“You’ll never be able to do this.” “What were you thinking, you idiot?” “You will always get it wrong.” Ever hear those words in your head? Sometimes that little voice in our head can be a real jerk. And if given free reign, it will keep on speaking lies and we’ll keep on listening to them. It’s time to tell that naysayer to zip it! But do you know how to silence the negative self-talk and get it to stay quiet, even when you come up against obstacles?
You’d probably never dream of speaking to someone else the way you spout off to yourself. And if you heard someone browbeating your friends or loved ones the way you regularly slice yourself up, you’d come unglued and rush to their defense, right?
So why don’t we silence the inner bully?
At some level, we do this because we don’t see ourselves as God does. We allow ourselves to believe what the world tells us.
We get our identity wrapped up in what we do, accomplish, look like, and so forth. We lose sight of the fact that in Christ, we are precious children of God.
How to Muffle the Meany
Remember Who You Are
If we are going to mute the muttering going on in our heads, we need to start by reminding ourselves of our true identity.
As believers, we are forgiven, redeemed, loved.
We are equipped, empowered, and enough because we stand in the the righteousness of Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.
Identify Whose Voice We’re Hearing
When the voice in our head is belittling us we can know it is not the voice of the Holy Spirit.
In John 14:25-27, Jesus explained how they would guard themselves against the persecution they would face from without and the doubts they would experience within. Listen to what he says,
All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.“
Does that sound like the Holy Spirit is someone who would slam and scorn you? I don’t think so. He is our Advocate. He is for us, not against us.
While the Holy Spirit can speak truth into our hearts and minds that can be painful to hear, He speaks truth to build us up not tear us down. He reminds us of God’s teaching, character, and promises. He reminds us of who we truly are in Christ. If we follow His voice, the outcome will be peace.
All of that is so different from they way I tend to talk to myself. While the Holy Spirit teaches me, my negative self-talk rips me to shreds. The result is anything but peace.
Replace Your Words with God’s Words
In many ways, beating ourselves up or filling our mind with self-doubt is a bad habit.
We habitually default to the old messages that drew blood the first time we heard them. Maybe the words originated in the mouths of a parent, sibling, classmate, teacher, or some stranger. But now, they are self-inflicted.
I’ve discovered something important about eliminating a bad habit: It is so much easier and more effective to replace the bad with something good.
So, fill your mind with God’s Word. Spend time reading the Scriptures. Use an app on your phone to listen to the Bible while you exercise, clean, cook, or commute. Saturate your mind with Truth.
Instead of listening to yourself and those old scripts, listen to God. Let him write new scripts on your heart and mind.
Then, the next time you rev up the self-ridicule, silence it with some of God’s truth and grace.
Grab this Scripture Cheat Sheet
I’ve pulled together some of my favorite verses for various situations that tend to trigger my negative self-talk. I’d be happy to send you a copy via email. Just click the button or image below to request your copy and I’ll send it right away! Then you’ll be ready to silence your inner critic with some of God’s truth and grace.
Question: What situations trigger your inner critic? You can leave a comment by clicking here.