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Mindfulness Mini Series 6 - How do you talk to yourself?

Do you have an inner critic? That negative voice that questions how 'good' we are? This can be so self limiting, stopping us from doing the things we want to do. It's like a negative person berating us in our ear. Have you ever experienced this? I know I have. It affects us to differing degrees. Some of us can ignore it whilst others find it debilitating. I've tried to persuade my inner critic to show me some love. There are ways that we can try to take back control.


 

"Be careful how you speak to yourself, you are always listening."

 


 

Firstly we need to recognise the type of inner critic we have at any one time. Is it the victim, the critic, the worrier, the guilt-tripper or the perfectionist? I've definitely experienced every one of these at one time or another, especially the perfectionist which, at times, has stopped me from moving forwards and progressing. Do any of these inner critics sound familiar to you? Can you identify how your inner critic is negatively impacting you? What negative thoughts is it planting in your head? Once we are able to mindfully raise our own self awareness it's much easier to deal with the behaviour. It's all about taking the power back from this unwanted guest!


 

"Let's regain the power from our inner critic."

 

If you're struggling with negative self talk there are three strategies that might help.


Ignore

It's really important to remember that our inner critic is just a collection of negative thoughts that we shouldn't take seriously. They are not based on reality and don't have what's best for us at heart. Try to remind yourself of this as many times as you need to.


Protect

What or who we communicate and surround ourselves with has a huge part to play in shaping our inner critic. These negative thoughts can come from our parents, friends, work colleagues, but also our exposure to the news and social media. We can protect ourselves by choosing what and who we spend our time with and how much online/TV content we expose ourselves to. Try not to get sucked into the negative behaviour of others.


Observe

To become aware of our inner critic, the patterns of behaviour and what feeds it. It's at this point that we can try to change our thoughts if we disagree with what our critic is saying. We need to remember that we are the one in charge and with time and practice we can change our thought patterns.


However, we must always challenge them with empathy and understanding.


 

Our inner critic is different to our inner voice

 

Our inner critic is cautious, negative and judgemental. It often focuses on emotions and is driven to protect us from threats. But in doing so it holds us back, limiting what we are capable of and affecting our self esteem and worth.


Our inner voice, on the other hand, provides guidance, is supportive and encouraging. It see's what we are capable of and move us forwards by learning, growing and trying new things.


Being mindful about how we talk to ourselves can help us process any unhelpful negative thoughts and reframe them in a positive way.


Thanks for reading.


N x




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