We all have an inner critic that makes us second guess ourselves. The critic questions the value of what we do, picks at the smallest things, makes us feel unworthy, anxious or sometimes obsessive. It compares us to others or to an impossible ideal. No human can ever meet the impossible standards the critic imposes. We know this logically, but how do we overcome the tendency to be our own worst critic? How can we go about making this voice quieter so that we can approach life from a place of worthiness and joy?
Decide that it’s worth the effort. Observe how tiring it is to feel “not good enough” or to constantly worry about how others see you . Notice how the critical voice tells you how to avoid failure by not taking risks, or staying quiet/invisible. The critic tells you that you are not qualified, smart enough, unworthy or too weak. Imagine waking up and feeling free of this critical voice. What would be better or different in your day? Notice the small of big changes (maybe you even write this down !). Be brave. The next step requires a small step outside your comfort zone!
Take inventory! Get a journal and make 2 columns on your page. (This can be done anytime, even when you are in the depths of “self beat-up” for something you did or didn’t do!)
- Column 1: List all of the specific thoughts that the critic tells you about yourself. You will see a pattern. When you begin to see that the thoughts are a “voice” , you can start to put some distance between the real, beautiful and more than good enough YOU, and the mean, unnecessarily harsh “inner parent”/critic.
- Column 2: “What I would say to a good friend or a loved one?” Write down a revised statement which is something you would say to someone else. This technique is called self-compassion, which means treating and speaking to yourself with the same kindness you give others. It’s ok if you don’t believe it. Over time, the kinder voice will get louder and more prevalent. Practice, practice , practice…
I promise, this kind of self-compassion will help you gain a sense of peace and freedom to be yourself. On the other side of the critic is freedom. Keep going!
Wanna be a “self-compassion over-achiever”? Try this self-compassion 5 minute meditation