Silencing the Inner Critic: How to Stop Bullying Yourself

By Kimberley Borgens

There is a voice inside all of us. We hear it as one that questions our every move, casts doubt on our capabilities, and echoes the sentiments of self-bullying. It is the voice of our inner critic, a phenomenon that is as familiar as it is detrimental.

In entrepreneurship, where courage and resilience reign, there’s a nagging voice inside that can become a roadblock that impedes progress, dampens self-belief, and prevents us from reaching our true potential. However, within this challenge lies an opportunity, an invitation to harness our inner strength and transform our critic into an ally that supports, nurtures, and guides us toward greatness.

Distinguishing Inner Criticism from Intuition

Along our entrepreneurial journey, there is an interplay between our inner critic and the whispers of intuition. As women entrepreneurs, we possess an innate ability to sense the nuances of our endeavors, to hear the faint echoes of our dreams, and to chart the course of our businesses guided by an inner compass. Yet, the critic’s voice can sometimes speak loudly, threatening to drown out our intuition.

It is essential that we learn to distinguish between these two voices. Here’s how we can learn to listen to them distinctly.

Intuition: The Voice of the Heart

Intuition carries genuine insight and emotional and authentic resonance. It appears as a whisper, a gentle nudge that urges us toward decisions aligned with our core values, passions, and ultimate purpose. Intuition reveals itself in moments of quiet reflection, guiding us through uncharted territories with a sense of assurance and grace.

Inner Criticism: The Ego’s Echo

In contrast, inner criticism often appears as the echo of the ego—an entity fueled by fear and doubt. This voice, however convincing it may be, stems from a place of self-preservation and resistance to change. It mirrors the hesitations that accompany stepping outside comfort zones and embarking on adventures. Our inner dialogue becomes riddled with skepticism, echoing past wounds and societal expectations.

We need to become skilled at discerning these voices. Intuition arises from authenticity, reflecting our genuine desires and aspirations. On the other hand, the inner critic thrives on doubt and clouds our judgment.

The Dance of Discernment

The art of distinguishing intuition from inner criticism requires a mindful dance. This dance invites us to listen with unwavering attention to the whispers of our hearts. When faced with a decision, pause for a moment of stillness. Feel the vibrations resonating within you. Is it a gentle pull, an alignment with your values? That is the tender touch of intuition. Or does it manifest as a disquieting unease of negativity?

Empowering Through Reframing: Unearthing Truth in Criticism

One thing we will find is that we possess the power to transform sefl-criticism into growth and empowerment. This is the act of reframing—a space where we look for the hidden gems of truth embedded within the fabric of criticism.

Reframing: Shining the Light on Clarity

As I mentioned before, business ownership calls for courage and resilience. Reframing reminds us that we already possess these qualities and shines a light on our clarity and purpose. It invites us to look beyond the surface, explore the essence of the criticism, and unearth the truths that lie within.

Finding Truth in Criticism

Criticism, often perceived as oppressive, can actually be a mirror reflecting aspects we might have overlooked in our pursuit of excellence. When you become self-aware, self-criticism becomes a tool for self-improvement. However, the key lies not in dismissing the criticism but in discerning its core.

So, when criticism arises, explore its purpose. Peel back the layers of judgment and delve into its essence. What is the underlying message? Could there be any wisdom to gain or an opportunity for growth? Reframing gives us actionable insights, propelling us forward with renewed determination.

The Alchemy of Empowerment

Reframing is the alchemy of empowerment—a transformative process that turns negativity into precious knowledge. By engaging in this inquiry, we rise above the surface and find self-discovery. We find lessons in setbacks, convert doubts into stepping stones, and harness the power of the present moment to shape a promising future.

Retraining Your Inner Ally: Shifting from Critic to Advisor

At the heart of our entrepreneurial journey, we possess an extraordinary ability to transform the inner critic into a trusted advisor. Imagine harnessing the transformation of converting doubt into guidance and fear into constructive counsel. Today, we delve into the art of retraining as we reshape the very fabric of our self-dialogue.

The Inner Ally: A Beacon of Guidance

Within each of us resides inner wisdom that, when harnessed, can transcend the boundaries of doubt and elevate us to new heights. This wisdom is our inner ally, a trusted confidant eager to assist, advise, and propel us toward success. Yet, in the messiness of life, its voice can be overshadowed by the echoes of self-criticism.

Shifting from Critic to Advisor

Shifting from the role of an inner critic to that of a trusted advisor is an act of empowerment that calls for a new script of our self-narrative. It beckons us to challenge the status quo, redefine our relationship with self-doubt, and embark on a journey of self-discovery. As women entrepreneurs, this shift is a blessing that leads us out of negativity and into our inner guidance.

Consider this: the critic, although born from a place of concern, can overstep its bounds, often undermining our potential and limiting our growth. But by retraining this voice, we regain the reins of control. We teach our inner ally to speak with the same enthusiasm but with a language that empowers rather than hinders, inviting us to explore, experiment, and evolve.

Nurturing the Inner Dialogue

To begin this transformation, engage in a dialogue that acknowledges the concerns of your critic while challenging it to present its case constructively. When faced with doubt, ask yourself, “What lessons can I learn from this? How can this challenge become an opportunity?” By initiating this dialogue, you bridge the gap between criticism and guidance as you pave the way for your inner ally to flourish.

In nurturing your inner dialogue, remember that growth is not linear; it’s a winding road of progress and setbacks. Your inner ally understands this. It doesn’t expect perfection; it calls for resilience. Remember, you can nurture your inner ally, tending to the potential that lies within you.

Embrace the Transformation

Retraining your inner ally is an embrace of transformation that grants you the power to steer your ship through stormy waters with unwavering resolve. As you shift from critic to advisor, you begin a journey of self-empowerment guided by your inner ally.

Along this journey, let the inner ally’s voice rise above self-doubt with the wisdom of experience and self-assuredness. Let this transformation be a testament to your commitment to forging your path and uplifting your spirit.

Setting Boundaries: Connecting to Who You Are

This journey that calls for us to shape our businesses also calls us to develop a profound connection with ourselves. Among all our challenges and triumphs, we are granted a remarkable opportunity—to embrace who we are, define our boundaries, and craft a sanctuary where our growth thrives. This is where setting boundaries comes in—a practice that takes us from passive recipients of criticism to empowered architects of our destiny.

The Essence of Boundaries

Boundaries are the guardians of our emotional landscape, brought together with self-respect, growth, and self-empowerment. They are not barriers that confine us; they guide us toward self-discovery. Instead of constricting us, they create definition and purpose.

Connecting with Who We Are

At the heart of boundary-setting lies embracing who we are—a recognition that we are no longer tethered to the insecurities of our past. We are now architects of our lives, equipped with the discernment to hear the wisdom of our intuition. This self-love entails a conscious shift that elevates you from a passive observer of your thoughts to a proactive curator of your internal dialogue.

In this pivotal transition, acknowledge that your inner critic, though once a protector, is just one voice among the ensemble of your experiences. It’s time to explore your authenticity—to set boundaries that nurture growth, foster self-compassion, and safeguard your journey from negativity.

Conquering Fear: Stepping into Growth

In the heart of every entrepreneur’s journey, fear emerges as both a relentless adversary and a compelling ally. It stands as a crossroads, offering us a choice—to be immobilized by its grip or to harness its energy as a catalyst for growth. As we gather our strength and set our sights on greatness, let’s conquer fear and pave the way for success.

Fear: The Dual Nature

Fear is a force that dances on the spectrum of possibility. It has a dual nature—a shadow looming over our ambitions and a beacon illuminating the path to transformation. The question is: How do we navigate this fear and harness its energy to propel us toward our potential?

A Shift in Perspective

The key lies in a shift from fear’s hold over us to fear’s role as a springboard. Imagine fear not as an insurmountable barrier but as an opportunity for our courage to climb, guiding us to new places. As women entrepreneurs, we can redefine fear’s narrative—to view it not as an omen of failure but as a sign of potential growth.

Stepping into the Arena

Conquering fear demands we step into discomfort where growth flourishes, and self-assuredness is nurtured. This is where we confront our self-criticism, doubts, and rejection head-on. As we stand at the intersection of fear and tenacity, remember that courage is not the absence of fear but the willingness to act despite its presence.

Think of fear as a guide that takes us to the threshold of our capacity. Just as a sculptor chisels away excess stone to unveil a masterpiece, fear challenges us to chisel away self-doubt, unveiling the sculpture of our potential.

Embrace the Unknown

The path of entrepreneurship is a terrain uncharted, where uncertainty meets aspiration. In this embrace of the unknown, fear becomes an invitation—a dare to venture beyond the confines of comfort, to transcend the familiar, and to immerse ourselves in the exhilarating currents of growth.

As you navigate this landscape, remember that every woman who has etched her name into history has walked alongside fear. They have felt its presence, acknowledged its power, and defied its limitations. And so can you.

Embodying Fearlessness

Embodying fearlessness is not eradicating fear but a conscious decision to redefine its role. It is acknowledging fear’s presence while letting your aspirations shine brighter. It is the resilience to rise in the face of uncertainty, unwavering in your pursuit of greatness.

Fear is not your adversary but your invitation to dance with destiny. It is the catalyst that propels you toward self-discovery, empowerment, and the boundless horizons of your potential.

Unleash Your Inner Ally and Thrive

Your inner ally is an advocate forged from your experiences, aspirations, and resilience. This ally is your wisdom and intuition that embody your unwavering faith in your capacity. Your inner ally guides you through the storms and triumphs, reminding you that you possess the artistry to transform challenges into stepping stones.

Unleashing your inner ally is an affirmation that you are not defined by fear. It is a testament to your resolve to rise above self-imposed limitations and thrive in your full potential.

So I encourage you to stop bullying yourself. Remember, you have the power to rewrite your narrative and sculpt your destiny.

Kimberley Borgens

About the author

Kimberley Borgens was married at 18, a mother at 19, and divorced at 20, she has journeyed from being a single mom on welfare to recognizing her strengths, fighting for what she believes in, and successfully building 5 thriving businesses with hundreds of employees and million-dollar budgets. Kimberley is a speaker, business mentor, and coaches her clients to transform their small business into a thriving business. Kimberley is living her own legacy as she inspires and motivates women to be fearless, become more like a CEO of their business and life, and enjoy the freedom they've dreamed of. She knows what it's like to start from nothing and build a strong solid business and she can help you too.

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