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The Inner Critic: Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Relationship with Your Thoughts

By: Shawne Poplar, MA LPC-S Licensed Professional Counselor


Everyone has an inner critic – that voice inside our head that tells us we're not good enough, that we're not smart enough, or that we'll never be able to achieve our goals. This inner critic can be incredibly damaging to our self-esteem and can hold us back from reaching our full potential.


So how can we deal with this inner critic and learn to quiet its negative thoughts? Here are a few strategies that can be helpful:

Recognize that your inner critic is not you

It is an internalized voice that has developed over time and may be influenced by past experiences or negative messages you've received. Remember that it does not define who you are as a person.

Practice self-compassion

Instead of beating yourself up for your mistakes or shortcomings, try to speak to yourself with kindness and understanding. Recognize that everyone makes mistakes and that it is a natural part of the learning and growth process.

Reframe negative thoughts

When you hear your inner critic telling you that you can't do something, try to reframe the thought in a more positive way. For example, instead of thinking "I'll never be able to run a marathon," try thinking "I'm not able to run a marathon right now, but with practice and dedication, I can work towards this goal."

Seek support

Sometimes, it can be helpful to talk to a trusted friend, family member, or therapist about the negative thoughts you're having. They can provide perspective and help you see the situation in a different light.

Practice gratitude

Focusing on the things you are grateful for can help shift your focus away from negative thoughts and towards the positive aspects of your life.


By learning to recognize and challenge your inner critic, you can start to quiet its negative thoughts and build a more positive and empowering inner dialogue. Remember to be patient with yourself – it takes time and practice to learn how to deal with your inner critic, but it is a worthwhile and rewarding journey.

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