In my last blog, I talked about how your self-esteem can affect your love life, but of course if can affect every area of your life – so today I’m going to talk about your inner critic.
Your inner critic is that voice inside your head that tells you you’re worthless. It takes great pleasure in pointing out all the things you’ve done wrong, things you should (or should not) have done or said, and generally makes you feel rubbish.
But here’s the thing – we all have an inner critic (yes, even counsellors!), but its purpose is to keep us safe. We think it’s our enemy, but it’s actually our friend.
We’re not born with this critical voice, but over time, our experiences start to shape how we perceive and understand the world and our inner critic starts to develop based on these experiences, including societal values and expectations.
But, over time, it can start getting a bit too critical of things we do that it perceives as ‘wrong’, and starts treating ‘don’t step out into traffic because you’ll get run over’ with the same power as ‘don’t lie in bed all morning because you’ll waste the day’, and so we start beating ourselves up for having a lie-in on a Saturday morning. And often, it’s not too long before the critical voice turns from ‘you’ve wasted the day’ to ‘you’re not good enough’.
And of course, practice makes perfect, so before we know it, listening to the critical inner voice becomes our automatic default setting – and we believe every word it says.
But you can stop this by making a concerted effort to notice what you’re inner critic is saying.
Is what it’s saying true?
And if it is true, what evidence to you have?
Do have any evidence to counter this?
Remember to be kind to yourself when you do this. None of us are perfect and there are many times when we can look back and wish we had done things differently, but it’s worth remembering that we make decisions based on the information we have at the time – we didn’t have the benefit of hindsight to show us what we could have done differently. In these instances, we just need to treat them as lessons learned.
As I said earlier, our inner critic is there to keep us safe, so treat it as a well-meaning friend. You don’t have to believe everything it says, but you don’t have to be angry at it either. Just thank it for its input and move on in whatever way you see fit.
The more you notice the negative things your inner voice is saying, the greater the opportunity you have to challenge it, and eventually the critical part of your inner voice will have less power. You’ll feel more in control of your life, and feel more positive about yourself.
Your inner voice is your best friend. It will always be with you, so make sure you treat it with the love and kindness you deserve.
Until next time…