Identifying your inner critic that says, “You are not good enough or worthy of happiness or love” begins with identifying the root of that voice. When your inner critic whispers its negative talk, do not accept; do not act on it – instead face it! The first step is awareness; you need to be aware of this voice. What is that voice telling you? Does it say, “You are lazy”, “You are a failure”, “You make bad decisions”, “You are weak” etc.?
Listen to what this voice is telling you. After listening, you ask yourself: What was the origin of the voice? Think back, does it sound like a particular person from your past? Was it your parents, teacher, friend, siblings or someone else? In what situation did they utter that word which is still affecting you? Consistent criticism can forge negative beliefs about yourself.
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When you made mistakes outside your home, do authority figures or anyone call you names or put you down?
When your parents have misunderstanding, did they blame each other? Or did they blame you?
Perhaps your inner critic is saying you are dull because you could not solve your puzzle when you were younger. Then, you have grown with that mindset that you are dull; even when you make mistakes, you blame yourself. This inner critic is a liar. You are not dull; it is not your reality. Let go of that thought! Maybe your inner critic is saying you are a failure and can never be in the first position in your class because your teacher/parent says you always come second, and can never be first. It doesn’t mean you are a failure. It is not your reality! Slow down and note how you feel when you’re putting yourself down.
Get a pen and paper, draw a line.
On the one side, write left; on the other side, write right. On the left side, write what the inner critic is saying and on the right, write how you will handle the situation positively. Writing your thoughts in this way allows you to become more aware of your thoughts, and you can then make positive changes to tame your Inner Critic. Write all your negative thoughts (on the left side or your preferred section) Write as messily, creatively, or as you would like. There is no wrong way to do this. For example:
Look at what you have written on each side of the table you drew and focus on your positive response. Letting go of your inner critic requires continuous practice. Give yourself the compassion you need and deserve. Self-compassion is the healing that can soothe the wounded part of you. “Self-compassion has been defined as a self-attitude that involves treating oneself with warmth and understanding in difficult times and recognizing that making mistakes is part of being human (Neff, 2003).” (Breines & Chen, 2012).