In the same way that you develop good habits and routines such as brushing your teeth or making your bed, have you thought about developing a daily practice, which also helps to combat your inner critic?
How frequently do you listen to that little voice in your head? The doubter, the questioner, the one which whispers, “You can’t do it. Who do you think you are? You’re not capable of this.”
How often do you give your inner critic time, space and energy?
When you spend time alone, it’s easy to allow negative thoughts to perpetuate and grow louder. One of the most important relationships you have is the one with yourself. One of the most important people you communicate with is you.
The inner critic and your own self-talk
Communication is not only important between two or more people; we also need to become more aware of the way we speak to ourselves.
What words does your inner critic use to reprimand you? What tone of voice does your inner critic have?
Paul Gilbert, a Compassionate Theory Psychologist, identified the importance of speaking to ourselves in a warm, comforting tone. We need to acknowledge that the words of our inner critic are just that; words. They are not facts. Once we stop giving this inner critic power, we can let those thoughts go and focus our attention on more productive and nurturing inner speech.
Developing your self-compassion routine
A helpful process to start implementing is establishing a morning self-compassion routine.
Each morning, set aside a few minutes. Sit in a quiet space in your home and try this exercise:
Take a few slow, diaphragmatic breaths. Notice all your senses (what can you smell, feel, hear?) and focus on just being in the present moment. Create a friendly facial expression (slight smile) and make sure you speak to yourself in a warm vocal tone.
Acknowledge your name, and tell yourself you are grateful for your life.
For example, say to yourself:
Anna, I am here for you, I believe in you, I trust you and I love you. I am grateful for my life. I am worth it. I choose to see obstacles as opportunities. I am not going to let anyone have the power to decide whether I am happy or sad today. The love in my heart is all I need to be content.
By establishing this routine and practising it regularly, you can combat your inner critic by developing more compassion for yourself as well as more motivation and tolerance for distress. It can also help induce positive calm and feelings of safety and social connection.
Part of this article is found in The Communication issue of The Homeworker magazine. To read the full issue, which includes how the way you eat can affect your mood and impact stress, depression and anxiety, and how to have healthy conversations with other people, find out more here.
Article by Sharon Draper: www.sharondraper.com.au