Are you your own worst enemy?
For a while, my hand would have shot up at that question. I would have been going “Oh hell to the yes”
My perfectionist tendencies along with a slew of self-made pressures pushed me into a dark space. With incessant thoughts like:
- “I don’t belong here”
- “They will find out I am stupid”
- “I am not good enough”
- “I am ugly”
- “I am unlovable”
I mean these are PG versions of what my brain has said, but you get the point. My personal script was to hate myself. To hate anything about me.
We all have this inner critic inside of us. You can call it ego, shadow, or whatever suits you.
It is simply built from a place of shame, pain, and guilt.
Here, let me give you an example. Say you were talking to a friend and they said something that made you feel small, angry, or upset.
Well, you can say, “What’s up?!” because that is your shadow. The part of you that on a subconscious level feels not good enough, unworthy, or unlovable because at some point (likely as a child) you were told that you weren’t enough.
The unfortunate thing is, we let ourselves get away with a surprising amount of negative self-talk. Sometimes it happens so often that it becomes background noise, but this kind of criticism can be extremely damaging to your self-confidence and worth. So what can you do to silence your inner critic? Here are nine helpful tips:
1. Ask yourself: What is really going on here?
Almost always, the surface level of what is happening is not the full story. I can bet you that it isn’t just about Susan at work being annoying, but a deeper root feeling of unworthiness, of not being seen or heard. You have to ask yourself the deeper questions to figure out WHY you are feeling this way.
2. Everyone has been aboard the struggle bus.
It’s not just you. At the moment it can feel like the world is crashing onto you and there is no one, repeat no one that would even begin to understand what it is like.
Well, luckily that is just wrong. There is someone out there that has gone through something similar to you and has felt the way that you have. Connecting with these people through online forums or in-person groups can help you see that, “Oh it isn’t just me” It can make you feel more seen and comfortable.
3. Talk it out:
Talking to someone, whether that be a therapist, a friend, or family member that you trust about whatever is coming up for you or how you are feeling about yourself can be so beneficial.
You are being vulnerable and owning what you feel shameful about, simply by telling someone.
If you don’t own it, it owns you.
4. Take a Break and Meditate
If you are working on a project or towards a goal, a lot of limiting beliefs may be popping up. Sometimes instead of looking at them head-on, it can be a nice break to just relax your body and mind by meditating.
By doing this you are not only helping out your brain, but you are allowing yourself to be. To be present and to feel where you are in the moment.
Don’t just take it from me, “Studies have shown that regular meditation helps reduce practitioners’ feelings of anxiety and fear and enhances their natural creativity and problem-solving abilities,” (5 Ways Mindfulness Benefits the Body).
5. Set Goals
Small actionable steps are so important if you want to get to the next level. Making small goals to reach can help you see that you are capable and you can do it. If there are certain parts of your life that you know need improving, do something about it. Don’t give yourself ammo for negative self-talk. Do you really want to go on another downward spiral of continually criticizing yourself?
Instead, take tangible steps to improve. Set goals and track your progress. Even if it’s baby steps, gradually improving yourself will replace negative thoughts with positive ones and ultimately silence your inner critic.
6. Remind yourself of how much of a badass you are.
Sometimes the only way to silence your inner critic is to bring out the positivity. You wouldn’t let your BFF to be talking smack about themselves, so why should you? Instead, you would be telling them how awesome they are. So turn into that basketball coach and give yourself the pep talk of your life. It’s about being honest with yourself about what you do well. Sometimes a little reminder that we’re capable people who can take on whatever life throws at us is just what you need!
Following up on the prior one, giving yourself affirmation aka I AM statements like,
- I am good enough.
- I am worthy of everything I desire in this life.
can change how you view yourself in the long term! Now, when you first start saying these, you may not believe them.
Trust me, when I say I didn’t.
It takes time. Repetition is key. It wasn’t overnight that made you believe that you weren’t good enough, so it probably won’t be an overnight transformation of you believing that you an amazing capable beautiful human.
8. Flip the script.
Instead of focusing on how you are x, y, z. Look at what you are doing and how it can be of service to others. REFRAMING who you are from a place of self-doubt and low self-worth to one of PURPOSE.
9. Just be Good-ish.
In the book, The Person You Mean to Be, Chugh suggests, we need to start thinking of ourselves as good-ish. Instead of having a fixed idea of what a ‘good’ and a ‘bad’ person is, embrace the idea that we are aren’t perfect, yet we strive to be better. Aka the idea that we are a #workinprogress. So, take risks, make mistakes, and, most importantly, learn from them.
Don’t focus so much on who you were in the past, but who you are becoming.