How to Fight Your Inner Critic

self defense of self

How to Fight Your Inner Critic

In the corner

The Conflict of Self Criticism

Self-criticism is a much too common conflict. At some point, each of us has had a little voice in the back of our head tell us we screwed up, tell us we’re lazy, tell us lies.

Self-criticism and shame can lead to feelings of self-doubt, lower self-esteem, and can affect our happiness as well as our relationships.  

Our inner-critics weren’t always the bad guys. Originally, they might have even been pretty helpful, trying to keep us safe, happy, or away from danger. Maybe it was even there to motivate us. For instance, a little constructive criticism could have caused you to be detail-oriented at work or driven you to get go the extra mile to get a promotion.

But over time, many of those thoughts became more negative, judgmental, and sometimes verging on irrational.  These thoughts are never beneficial and believing them can be dangerous.

Do these sound familiar?

  • You’re a failure.
  • That was stupid, why did you say that?
  • They don’t actually like you.
  • You’re lazy
  • What’s wrong with you?
  • You’ll never get this done anyway, why bother?

Imagine if someone was saying those things to your friend. You’d get mad, wouldn’t you? You’d comfort your friend, tell them those things weren’t true, reassure them that they are a great person and that they’re doing a good job. Instinctively, you would show your friend compassion. But why can’t you show that same compassion towards yourself? You can.

The Power in Self-Compassion

self critic self forgiveThe best way to beat your self-critic is with a little self-compassion. Just as compassion for others means that you recognize the suffering that someone is going through and you show them kindness and love, self-compassion means you recognize that you are struggling or that you’ve made a mistake and showing yourself acceptance and care.

Essentially self-compassion involves acknowledging your humanity. Being human means you are going to experience some failures, some mistakes, and some lows along with your successes. Your self-critic may not be aware of that, as they set high expectations of perfection.

Combat your inner-critic with peaceful-protest, self-love and understanding with these 3 simple actions.

  • When you hear the voice starting to criticize, gently tell yourself to stay on task, you are capable, and not to listen to your own self doubt. Visualize your finished end result.
  • When you look at yourself in the mirror, tell yourself that you are a beautiful, capable, wonderful person.
  • When you realize you’ve made a mistake, even if it’s a big one, forgive yourself, for everyone makes mistakes and  remember to file it under your  “never to do again list”. We all should learn from our mistakes.

Remember, some of the most stupid things we ever do will teach us the most valuable lessons.  Be open to the gift of your mistakes for we may never know what that beholds until we mess things up.

This blog was written by Plant Food and Gratitude ‘s Intern, Laura Maloney and edited by Sue Musial Bigelow.

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