Do you find yourself always beating up on yourself? Putting yourself down after every goof? Can’t seem to stop? That’s your internal critic’s voice and you can get control of it. Let me tell you how to tame your inner critic and turn it into a loving coach.
You’re probably thinking that because you’re not perfect, haven’t accomplished everything you set out to do, or haven’t gotten down to your ideal weight, that something is wrong with you. That’s not true. That’s just the silly little inner critic voice that’s stuck in your head.
Why Change Your Internal Voice?
When you speak to yourself in a loving and respectful tone of voice, you’ll be more relaxed, at ease and feel good. Those are the happy chemicals floating throughout your body creating that feel-good state.
But when you yell at yourself and draw attention to your imperfections and flaws, that makes you feel badly. Anything that upsets you and makes you feel threatened, triggers your brain to activate your body’s stress response. Different strokes for different folks. For some people, food is their body’s quickest way of trying to reset itself and feel good again. For others it’s smoking, drinking, drugs, TV, internet, sex or spending. Whatever is quickest and has worked at least 3 times in the past, will most likely be the behavior you’ll gravitate towards without thinking. Don’t waste your time blaming or shaming yourself. That’s just going to hurt you more and keep you stuck in patterns and habits that may not be serving you. The key to getting yourself out of the muck and mire is to break the cycle of anxiety by treating yourself with respect and love. That’s all any of us really wants anyway.
So one of your first steps in reducing your stress load is to change the way you speak to yourself. Let me tell you how.
Whose Voice Is In Your Head?
Give it some thought. Whose voice are you walking around with each day? When you’re standing naked in front of the mirror, after overdoing it the night before, whose voice comes to mind? When you goof at work and say or do the wrong thing, whose voice automatically pipes up and what does it say? When someone gives you a disapproving stare or you hear ‘that’ tone in their voice, what are you saying to yourself and how are you saying it? Is it a loving, gentle, soft voice or is it angry, grating, hateful and hurtful? Most of us can relate to having an inner drill sargeant just itchin’ to beat us up and lay us out to dry for the slightest mistake. Let me give you some insight into where that voice came from.
Where Did It Come From?
The things we tell ourselves and the way that we speak to ourselves in our most private moments in our head is a result of what we have learned from the past. If you’ve been criticized and put down and reminded of all your flaws, and raised by people who were perfectionists, it’s a good chance that you’ve adopted that way of speaking to yourself without even giving it a second thought. In many ways we unconsciously become our parents. You may even be repeating things that you’ve heard in the past verbatim, or you may have just picked up their tone or style of speaking and made it your own.
People are Always Doing the Best They Can with What They Know
Unfortunately kids don’t come with instructions, so many parents have to first screw things up in order to get it right. They probably had their own problems. You may have been the kid who was the experiment and the siblings that followed may have derived the benefit of the better and more refined parenting skills. Some people never get it right. But let’s not blame anyone. We’re all doing the best we can with what we have.
So it’s very possible that as a child you were exposed to people who weren’t very tactful and gracious in their communication skills. Maybe they spoke to you unkindly or you heard them speaking to others that way. Maybe they justified their harsh tones by saying this was a way of ‘motivating’ people. But when push comes to shove, we both know that probably this style of speaking didn’t really inspire you to move in another direction. It probably just scared you and made you feel badly. But you don’t have to keep on acting out that same parent/child dynamic in your head anymore. Now you’re the one in charge and you can guide yourself to do the things you want in a loving way.
How to Turn Your Tame Your Inner Critic
You’re no longer a child. If something doesn’t work for you, you have the power to change it. As a kid, you were a victim of the voices, and couldn’t speak out against your elders or express yourself because that may have been considered inappropriate, but the good thing is that you now have a choice and you can fire that inner critic and turn them into a loving coach. You may not even be aware that you’re doing it.
A Challenge for You
The first step to making a change is becoming aware of old un-useful patterns. Once you let go of the emotional baggage that keeps you tied to feeling the need to punish yourself, it will no longer feel right to have other people speak to you disrespectively or sarcastically. By raising the bar in how you talk to yourself, you will automatically raise the bar in all your relationships.
Think about someone who embodies a special loving quality and compassion whose voice you would like to have as your guide. That’s right. I’m asking you to quiet down that old inner critic and in place of that whiny voice, imagine talking to yourself lovingly and gently. I used to walk around with my father’s critical voice in my head and now I’ve chosen to substitute his voice with my Nana’s. Whose voice would you choose? Your mother’s, best friend’s, an old beloved teacher or mentor? It doesn’t matter whose voice you choose as long as it makes you feel warm and loved.
By doing this little exercise and making this small change, you’ll be amazed to notice how much resistance just melts away.
It’s a chance for you to reinvent yourself at the deepest level and change the way you think about yourself, your life and your body. It’s not easy and it takes some practice. I know. But you’ll feel so good when you start talking to yourself in a more loving and gentle tone.
Tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. Eastern, I am presenting a class that’s like a working webinar where I’ll teach you how to tame your inner critic so that you will feel respected, cared for and deserving of having a better life. Hope to see you there. Here’s the link to learn more: