What to do if you’re your own worst critic
“I AM Two of the most powerful words, for what you put after them shapes your reality.” ~UNKNOWN
We all have a worst critic, it’s highly likely that it’s you. This inner critic is a silent but loud voice in our head that tells us what we did wasn’t good enough, smart enough, or makes us doubt ourselves. As a 6 on the Enneagram, I have more than 1 critic, I have a damn committee up in my head!
Over the last few years, I’ve learned to pay attention and was shocked by what I noticed. How I talked to myself was nasty, mean, and judgemental!
If I wanted self-respect, self-confidence, and self-worth – basically a HEALTHY relationship with myself, I had to stop this madness. And I have. I’ve worked hard to stop these criticisms, and every once in a while I catch myself (because I’m not perfect), I correct my self-talk and then move ahead with kindness.
Do you talk to yourself critically? Can you relate?
I know I’m not alone here. I know you most likely do it too.
Show your love instead of your doubt
Let me ask you, have you thought about how it’s helpful to your mental health?
Think about it, does it help you along in life, or hinder you?
I bet it hinders you. It hindered me.
The negative inner voice helps grow perfectionism, procrastination, stifles motivation, and keeps us in a negative mindset like this black mold on our soul. Add to the mix a smidge (or boatload) of complaining you have a nice pile of poo that you bathe yourself in, don’t cha?
Stopping the negative inner dialog, that inner critic, can be a game changer in your life.
Why? Well, look at the bathing in poo metaphor above- that will stop. Perhaps you can bathe in peonies, freesia, or lilacs instead. Also, speaking to yourself with more kindness and compassion can help decrease stress and anxiety, it can bring you more ease and joy, and it can help you achieve what you want. What you really truly desire.
Your relationship to yourself will improve. You will gain self-respect, self-worth, and self-confidence. Are you interested in this?
Let’s jump into it!
Ready to REALLY wake up in the morning feeling like P Diddy (yes, that’s a song!).
Consider starting your morning by standing in front of the mirror and verbally say affirmations of compassion and motivation to yourself.
The caveat is you must believe this affirmation in order for it to work. Feel free to try one of these or make your own up.
Remember! You need to believe this about yourself. After a time, affirmations help you by lessening the internal criticism.
- Every choice I make leads to bigger and better opportunities.
- There is something positive about every situation and I can find it.
- I’m open to creating optimistic ways of dealing with difficulties.
- I discover ways to praise others and offer helpful suggestions.
Reframing what you think
Before using the harmful self-criticism of “So STUPID!”, “I’m WORTHLESS!”, or “I screwed up again!”, CHOOSE to view the situation in a more positive light.
This one can be more challenging as the negative self-talk has to be caught and changed into something positive. Most often, you aren’t aware that you’re even speaking to yourself horribly.
You might want to practice this with a coach, a trusted friend, or a loved one.
You realize you forgot to put clothes in the dryer last night:
- *Negative self-talk: what is the matter with me? Why can’t I do anything right? I have nothing to wear!
- *Positive self-talk: oh well. Now I have an excuse to wear a nice dress to run my errands.
Your mother gives you a backhanded compliment on your new hairdo with her usual criticism chaser:
- *Negative self-talk: nothing is ever good enough for her – I’m such a disappointment, why bother anymore?
- *Positive self-talk: as usual, mom can’t be pleased – oh well – I like it!
You find out a group of friends got together for coffee and you weren’t invited:
- *Negative self-talk: they must not like me. I wonder what I did to make them hate me?
- *Positive self-talk: I bet they had a nice visit. I’m going to remind them to call me up next time.
Key note: you can do this with practice. You can!
Also, it’s OK if you speak the negative thought, AS LONG AS you correct the negative thought with a positive one.
Well Done Game
Posted with permission from Journey to Wellness
This game is all about practicing and cementing a habit of positive self-talk.
Basically what you want to do here, is set a timer on your phone for every hour. Say between 7am and 8pm. Label the timer with “Well Done”. When the timer goes off, whatever you’re doing at that time, tell yourself well done.
OR if there is something that happened between the alarms going off, then tell yourself “Well Done” about that topic.
I think the above picture explains this well. However below are 2 more examples:
- You got up at 6:50 am. The alarm goes off at 7:00 am. You tell yourself, “(Insert name), well done with getting out of bed!”
- Your alarm goes off at 3:00 pm, you’ve been working for the last hour on your work project. You didn’t complete it, but you have made 2 changes that moved the project along. You tell yourself, “(Insert name), well done with your hard work!”
I think this is such a fun one, filled with self-compassion, and it will put a smile on your face!
We discussed three ways to help, Affirmations, Reframe, and the “Well Done” game.
Pick 1 to start practicing, sit with it for several days, and see how it’s working for you. If you don’t believe it or end up criticizing yourself while practicing these, then that is a sign to switch to another.
Friendly reminder to bring an ally into the mix for support and accountability.
Personally, since I have a history of rigidity, due to the anxiety, I really look forward to practicing the “Well Done” game. This playful option, full of self-care is right up my alley.
There are other techniques to use, and these are 3 solid ideas to get you started. If you find a different one, that works better – YAY! The purpose here is to spread compassion to ourselves.
The inner critic’s job is to keep us safe, however, it needs to learn that it can do that without being so damn nasty. Educate your inner critic to keep you safe, while being kind and compassionate to yourself. .Then you can be safe – in and out of your mind!
Holistically, positive self-talk has natural consequences of positive relationships with others (AND YOURSELF!), improved wellbeing and health, and resilience.
Basically, you end up with greater health and happiness.
Share this blog post with a friend. Help others soothe their inner critic!