FYI: With regards to what’s going on in the world right now I’ve created a free mini course “Anxiety relief toolkit” that you can participate in for free by signing up here.
Who do you think you are?
You’ll never make it?
Have you seen yourself? You look awful!
I knew you’d make a fool of yourself!
Do you recognize this voice? Most of us do whether we are aware it’s the inner critic speaking or whether we think it’s our own voice. It’s a part of you, of course, but it is not you and you have multiple voices in your head that you can choose to listen to.
When I’d come some way on my own healing journey and started to feel better my inner critic gained extra power. It started questioning whether I was worth feeling so good. It started nagging me to perform better at work now that I started to regain my strength. It tried to convince me that it would all just go sideways soon and that I was only having a bit of luck with my health.
It became clear to me that I needed to become more aware of when this voice started babbling and find ways to relate to it so that it didn’t ruin so much for me. I started to realize that a perfectly healthy body wasn’t that much worth when my inner dialogue was mean.
The most important relationship in our lives in the one to ourselves. You are the only one who will be with you for the rest of your life, no matter what happens. And you need to hang out with this person every day, always, whether you want to or not.
Many of us choose destructive behaviors to not have to meet ourselves or feel what it feels like to be human. Alcohol, sex, food, gambling, TV or whatever else. None of this necessarily has to be bad for us, it all depends on how much we use it to numb and for what reason.
We say things to ourselves that we’d never say to a friend or a child. And of course we want to find ways to shut out someone who’s mean. But what often happens when we try to ignore the voice and tell it to shut up is that it gets even louder, it doesn’t back down until it gets the attention. And it actually has its function.
The inner critic is trying to protect us. The problem is that it’s not very effective at it and it usually reacts unreasonably strong.
The first step to create change is to identify the voice of the inner critic, maybe even give it a name. When we give the voice a name and a character it’s easier to distance ourselves a bit and look at it as something a bit separate from us. When we do this we can also notice other voices in our heads. Maybe you also have an inner best friend in there somewhere. If she got the same attention as your inner critic does, what would she say?
The difference between living with a dominant mean or kind inner voice makes a huge difference to our life quality and health. When we access our inner best friend we also access self-compassion and can better deal with life’s challenges and take care of ourselves.
I’ve created a simple guide on how to identify the inner critic and invite the other voice, your inner best friend. Download it for free and let me know how all this resonates for you.
This is a guest post. Any opinions expressed are the writer’s own.