How To Improve Self-Perception by Silencing Your Inner Critic

Your thoughts shape who you are. What you do, how you treat others, and your beliefs stem from your thinking process. Additionally, your self-esteem is derived from what you tell yourself. If your self-image is poor, you can transform your sense of worth by altering the way you think.


The most crushing remarks you hear may arise from self-chastisement. Negative dialogue such as “you idiot” and “you are pathetic” might crop up in your mind if you think that you have made mistakes. In fact, while negative remarks about you made by others sting, you are your harshest critic. Your critical inner voice has the power to dent your self-esteem, prevent you rising to beneficial challenges, and make you depressed.

The good news is that you are in charge of what the voice in your head says. In fact, your internal speech is formed by the thoughts you hold. If you want to alter your critic to make it sound positive, you can change the way you think.

In order to break old negative modes of thought, you may need to recognize how the way you think about yourself came about. You were not born with low self-esteem. In fact, very young children usually think that the world revolves around them, and even kiss their own reflection in the mirror. They already know that they create their reality, but do not yet recognize the feelings of others. (Here's a great video that illustrates this:

However, there is a certain point in their development when children's awareness of people grows. Unfortunately, at about the same time that they begin to understand that other people have needs, they have their first experiences of guilt and shame.

Most parents speak to their children in disparaging ways. Rather than making observations about what is considered problematic behavior and expressing their requirements, parents make statements that measure worth. For instance, if a father wants his little girl to be quiet because he wishes to relax in silence, he might say “shut-up. That racket you're making is driving me crazy. You are selfish.” His daughter receives the message that her behavior is powerful, and she must be quiet and repress her needs, otherwise she might hurt people. Additionally, the judgmental attitude of her father becomes part of her inner voice, and continues to scold her on other occasions.

Children receive put-downs from parents, teachers, extended family and society in general. They learn that they are either good or bad. As adults, they judge themselves in a similar way to how they were evaluated as children. It is no wonder that your self-talk involves more reprimands than words of encouragement.

Learning To Think Constructively

Just as you learned to criticize yourself, you can be taught to build your confidence with helpful reflection. Recognize when you are about to put yourself down, or have already done so, and pause your thoughts. Purposefully construct new thoughts that rely on observations rather than evaluations. In other words, look at facts instead of being critical. Ask, “What happened here?” And “how can I meet my need?”

Feeling bad is a sign that you are not getting what you require, not that you are a terrible person. Therefore, consider what you want. For example, if you lose your purse at home, don't think, “you are stupid.” Reflect by thinking “I cannot see where my purse is at the moment” and “I want money in order to go shopping.” Such thoughts are based on facts rather than stemming from judgmental opinions. All that would be required in such a situation would be an attempt to find out how you could meet your objective without your purse. Perhaps, you could use a credit card, or wait until you had been to the bank to get cash.

Once you've achieved your target, you will not engage in blame. Admonishment feeds negativity and does not meet your requirements. Most importantly, letting your critic loose results in a sense of poor self-worth.

Steps Toward Change

Recognize when you have, or are about to, put yourself down. Pause and allow new thoughts to emerge. Base fresh thoughts on observations and facts, not judgmental opinions.

Altering your thinking patterns to gain self-esteem can take time. After all, your disparaging inner banter developed over numerous years. Additionally, since you accepted the unfavorable judgments you made about yourself as the truth, you created a momentum of attraction, magnetizing even more derision that stemmed from internal and external sources. Reprimanding yourself might have encouraged others to follow suit and be critical of you.

Furthermore, like countless people who are hard on themselves, you might have been hard on others. When you focus on disapproval, you widen your vision to accommodate the perception of even more negativity.

For instance, if you reprimand yourself frequently regarding your appearance, you probably notice physical faults in others regarding their looks. You might inadvertently be critical of the appearance of your friends and family. You may also give strangers makeovers in your mind, since you imagine that they could look better. Thoughts such as “if only she would wear her hair differently,” and “he would look so much better if he lost weight” might occur.

According to the law of attraction, how you think alters reality. Indeed, if you engage in critical self-talk, pathways in your brain that lead to a lack of confidence build. At the same time, having low self-esteem means that you send out the vibration of negativity. The universe then reflects back to you even more reasons to think badly about yourself and others.

Replace negative thoughts with constructive reflection, and your self-belief will expand. You will start to generate positive vibrations that tell the world you are worthwhile. As a result, the universe will reflect back to you praise and appreciation. A momentum of wonderful thoughts will grow. Not only will you automatically see yourself in a new light, but also people will treat you with respect and add to how good you feel about being you.