In all honesty, building up my confidence in my abilities - physical, mental, emotional – and in myself as a person has taken a lot of time. Years in fact. And I would be lying if I said that the days of tearing myself apart are a thing of the past. Every now and then, that ugly inner critic rears its nasty head and tries to stop me from doing my thing. The only difference is that I now have a set of “tools” I can rely on to help me silence my inner critic.
Through various conversations and interactions with all different kinds of people from all different walks of life, I have learned that we all have that negative voice in our head that sometimes overtakes our thoughts. Some people are able to deal with it right away and others (like me) have to work on silencing it over time.
I thought I would share some of the “tools” that have helped me build myself up over the years with the hope that they may help someone out there who can relate.
- The do it anyways attitude – This is a big one for me. I’ve found that when my inner critic tells me I can’t do something, the only way for me to shut it up is to do it anyways. For example, when I decided to sign up for my first half marathon, that litte voice showed up and told me I would NEVER be able to run 13.1 miles. And for a while, I listened. But then I thought what the heck and signed up anyways. And then, despite the doubt, I trained my little heart out and I got stronger. And in November of 2009, I completed my first half maraton with a smile on my face. Let me tell you, that shut my inner critic up pretty quickly. So when that voice tells you can’t do something, try and do it anyways. If you want to participate in a Pretty Muddy event or run in a race, believe in yourself and do it! Trust me, you’ll be glad you did!
- Meditation – For me, meditation means finding quiet time to just be. No judgment, no expectations. When I do this regularly, I’m more grateful for the blessings in my life and more appreciative of my journey. This shift in perspective is key to silencing my inner critic.
- Just move – When I say move, I’m not talking about spending hours at the gym or training for a marathon. This could include your exercise routine, but it goes above and beyond that. For me this includes post-dinner walks, dance-a-thons in my living room, stretch sessions while watching my favorite TV shows, etc. Make it your mission to move as much as you can during the day. Not only will this do wonders for your physical health, but it will start to improve your mental and emotional wellbeing as well.
- Positive affirmations – To this day when I start to feel the negativity piling on, I stop, listen, and counter every negative thought with one to two positive ones. For example, when all I can see is the chub around my stomach, I counter that with a thought about how my body allows me to do pretty much whatever I want every single day, including exercise, eat all kinds of foods, etc. This may sound a little cheesy, but it works!
- Open up – The worst thing you can do is let negative thoughts fester in your mind. By opening up and talking about your inner critic, you are releasing that unnecessary energy. This should never be seen as a weakness. It takes a lot of strength to confide in someone about these kinds of thoughts. My husband, my mom, my sister, and some of my closest girlfriends are my go to people when I feel like I can’t combat this stuff on my own. I know my support team will be able to provide a different perspective and help me silence my inner critic.
- Volunteer – Giving your time for the betterment of others will help you see the world from a different lens. You’ll quickly begin to realize that there are greater things that deserve your attention and time. The difference you make will change your entire energy field and will allow you to silence the negativity simply because it will be of no use to you.
I’m hoping that these “tools” will help you conquer a Pretty Muddy run and lots of other things!
Is this something you can relate to? What do you do when your inner critic rears its ugly head?