What if I told you that you most certainly CAN silence the inner critic? That your word is more powerful than what was previously conditioned in your mind? And that by following just a few simple steps, you can create a new inner dialogue that supports you unconditionally?
I have struggled with self-criticism for most of my life. The pain would sometimes be so excruciating that I would self-harm out of pure hatred I felt for myself.
“You’re such an idiot”
“You’re so stupid”
“You can’t do anything right”
These were some of my go-to phrases when I felt disappointed. And guess what? These were also the phrases I heard growing up when I performed less than perfect.
Our inner critic can sometimes stem from how our parents spoke to us as children or how they spoke to themselves…It could stem from our school experience, our culture, media, our society and really anything that we observe over a period of time.
Because of this continuous exposure, we believe it to be true and we adopt those very same methods of relating to ourselves, only adding more to the pain we feel.
But what if your parents taught you self-compassion instead of calling you degrading names when you messed up?
What if school teachers encouraged your strengths rather than criticize your weaknesses?
What if media also beautified curves and less than model type figures?
…Do you think you’d have a different way of relating to yourself then?
Here are a few ways to begin silencing your inner-critic and strengthening the voice of love…
1-Become aware of your inner critic. A good way to start identifying the voice of the inner critic is by paying attention to the words and phrases that automatically come up for you when you mess up, embarrass yourself, upset someone, get rejected, perform poorly, etc. Simply become aware of those thoughts and how it makes you feel. When you get a good idea of what those words and phrases are that come up for you during those times, write them down. Meditation is super helpful for this.
2-While looking at those phrases that you wrote down, try and pin point where you learned to relate to yourself in that way? Was it someone that spoke to you in that manner? Was it something you simply observed and therefore believed it to be true? By identifying where you learned this inner dialogue from, it allows you to cut ties with that source.
3-Go through your list and ask yourself, “Is this absolutely true about me?” And if you answered YES to them, then ask yourself “Is it true that everyone in the whole wide world thinks about me this way?” By asking yourself this powerful question, you realize that you are basing your perception of yourself on the opinions of just a few people.
Go through your list and write the opposite of your negative words and phrases.
Ex: Change “You’re such an idiot”to“I messed up and that’s okay.”
Change “You’re so stupid”to “This just tells me that I need more work on this area. No worries, I got this.”
Change “You can’t do anything right”to “If I keep practicing, I know I’ll improve.”
Change “I’m ugly” to“I am beautiful the way I am.”
Best way to look at this is by thinking about how you console someone you love when you see them in pain. What kind words or gestures do you show them and do those very same things to yourself.
How we talk to ourselves is everything! This change in self-talk will take some time and will feel really silly at first…Your ego will also try to defend this change that you’re making by telling you that it can’t be done. DON’T LISTEN. Your ego likes what it knows…It prefers it’s old ways of consoling (even though it’s not the most productive way to self-help) rather than trying something new and unknown. CONSISTENCY AND REPITITION IS KEY FOR TRANSFORMATION.Be kind to yourself during this process. When ever we are undergoing some kind of change or trying something new, that’s when our inner critic is the loudest. Be aware of this and make sure to be kind to yourself…Reaffirming that you are learning and that you are doing just fine. We all have a unique process of leaning.
4-Remove yourself from environments or from people that bring you down or don’t make you feel good. For a while during graduate school, I was living with my mom, and although I love her to death, I couldn’t help but get affected by the way she treated herself and would sometimes make me feel. As soon as I left home, I felt an immediate relief and noticed that my inner critic was less apparent. Same goes with what we choose to expose ourselves to—social media, news, gossip magazines, you name it.
5-Start surrounding yourself with people, podcasts, books, music and affirmations that promote you feeling good. Everyday, I say my affirmations out loud, read empowering books, or listen to a hypnosis to strengthen my subconscious mind to believe that I am worthy, prosperous, kind, loving and all of the wonderful things I choose to embody. YouTube has a ton of free recordings! Search positive affirmations.
Be consistent with your practice. All change takes time…Imagine how long it took for your self-talk to develop? Years and years…Therefore the more you practice these steps, the quicker you change your inner critic to a voice of love and support.
If I can do it, you can too!
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