How To Stop Beating Yourself Up

How To Stop Beating Yourself Up

When was the last time you heard from your inner critic? You know, that voice in your head that judges you, puts you down, and compares you to others. The one that tells you you are not good enough or smart enough and says things you would never dream of saying to another person.

You may view this inner critic as annoying, but relatively harmless; however, this inner critical voice may also limit you from living the life you truly desire. It could hinder your emotional well-being and, if left unchecked, could even contribute to the experience of depression or anxiety.

Below are strategies to use to begin to change your relationship with this inner critic and stop beating yourself up.

Give it Attention

That’s right: in order to exert more agency over your inner critic you have to acknowledge it exists. Most of our thinking is automatic. In other words, we do not give our thoughts much thought. We barely notice a critical thought has passed. Give attention to your thoughts, all of them. This will help you recognize the critical voice.

Here are some emotional clues the critic has reared its ugly head: doubt, guilt, shame, and worthlessness. These emotions can be indications of your inner critic at work.

Separate Yourself from Your Inner Critic

Your inner critic is like a parasite, feeding off you. You were not born with this parasite but acquired it along the way. Your inner critic hopes it can hide and blend in, and that you will think its thoughts are your own.

You have to separate yourself from this parasite. One way to do that is to give your critic a name. Have fun with this naming. You could call your inner critic anything from “Todd” to “Miss Annoying Loudmouth.” The name does not matter. What matters is that you learn to separate it from your authentic self.

Talk Back

In order to take the power away from your inner critic, consider giving it a taste of its own medicine. As soon as you recognize your inner critic is speaking to you, tell it that the jig is up, that you know it is a liar, and that you want it to go away. If you want to really make this voice recoil, tell it you are choosing to be kind to yourself from now on.

Self-compassion to an inner critic is like garlic to a vampire.

Create a New Inner Voice

If you want to defeat an enemy, you need to have a powerful ally on your side. It is important at this juncture to create an even more powerful inner voice, one that is on your side.

To create this new voice, start noticing the good things about yourself. No matter what that nasty critic said about you, the truth is you have fantastic traits and abilities. While noticing yourself in a positive light may be challenging at first, this is a skill that can be developed with practice.

Life is short. To find more fulfillment consider use of some of these strategies to change your relationship with your inner critic. Your best you is waiting to be celebrated.

Some inner critics are louder or meaner than others. Sometimes the greatest ally you can have in your corner is an impartial third party, a therapist who can see you for who you really are. Working with a skilled, experienced psychologist, therapist, or counselor can help you learn new skills to better navigate your relationship with yourself. If you are interested in therapy to explore these concerns, I invite you to call or email me to get started working together. Telehealth appointments are available.

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