The most important person you will ever communicate with is yourself, and most of us are terrible at it! I know I was for many years until I finally slayed the inner critic who was like a constantly telling me terrible lies about myself: You’re not smart. You’re not attractive. You can’t be a writer… And oh, that was the tip of the negative beliefs ice berg!
We are often at the mercy of this harsh inner critic (or several!) or we are pulled out of the present moment by reliving painful past experiences or by worrying about the future. I had chronic anxiety for many years. I was a chronic worrier, often helpless against irrational thoughts, so I understand this hell and I can assure you, if I got out of mine, you can get out of yours. Though my inner critic has largely been quieted through a mindfulness/awareness practice, meditation, therapy and journaling and even regular exercise, it is a natural part of the ego, and it will still try to get my attention, still try to get me to leave the present moment. The resources below have helped me to keep the voice safely in its cave, and I hope they will help you too!
Please leave me a comment and let me know what you think and/or let me know of a resource that I should add!
Your inner-guidance system is always your best resource. Go to that well of knowing in you and draw from it. One way to tap into it and to find out what you’re really thinking and why, is through journaling. Try writing in a journal (computer or notebook) for even 15-minutes a day or a few times a week for a month and I can pretty much guarantee that you learn a lot about yourself. Writing is not just an expression of your thinking, it is a form a thinking! You will learn a lot about yourself, and it’s a great space to challenge the beliefs your Inner-Critic has tricked you into believing.
Here’s a very helpful article about the benefits of journaling by Jana Alrayes in Her Campus. #5 is my favorite. See which one of her tips resonates with you!
Books literally saved me when I was in middle school, high school, college, and graduate school, and they are still saving me today. Set an intention to ask for support and/or to find what you need to learn, then go to your library/bookstore/Amazon and search for books about mindfulness/self esteem/overcoming negative self talk. Be open to getting help from the universe or your higher power. There is a larger intelligence at work in our lives, but we have to believe in it in order to take its guidance and to receive its abundance. Here are two books that changed my life and one I am recommending cold:
The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself by Michael Singer. I have read it about 12 times over the years and I never stop learning from this game-changing book. This is the book that exposed my Inner-Critic and has helped me overcome believing in it. This is also essentially about living mindfully.
The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book) by Don Miguel Ruiz. My son Chris read this when he was 16 and said one of the agreements helped him see things in a whole new way. This is very easy to read!
I haven’t read this book, but this looks good. Your library branch can request it for you: Mindfulness for Teens in 10 Minutes a Day: Exercises to Feel Calm, Stay Focused & Be Your Best Self by Jennie Marie Battistin MA, LMFT (Author). If you read it, please let me know what you think.
Psychology Today Article: Steps to Overcoming Your Critical Inner Voice by Lisa Firestone
Gratefulness.org – What is Gratitude?
Guided 10- Minute Meditation with Headspace’s Andy Puddicombe free on YouTubehttps://www.youtube.com/embed/oVzTnS_IONU?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=en&autohide=2&start=6&wmode=transparent
Here is Andy’s Ted Talk: All It Takes Is 10 Mindful Minutes. (It’s hard not to love Andy!)