Most of the time my inner critic is also my biggest supporter. I am a naturally positive and optimistic thinker. In situations where everyone else may see doom, I see the blessing in even the hardest of times. This attitude has helped me through all of life’s struggles. It’s kept me strong in times of hopelessness and despair. It’s shown me that kindness to both myself and others is a true test of character. For the most part, my inner critic has become the voice that motivates and cheers through my accomplishments and aspirations. Every so often, seeds of doubt begin to creep in. Wondering if my contentment is an illusion, does everyone else seem happier? Comparing myself to others and judging their smiles to mine. Watching a rom-com movie and dreaming of a different life. Working a job that seems to be going nowhere. Wishing that I magically had it all.
Although my inner critic is a great strength, once those doubts have been planted it continues to grow. It grows until you forget all of your triumphs and only see the negatives. No other person in the world can tear you down, like YOU. Their words and judgments may hurt but it only has an effect if you believe them. If your inner critic accepts and agrees. It’s truly a slippery slope and it doesn’t mean that you are weak-minded, only that you are human. Even the happiness of people have their own fears, failures, and self-doubts. There will never be someone who is happy and confident all the time, including you, but allowing the negative voice of your inner critic control will always damage your mindset. To whatever situation has brought you, here are 5 ways to gain clarity when your inner critic speaks up.
#1. Analyze Your Thoughts
Being mindful of your personal achievements along with the fears and doubts is a complex balance. It’s a tipping scale and letting the negatives outweigh the positives is a downward spiral. In one moment you are happy, confident and bright but with the right intrusive questions everything fades. Your thoughts become saddened and without realizing, our worst critic emerges. Take a moment to check in with yourself and analyze why the negative thoughts and emotions are influencing your mindset. Are you truly unhappy? Lonely? Or just being too hard on yourself?
#2. Let Go of Control
Even the best-laid plans can fall through. Since childhood, the average millennial has learned to be organized and well-managed in an effort to control their lives. Parents and mentors encouraged us to be thoughtful of the future. We learned through school and college to be self-dependent and our achievements are testaments to those periods. The millennial generation are doers, planners and control freaks. Thriving for social media glory and control of our filter-storied lives. Think about something, rather an image or object that you are holding onto but it only brings stress. Is it worth the time or should you let it go?
#3. Create a Gratitude List
When the negative voice of your inner critic screams, it’s hard to ignore. It tells you that everything has gone wrong and will never get better. Beating you down layer by layer until even the strongest of minds becomes toxic. Your mental health is easily effected and will ultimately influence your self-image and personal happiness. There are many benefits to creating a gratitude list but one of the best is that it gives the ability to focus on the positives instead of the negatives. For every thought that makes you feel defeated or hurt, think of 3 things that make you happy right now. 3 things that you couldn’t imagine living without, that makes it all worthwhile.
Disclaimer: I am not nor do I claim to be a licensed professional therapist or counselor. Should you require help for a mental illness or issue, please contact the appropriate channels. National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
#4. Practice Self-Affirmations
Throughout our daily routines we can often lose focus of a simple notion, compassion. Kindness to ourselves without criticism and judgment. We all shield our wounds and battles scars inflicted by the world that our minds should not be a contributing opponent. Finding the space within your day to practice self-affirmations such as, “I am beloved” or even “I am beautiful and worthy” will always outshine the pessimistic opinions we impose upon ourselves.
#5. Love Yourself Unconditionally
You’ll make mistakes and no matter how hard you try your life will never be perfect. We all have a vision of the future and most forsee it without any disturbances or sharp turns. But every path, no matter how well-planned is subject to change and some roads are rougher than others. Criticizing yourself will never have a positive change or impact. Instead, forgive all the self-perceived failures. Let yourself take chances and be supportive through both the successes and defeats.
What are some of the things you do when your negative inner critic speaks up?
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