From the Heart

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How to Silence Your Self-Critic

Quiet that inner voice in your head that tells you "you're a failure"

Are you your own worst enemy? Do you find that you constantly criticize, put yourself down, and strongly focus only on your bad qualities? Well, you’re not alone and it happens to a lot of us, many people are prone to self-criticism. Yes, a little self-criticism can be a good thing when it serves you as a reality check to spark some motivation for positive change and personal growth, but excessive self-criticism can be harmful to your overall health and wellbeing.

We can all be very judgmental when it comes to our own faults and weaknesses. Oftentimes we think that we are “not good enough,” that we are worthless, or that we just keep making mistakes and are not capable of making better changes. This can certainly make us feel sad, hopeless, angry, and even helpless. But when self-criticism prevents us from taking risks and believing in our own capabilities to function and thrive, then it becomes unhelpful and unhealthy. Constant negative self-talk has shown to be associated with higher levels of stress, anxiety, and depression.

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Well, the good news is that you can learn how to defeat your inner critic and get away from being your own worst enemy. Here are some ways on how to stand up to that nasty voice inside your head that puts you down:

1. Love yourself and your mistakes. We are all human and we all have flaws, defects, and make mistakes. Think of all your loved ones and their imperfections or weaknesses, does that stop you from loving them? No! You clearly learn to love and accept them the way they are, so you need to let yourself be human too. Learn to love yourself and accept your mistakes.

2. Look for a solution. There is always a way to solve things, if you think you can do better then stop putting yourself down and find a solution. You need to change your behavior by changing the way you think. Focus on staying motivated and aim for positive change.

3. Stop being your own worst enemy and become your own best friend. Be kind to yourself the same way you are to your friends and family. Recognize that oftentimes you are much harsher on yourself than with your loved ones. Next time you face your inner critic ask yourself how you would help your friend if she had the same problem you are experiencing and then treat yourself as if you were your best friend. 

Standing up to your self-critic is the best way to gain self-esteem, be happy, and feel less stress. Relax your standards a little bit and give yourself credit for what you do right then focus on improving what you do wrong.

 

References:

How to Put Down That Self-Critical Voice

9 Ways To Silence Your Inner Critic

Cynthia Thaik, M.D., is a Harvard trained physician and currently an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine

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