurring.
- Especially in the beginning, it is important to get in the habit of taking a personal inventory of your thoughts. Pay attention to what you are thinking. Check in with yourself periodically and begin to recognize what sets off your inner critic so that you can be ready to challenge it—don’t just let those negative thoughts play idly in the background.
- Ask yourself what old belief brought on that negative thought.
- Read between the lines of what the inner critic is saying, because the subtext often highlights the absurdity of the statement. For example, if you catch yourself thinking, “Wow, I can’t figure out this spreadsheet. I am so useless.” the belief would be “I can’t do this one thing, and that negates everything that I can do.” It’s easy to see how ridiculous that is, right?
- Examine the situation with curiosity rather than jumping straight to judgement.
- Give yourself the freedom to explore new possibilities before jumping to the old negative conclusions.
- Reframe the statement in a positive voice.
- You will be surprised by how much better it feels.
10 Inner Critic Examples
Below are 10 common examples of Inner Critic statements. When you catch yourself thinking like this, follow the 4 steps to reframe the thought into something positive.
|Inner Critic: Negative Voice
|Inner Champion: Positive Voice
|“What’s wrong with me?”
|People who make mistakes are bad.
|What if nothing is wrong with me? Who am I?
|“I am perfectly imperfect. I am human and I made a mistake.”
|“I can’t do anything right.”
|Perfection is possible and to be expected.
|How can I grow from this?
|“Mistakes are part of the process, I am learning.” “I make mistakes because I am courageous enough to try new things”
|“I am such a failure.”
|My whole identity is tied to this one mistake.
|What did I learn from this that will help me improve?
|“I can try again. Trial and error are perfectly normal. Trial and error is innovation.”
|“Better to be safe than try something new.”
|I am sure to fail if I try to make a change.
|What could I gain from making this change?
|“Let’s give it a shot! If it doesn’t work out, we’ll go back to the drawing board.”
|“People never change.”
|I expect to be disappointed by those around me.
|What can I do to help this person succeed?
|“People are willing and able to change, and I will give them a chance.”
|“I’m not good enough.”
|I am not a valuable member of the team.
|What unique skills do I bring to the table, and how can I use them?
|“I am an important member of this team, and my contributions are appreciated.”
|“No one will ever listen to me.”
|There is no point in speaking up.
|How can I make sure my voice is heard?
|“I have something to say, and I deserve to be heard.”
|“You don’t deserve to be here.”
|I don’t see what value you have to offer.
|What unique strengths does this person possess?
|“I believe in you, and I know you can do it.”
|“My life is not working out the way I wanted it to.”
|I’ve been dealt a bad hand and there is nothing I can do about it.
|How can I work with what I’ve got to get where I want to be?
|“I have the power to create the life I want to live.”
|“There’s not enough time in the day.”
|I am always going to fall short of my goals for the day.
|Am I setting unrealistic goals every day?
|“I have the perfect amount of time, and I use it well. I will get to everything when the time is right.”
Your beliefs create your inner voice, and your inner voice narrates the story of your life. Changing negative beliefs into positive beliefs will ensure that you get the life that you want. An inner champion is not a bully, but a coach, cheerleader, and creative designer who sees growth and potential in the world. This voice reminds us that we are worthy, capable, and deserving of success. It views the world from a space of abundance rather than scarcity and lifts you and those around you up.
I challenge you to keep a list of positive beliefs, especially as you work on reframing your existing negative beliefs. Write them down, make them real, and commit to focusing on your inner champion rather than your inner critic.