The Critic Inside
We can be the most critical on ourselves. Our internal dialogue is often anything but kind. We say things like:
You are fat.
They think you are stupid.
Who do you think you are?
You are unacceptable.
We turn our imperfections into points of criticism and disdain. We determine our value based on what we tell ourselves and what we perceive others think. If we can’t be kind to ourselves, we may question the validity of God’s kindness.
Why the Mean Girl Has a Voice
It wasn’t until I was in my 20s that I realized how negative my self talk was. The critic was my own mean girl, and I was letting her bully me. Why?
I wanted to say it before anyone else could.
I was preparing myself for a similar response from others.
I didn’t deserve kindness.
It was keeping me humble.
Although ridiculous thinkings, I was giving the critic inside power to define who I was.
How to quiet the critic inside
I learned (and am still learning) to quiet the critic inside. It’s a process and doesn’t happen overnight. It involves patience, perseverance, and a warrior heart.
Here are a few ways I’m learning to quiet the critic inside:
Call out your imperfections.
This is tremendously difficult in the beginning. When you are not accustomed to owning imperfections but instead diligent about hiding them, you feel so exposed when you admit where you miss the mark.
I wasn’t accustomed to calling out my imperfections- to call them wide out into the open and see them for what they are worth. But when I did, my coverup mission was aborted, and I experienced freedom from their power.
Insider Tip: Make a list of all the ways you see as imperfect about yourself. Things like: easily angered, impatience, prideful, extra 10 pounds, undisciplined…List them out and own it. You are not perfect. And, it is OK.
Believe God loves you kindly in your imperfection.
In your imperfection, God’s love is kind, generous, and considerate.
so that in the coming ages He might display the immeasurable riches of His grace through His kindness to us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:7
God doesn’t look at you with a sneer on His lips and a roll of His eyes. He doesn’t throw up his hands in
exhaustion because of how much you need His help or how much you have messed up. He doesn’t leave you to figure it out on your own. He is not shocked or disgusted by your imperfection.
Our perfect and kind God sees, accepts, and fills in the gaps of your imperfection. If He can, don’t you think you can too?
Nip it in the bud.
Ask God for awareness when the internal negativity begins. When you learn to hear it, don’t engage in the conversation. Nip it in the bud.
Inside Tip: I used a rubber band around my wrist. As I was learning, I would snap the rubber band whenever I began to criticize myself. Snap. Snap. Snap. It happened a lot in the beginning. But, it was a physical reminder to stop the madness. And, it helped me tremendously.
Confide in someone.
This “project” can solely be just between you and God. But, I encourage you to open up and expose your imperfections to a trusted friend. They can encourage you, hold you accountable, and be an audible truth in your head.
Turn up the volume
Turn down the volume on your negative self talk. But, turn up the volume on God’s truth speaking love, kindness, and acceptance to you.
God doesn’t expect you to be perfect. He moves towards you in gracious kindness. He accepts you and empowers you to be more like Him.
Breathe in His kindness. Be kind to yourself.
* selections taken from “Day 3” of Breathe In Grace: a journey to self-acceptance through the truth of God’s love, a FREE bible study available for download