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Silencing Your Inner Critic

By Donna Kostiew

Words. Isn’t it interesting how much influence they hold over us? They can bring out the best in people and they can also bring out the worst. Words can be full of love, encouragement, empowerment, destruction, disappointment, and hate. They can lift someone’s spirit in a split second and they can crush that same person a minute later, and sometimes, the biggest offender of the negative talk that is directed to us is … ourselves.

There are some days when I wonder what would happen if I overheard someone speaking to another person, using the same exact language that my inner critic uses. Would I feel compelled to intervene, unable to listen to any more of the harsh judgements or shaming that is going on? If you are like me, you know this inner critic well. And to clarify, this is not the voice that reminds you to study so you don’t fail the test, or the one that pushes you to become a better person, or least of all, the one that tells you to call your mom, it’s been a week. No, this is the voice that places that little seed of doubt in your mind, that belittles you, judges you against others, and tears you down more often than it builds you up.

So? What’s the Danger with That Little Voice in my Head You Ask?

Believe it or not, everything that you say to yourself matters. This “companion,” if you will, isn’t harmless, rarely has your best interests in mind, and usually always chooses to stay rather than to leave you in peace. It is a damaging force that can affect you in ways you may not have ever thought about, such as:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Weight gain
  • Depression
  • Increased stress and anxiety levels
  • Higher rates of aggression
  • Underachievement
  • Complacency, less satisfaction
  • Over-reliance on others

The worst part is that the effects this damaging self-talk creates only seems to reinforce what the inner critic has already been saying, thereby trapping its victim in a vicious cycle of negativity.

How to Approach Your Inner Critic and Stand up for Yourself

Learning to challenge the little voice in your head might take time and practice, but is worth the effort. Here are some steps that can help silence that little bugger:

  • Separate yourself from your thoughts
  • Take control of the conversation, talk back
  • Change the perspective to a more positive one
  • Focus on goals, not limitations
  • Ask yourself, will this matter in “X” amount of years?
  • Allow yourself some grace

It’s important to keep watch over the things your inner critic says, and to challenge some of the negative aspects you are hearing because, quite frankly, this companion has completely overstayed its welcome.

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Eagan, Minn. 

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