Reprogramming Your Inner Self-Critic

How’s that inner self-critic working out for you? The negative one. The one who preys on your insecurities. Confirms your self doubts and attacks your confidence. Here’s what brought her front and center for me this week.

I got an email reply that I interpreted as a put down.

My first reaction? Oh no! I’m so sorry to impose! I meant no harm! Why would I think this was OK to ask them?

Which is utter crap. Neither my perception of, nor reading of the email was logical. I need to beat myself up? The simple answer is no.

It took about 3 seconds to realize I hadn’t done anything wrong. Nada. But the self-critic in my head jumped onboard and tried to have a field day, at my expense. I was more shocked by my reaction and inner critic’s attack, than I was by the email.

My inner critic told me I was at fault. It roared that I’d offended this person! I should have known better than to ask. What was I thinking?

As soon as I heard the attack looping in my thoughts, I got mad. Then I shut her down and examined her tactics.

I thought I’d already changed my self-critic. Or at least had her under control. I’ve been able to alter her daily monologue, for the most part. So rather than streams of criticism, I just have to put up with her swift strikes. But even those need monitoring.

Reprogramming Your Inner Self-Critic

How to reprogram your self-critic

Stop replaying the negative stories in your head. As soon as one sets up shop, stop to question it’s validity.

  • Is it true?
  • Examine where it came from. Did someone say it to you and you’ve internalized it? Are you the culprit? You’re just being sure you say it about yourself first, so it’s no surprise when someone else does?
  • Change the message to a more positive one. Writing it down can help cement the new messages.
  • Is it kind? Ask if you would say that to someone you love.
  • Only allow your self-critic to focus on your conduct. Not your self and worthiness.


Occasional self-criticism is healthy and helps us see changes we need to make in our behavior. If it’s chronic, it’s hurting you.

Have you done battle with your inner self-critic lately?




    1. Thanks so much Cathy:)

  1. Recently I went to hear Elizabeth Gilbert speak and when she talked about our inner critic, which we all seem to entertain from time to time, she said she acknowledges its presence, lets it know it’s not in control and has stopped fighting or denying it. Moves forward anyway. I guess that critic shows up for all of us. I just agree that we disempower it when we shrug it off. “Ahh, it’s you again,” and, like you did in this situation, simply move on.

  2. This post really hit home for me. As a woman, I inherited the guilt gene, passed down from generation to generation through our mothers. But….being 3/4 French, the French are famous for never admitting fault or guilt. So…..I find myself constantly trying to balance those two competing tendencies.

    Sometimes people are “offended” by what you say when what they really mean is that they disagree with it. Modern sensibilities seem to find anything it disagrees with as offensive. There are a lot of people wandering around just waiting to be offended, and, guess what??? they always get seem to get what they want. Life’s funny that way.

    Cheers, my friend,


    1. That’s an interesting combo for you! I agree that woman get set up for this! I also agree people get what they want :).
      Let’s chat soon!

    1. I’m glad it hit at the right time for you. XX

  3. I’m just trying to get her to be kinder without letting me off the hook when I truly do need to own up. Feels like the holidays actually cause her to get louder.

    1. I agree I want her to let me know when I need to make changes. It’s the unwarranted hits that need to be shut down!

  4. Thought provoking post, Jen! I’ve learned to look back to the intent in a situation like this. If I can review, check my intention and know that I didn’t have a negative intent I can let it go. Sorry that happened for you but it created a worthy post.
    Happy Wednesday!

    1. Letting it go is key. So long as my inner critic doesn’t take pot shots at my confidence.

  5. Maybe it’s our caring age group, but I almost immediately start to blame myself until I realize–hey wait. I’m good here. I’ve done nothing wrong and this can happen during a conversation or as yours did online. Belief in self can go a long way. We don’t need ulcers worrying about things we didn’t do or have no control over–the other person is lashing out because they are the problem.

    1. I find it usually is the other’s problem or my over sensitivity to the situation. I think women have a harder time at this than men.

  6. It took me a long time to face the inner critic, but thankfully I did. It is life changing, for sure.

  7. Such a great reminder, Jennifer. I actually use to carry a little laminated card in my purse that said STOP! on it…and I was to look at it when I began toxic, negative thinking…it really helped me to re-program at a time when I really needed it. We are so quick to go there, and a post like this reminds us to STOP!

    1. I remember hearing of women wearing rubber bands on their wrist, to snap to remind themselves to stop a negative spiral.

  8. Wow, Jennifer this really resonated with me. I had a recent reply to an email from a lady who I Thought was a good friend, we have been in a group together for years. She has confided in me and I have been there for her.

    At first I was a bit shocked by her reply, then as you say, I started blaming myself, thinking maybe I should not be reaching out to people.

    Then I changed my self-talk, confirmed to myself all of the very positive responses and encouragement I have received to my new business. I told myself that it is not always about ME. it can be whatever is going on in HER life, the place she is at…..

    I hope all of this makes sense, your feature certainly did!! Thank you, Jennifer!

    The Arts by Karena
    More Books for the Holidays!

    1. Exactly! We can’t know what’s going on in someone elses life, but we don’t need to find fault with ourselves when we’ve done nothing wrong!

    1. I’m glad it helped Sally and you’re welcome!

  9. It is so simple. It is so obvious. It is something I rarely stop to ask myself:
    IS IT TRUE??

    1. It’s like the questions we ask before we repeat things to others. Is it true, is it kind and is it necessary.

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