That nasty, nagging voice inside your head.
“I can’t do anything right. I’m not good enough. I will never pull it through. I’m useless.”
It doesn’t matter how much you try to do your best – it never seems good enough. The voice is almost always there.
Your diligent inner critic.
It mocks you in the morning, your rumpled face and tousled hair: “You look awful! You need to get to bed earlier.”
It keeps you from taking opportunities and trying new things, crippling you with self-doubt and apathy: “You will never pull it off, just forget it!”
And if you do achieve something great, it devalues you with its poison whisper: “You just got lucky,” or “If it wasn’t for your sister, you would never be able to manage it.”
It fills you with anxiety, worry and low self-esteem.
There are days when you think it might crush and kill you.
You negative inner voice.
Who Is Your Inner Critic?
And where does she come from?
That voice comes from your past.
”The critical inner voice is formed out of painful early life experiences in which we witnessed or experienced hurtful attitudes toward us or those close to us. As we grow up, we unconsciously adopt and integrate this pattern of destructive thoughts toward ourselves and others. When we fail to identify and separate from this inner critic, we allow it to impact our behavior and shape the direction of our lives.”
When you try to ignore your inner critic or tell it to shut up, the voice becomes even louder … to make sure you listen.
Is there a solution?
Dealing with the trauma of childhood abuse is a challenge you have to face if you want to heal your wounds. And therapy is an important part of the healing.
But what if you are not in therapy yet? How can you manage your inner voice and start feeling better about yourself now?
Let me share with you some easy steps that have helped my clients and me to deal with that inner critic and keep her from spoiling our lives.
Build a Distance Between Your Inner Critic and Yourself
You already know that the voice in your head saying, “I’m such a loser,” and “I can’t do anything right,” is not you.
Now, building a distance between you and your inner critic is crucial.
Here’s what you do.
1. Personalize your inner critic by giving her a name.
I call mine Miss Perfect.
She gives me a hard time telling me I’m useless and not good enough to be loved.
She sounds like my mum.
Distancing myself from this voice was the first helpful tool I learned.
Now it’s your turn.
Grab a sheet of paper and write your inner critic’s name down. Say hello to her.
Over the next couple of days, write down what she tells you, in detail.
2. Turn “I” statements into “you” statements.
Yes, get your list and rewrite each “I” statement into a “you” statement.
“I can’t do anything right.” ~ “You can’t do anything right.”
“I’m useless.” ~ “You are useless.”
Read it aloud a couple of times to get a feeling for it.
The next time you hear this voice, remind yourself that it’s your Miss Perfect talking, not you.
3. Get rid of the absolutes like “always” and “never.”
Let’s increase the distance between you and your inner critic.
Here’s what I want you to do:
Change “always” and “never” statements into specific ones.
Be kind to yourself.
Your inner critic might tell you, “You always forget where you put your car keys.”
Change it into, “When I’m busy I might forget where I left my car keys. So what?”
Now it’s your turn.
Pick out all the “always” and “never” statements from your list and find an alternative to each of them.
Feeling less overwhelmed?
I bet you are.
Keep practising so it becomes a habit.
4. Turn negative statements into neutral statements.
And feel instantly better.
Let’s say your inner voice tells you that you’re fat, and you think:
“I did gain five pounds. She’s right, I’m ugly.” You feel miserable, right?
Here’s how to neutralize that negative statement so you feel good about yourself:
Paint the situations your inner critic is nagging you about, in neutral colors. Name the facts. Add what you think will help you to make it better.
“Yes, I want to lose a couple of pounds. Last week I was too stressed and tired so I ate more and skipped my exercises. I’m more relaxed now, and I can go back to my usual routine.”
Don’t exaggerate, though, or your internal lie detector might fire off, making you feel worse.
Now it is your turn.
What does your Miss Perfect like to nag you about the most?
Write down two or three of her favorite statements.
Now, write down alternatives to these statements. Stay neutral and stick to the facts.
5. Change “should” statements into “could” statements.
Your inner critic:
“You should’ve told her to mind her tone of voice.”
“I could’ve told her to mind her tone of voice, but I decided not to spoil my evening.”
Being kind to yourself helps you to develop self-compassion and add kindness to the world.Click To Tweet
Make a Reality Check
What your mother or Inner Critic tells you is just an opinion, not a hard fact.
So, the next time you hear their critique, ask yourself:
“Is it a real problem?”
E.g.: “You’re a bad mother.”
“Am I really a bad mother?”
Answer these questions:
Do you love your children? Are they happy? Are they successful in their lives? Do you feel they love you?
See what I mean?
You must’ve done something right.
Tell your Miss Perfect to back off.
You are good enough as you are.
Need someone to remind you that?
Connect with me on social media, read more articles on my Blog and on Facebook Instant Articles. I’m here to help you.
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