How to Stop Being Your Own Worst Critic


Ever feel like you’re being too hard on yourself? Afraid to show your songs to anyone because of the possibility they won’t like them? Do you hear yourself saying things like, “I’m really hard on myself,” or, “I’m always my own worst critic?”

Well, great news!

Here are three ways you can use to help shut down the voice of the “inner critic” today to stop the insanity and start writing your best songs now!

#1 Remember that everyone starts at ZERO. Even the most experienced and successful songwriters started right where you are… at the beginning. If you’re a more advanced songwriter and think you should be even further along by now, being hard on yourself doesn’t help your creativity.

Accept that you’re a songwriter in process and that you’ve advanced with the knowledge you’ve been able to gain up to this point, but remember that there’s a lot more to come as you keep steady, keep learning, and keep writing!

#2 Realize that perfectionism is really just an untamed ego in disguise. When someone says they’re a “perfectionist,” what they are really saying is, “My ego is too fragile for me to risk rejection. I could never put myself out there and risk someone not liking me or my work because their opinion of me is more important than my own self-esteem.”

Songwriters who are overly-concerned with perfection rarely finish songs and fail to realize that it takes a lot of trial and error to be a great songwriter. If you’re unwilling to risk, you’ll never finish and certainly never “perfect” anything. Stop taking yourself so seriously and take a risk.

#3 Simply stop listening. In the end, you have the power within to make a choice to stop listening to critical thoughts about your songwriting, weight, financial status, and anything else in your life.

And, here’s the real truth about the “inner critic” – there is no such thing. What we’ve called “our inner critic” is nothing but a nasty habit we’ve developed to shield ourselves from the possibility of risking failure. We can just as easily turn the inner critic into an inner “cheerleader” with a little intention and daily practice.

In fact, God didn’t give us an “inner critic,” but the Holy Spirit (John 15) to cheer us on and to equip us to be the greatest expression of Jesus we can be in this world. How would it change our songwriting, and our entire lives, if we chose to shut down any critical voices we’ve manufactured to listen to the Holy Cheerleader within us?

Nashville Christian Songwriters exists “to empower Christian songwriters worldwide,” and that includes our inner attitudes and beliefs about ourselves and God. To go even further, consider joining NCS Membership to access monthly masterclasses and join a growing community of dedicated Christian songwriters seeking to change the world one great song at a time.

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This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Kristi

    That was really good…thank you!

  2. Brittany

    Yep! This is a great article! Needed to hear some of this! Thanks John!

  3. Deedee

    Hi John, yes, Holy cheerleader, I like that! Thank you for the ecouragement!

  4. Kristen Bowers

    Thank you for that!
    I loved your saying that a perfectionist is someone with an ego too fragile to risk rejection. It completely fits that “perfectionists” rarely finish songs (that has been me, but is and will be changing).
    And I would venture that the opinions of man are honored more than who God says we are.
    I would also venture that the negative voices we hear in our heads are often demonically inspired. It’s excellent saying that we have a choice to follow them or God.

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