We all let that critical voice in every so often. You know the voice I’m talking about — the one that tells you you’ll never be good enough. The voice that says, “I don’t deserve to be happy,” and “Who in the world do you think you are?”
This voice doesn’t feel good and at times, this voice can take us into a deep dark depression. But it’s important to remember that when something doesn’t feel good, that it’s probably a lie and worth exploring to find the truth.
But how do we distinguish that voice? How do we ignore it and not let it ruin our day? How do we conquer this negative voice?
Here are my top 5 tips to help you tame the critical voice:
- Accept and appreciate all of you including what you perceive as flaws.
Flaws and failure are part of the human condition. And even if you look at the person next to you and believe with all your heart that they “have it all,” you’re wrong. Every person on the planet has screwed up. Every person has mental, physical, or emotional imperfections. And every person is keenly aware of his or her flaws and failures. If there are things that you do not like about yourself, have a willingness to change them. However, the things that you cannot change, accept them for what they are. You are brilliant not despite of these imperfections but because of these imperfections. They are what make you, you, which is a human being who has strived, survived and thrived at times.
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.” – Reinhold Niebuhr
You can repeat this serenity prayer often. Just by stating your intention to accept what you can’t change and having the courage to change what you can, you start working toward the love and acceptance that you are seeking.
- Focus on your positive traits and ways that you can serve and shine in the world.
You have gifts. You would not be on this planet at this time if you did not have gifts to give. And they don’t have to be huge, overly elaborate gifts either. Think of all of the beautiful ways you have expressed love to others. Cooking for your family, babysitting your grandchild, listening to your neighbor, praying for your friend, smiling at the stranger…these are all ways you add light to this world. You are a shining light. I am most certain of it and I don’t want you to forget it.
- Put emphasis on being in excellence instead of striving for perfection
Stop being so hard on yourself and striving to be perfect! Perfection is completely unattainable — it simply doesn’t exist. Striving for it will only make you feel miserable and shameful when you don’t achieve it.
Steve Jobs once said:
“Your time is limited so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
This quote reminds us of what’s really important – to be true to who we are and let go of the unattainable perfectionist thinking.
- Monitor your critical voice.
Pay attention to how many times each day that you are critical to yourself. How do you speak to yourself? What themes are overall present with what you say about yourself and to yourself? Know that this critical voice is not coming from your authentic higher self, but rather from the ego that is trying to keep you safe. This critical voice tells lies. It is not telling you the truth. Always remember that if a thought doesn’t feel good, you have the power to think a better feeling thought. Change your thoughts. Change your life.
“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” ~William Shakespeare
- Love yourself with daily attention to self-care!
It is important to take great care of yourself. If you don’t take care of yourself, no one else will. It has to start with you. The way that you honor and love yourself shows the world how to honor and love you. Lead by example. A great way to do this is with daily self-care. Daily meditation, prayer, yoga, EFT (tapping) are all wonderful examples of how to incorporate a loving expression of taking care of you. It feels fabulous to give yourself attention and love in this way and I absolutely know that you deserve it.