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We all have a little voice inside our heads telling us what to do. This voice rarely shuts up and has an opinion on just about anything. It's sometimes the voice that berates us for saying or doing the "right thing." It will often tell us what we "should" or "shouldn't" be doing, and it goes into overdrive the moment we try to move out of our comfort zones. We all have this critical side, but some of us have inner critics who are so loud and domineering that it drowns out our more positive traits.
The inner critic is all about judging, and it can help us implement and plan. But it's not a great motivator or creator — it tends to poo-poo our great ideas and get us bogged down in the details.
The inner critic part of yourself may constantly compare you to other people and point out your flaws, or it may tell you that you're lazy, hopeless, a failure or ugly. In other words, it can be a bully.
This voice can make you feel upset, angry or down, and it may lead you to procrastinate, lack confidence or not take action on things that really matter to you. If someone spoke to your loved ones the way your inner critic talks to you, you wouldn't stand for it. Yet you allow this negativity to ride roughshod over you in the privacy of your own head. The way you talk to yourself affects your feelings, your behaviours and your experience of life. It can make the difference between a sense of wellbeing or a sense of failure.
So what do you do if your inner critic is being a bully?
1. Ask yourself if this way of thinking helping you feel good. If not, either ignore it or find something to acknowledge yourself for. Self-praise is like kryponite to your inner critic — so look at all your good qualities and recognize those.
2. Learn to be an observer of your own experience. You have thoughts, feelings and experiences, and just like clouds in the sky they'll move on. But YOU are the constant observer. Avoid getting attached to any one thought or feeling in particular, try letting them move through without you holding on.
3. Come up with a more empowering, positive thought about yourself and repeat it often. Notice how it can lift your energy and improve your mood.
4. Talk to yourself like a cherished child; be kind and loving. For children to thrive they need to hear three positives for every single negative comment. You're no different, so nurture yourself with words of encouragement and support and watch yourself thrive and grow.
Although it sounds simple, it can take practice to start to change your story about yourself. Be patient with your progress.