8 signs your inner-voice isn’t very kind, according to psychology

If you’ve ever found yourself stuck in a loop of negative self-talk, you’re not alone. We all live with a constant inner chatter, but sometimes it can be less than kind.

Often, our inner-voice can skew towards criticism, doubt, or fear. It might even feel like you’re your own worst enemy at times. But it’s important to remember that this isn’t a personal failing – our inner-voices are shaped by various psychological factors.

Psychology offers valuable insights into why our inner-voice can sometimes be harsh and how to identify when it’s not serving us well.

So, let’s take a closer look at 8 signs your inner-voice isn’t very kind, according to psychology.

Understanding these signs could be your first step toward a healthier and more compassionate inner dialogue.

1) You’re constantly criticizing yourself

How often do you catch yourself in a cycle of self-criticism? “I should have done this differently,” “Why can’t I get this right?” or “I’m such a failure.”

Sound familiar?

Psychologists say that this is one of the key signs that your inner-voice isn’t very kind.

Self-criticism, while it can sometimes motivate us to improve, often leads us down a path of endless second-guessing and self-doubt.

It’s like having a harsh critic in your head, constantly pointing out your flaws and mistakes. And when this voice is dominant, it can significantly impact our mental health and well-being.

Remember, everyone makes mistakes and no one is perfect. It’s natural to want to improve and grow, but constant self-criticism is not the healthy way to do it.

Recognizing this sign is the first step towards cultivating a more compassionate and supportive inner-voice.

2) You’re always anticipating the worst

Ever find yourself repeatedly imagining worst-case scenarios? “What if I mess up?” “What if they don’t like me?” “What if I fail?”

This might seem like a form of preparedness, but it’s actually another sign of a harsh inner-voice, according to psychology.

It’s your inner-voice in overdrive, constantly projecting negative outcomes even before they happen. This can leave you feeling stressed, anxious, and even paralyzed with fear.

Contrary to popular belief, this isn’t a sign of being ‘realistic’ or ‘prepared’. In fact, it’s often a manifestation of self-doubt and fear that can hold you back from taking risks, trying new things, and living your life to the fullest.

3) You’re quick to dismiss compliments

When someone praises you, is your first instinct to brush it off or downplay it? “They’re just being nice,” “They don’t really mean it,” “I’m not really that good.” These are classic signs of a harsh inner-voice.

Interestingly, psychologists have found that people often use this dismissal as a protective mechanism.

The idea is that, by minimizing the compliment, you’re reducing the risk of future disappointment or failure.

But in reality, this habit only serves to reinforce your self-doubt and negativity.

Accepting compliments graciously doesn’t mean you’re arrogant. It means you acknowledge your strengths and skills. By recognizing this pattern, you can learn to accept compliments with grace and positivity, fostering a kinder and more supportive inner-voice.

4) You’re always comparing yourself to others

Do you find yourself constantly measuring your worth against others? “They’re so much more successful,” “I wish I was as talented,” “Why can’t I be more like them?” 

This comparison game is a clear sign of an unkind inner-voice.

Remember, each one of us is on our own unique journey, with our individual highs and lows.

It’s human nature to look at others and wish we had what they have, but this often leads to feeling inadequate or less than.

The truth is, you have your own strengths, talents, and accomplishments. Recognizing this can help shift the focus back to your own growth and self-improvement, nurturing a more loving and supportive inner-voice.

5) You dwell on past mistakes

man low self worth 8 signs your inner-voice isn't very kind, according to psychology

Do past mistakes and failures keep you awake at night? “I shouldn’t have said that,” “I wish I’d done things differently,” “If only I could go back in time.”

If these thoughts consume you, it’s a telltale sign that your inner-voice is not very kind.

We all mess up sometimes; it’s part of being human. Learning from our mistakes is important, but constantly replaying them in our minds does more harm than good.

It can even prevent you from taking decisive action in your present life. This has been a big issue for me — overwhelmed by the less-than-perfect decisions from the past, I was getting frozen when facing a new challenge that demanded decisive action from me. 

Only once I accepted that it’s human to sometimes do things wrong, I was able to slowly overcome this hurdle. And, after all, as the saying goes, failure is only failure if you didn’t learn anything!

So, try to see these past experiences as lessons learned. This shift in perspective can help soften your inner-voice and pave the way for personal growth and self-forgiveness.

6) You set unattainably high standards for yourself

Ever set a goal so high that it almost feels impossible to achieve? “I need to be the best,” “I must not make any mistakes,” “I should always be productive.”

If this sounds like you, it’s another sign of an unkind inner-voice.

For example, imagine you’re running a marathon for the first time. Instead of aiming to finish and enjoy the experience, your inner-voice insists you must finish first.

This unrealistic expectation sets you up for disappointment and self-criticism.

Setting high standards can be motivating, but when they become unattainable, they can lead to feelings of inadequacy and failure.

7) You’re frequently apologizing for yourself

Are you constantly saying “I’m sorry” even when it’s not warranted? “Sorry for asking,” “Sorry for taking up your time,” “Sorry for being myself.”

If this sounds like you, it’s another sign that your inner-voice is being too harsh.

Apologies are crucial when we’ve done something wrong, but excessive apologies can diminish your self-worth and make you feel invisible.

It’s time to recognize that you have every right to voice your opinions, ask questions, and simply be yourself without constant apology.

Your words and presence matter. Embracing this truth can help transform your inner-voice into one that values and respects who you are.

8) You struggle to acknowledge your worth

Do you find it hard to recognize your value? “I’m not good enough,” “I don’t deserve this,” “I’m not worthy.”

If these thoughts are frequently running through your mind, this is a key sign that your inner-voice is not being kind.

The most important thing to remember is that you are inherently valuable, just as you are. Your worth is not determined by external factors like success, appearance, or other people’s opinions. It comes from within.

Acknowledging your worth can be a challenge, but it’s an essential step towards cultivating a kinder inner-voice. You deserve kindness and respect, not only from others but also from yourself. Never forget that.


Embracing self-kindness is one of the most transformative steps you can take in your life—and it all begins with how you talk to yourself.

This article has shed light on some signs that your inner-voice may not be as kind as it could be, but remember, change starts with awareness.

Time spent cultivating a kinder inner-voice is an investment in your mental and emotional well-being.

And having the wisdom to nurture self-love means being brave enough not to let your inner critic control your thoughts and actions.

Here’s to fostering a more compassionate, supportive, and kinder relationship with yourself!

Picture of Justyna Cyrankiewicz

Justyna Cyrankiewicz

I’m Justyna Cyrankiewicz, and I write about the simple things for overcomplicated minds. After overcoming a 6-year-long depression, I reframed the way I live and think. I've incorporated a long, uninterrupted meditation practice into my daily routine. Seeking deeper clarity, I strive to simplify every aspect of my life. Through my writing, I aim to share insights and practical methods to help us find greater happiness and peace. If you’d like to read more from me, consider subscribing to my newsletter: Justyna Cyrankiewicz

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