We all have an inner critic. On one end, this voice can keep us focused and motivated on our goals – like the little reminder that what you’re about to eat isn’t that healthy or that the workout you were going to skip won’t be a wise decision. On the other end that same voice can get out of control with negativity, causing us to blame, criticize and limit our abilities to believe in ourselves and reach our full potential. Negative self talk in one word is the devil and can have serious consequences on your life.
I remember speaking to my therapist at one of my first few sessions and her immediately stopping me dead in my tracks after I got rolling in a wave of negative self talk saying things like: “my life is just a hot mess”, “I am all over the place and really need to pull myself together”, “I can’t believe I was so stupid”. Negative Nancy may as well have been my government name. My therapist quickly reminded me that one of the key things I needed to really take to heart if I truly wanted to change my life would be the narrative I was telling myself and the choice of words I was using. She helped me realize that I needed to consciously harness the power of words for my benefit and start with the ones I was using when evaluating my life, things I may have done or that happened to me. Because without changing my tune to something more positive, I could certainly expect a much more difficult journey than I already knew this was going to be.
Gracious words are a honeybomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.Proverbs 16:24
Your words are extremely powerful tools that you can use to uplift your personal energy and improve your life. We’re often not conscious of the words we speak, read, and expose ourselves to. But words truly do have power and can inspire you on a daily basis in a way that will change your thoughts, energy, and your actions – which also attracts more positive energy to you.
I was in such a rut in 2019 that I didn’t even realize how something as simple as the narrative I was feeding myself and my use of negative words over affirming words was impacting me. I was laying down in defeat before giving myself a real shot at making progress in just about every area of my life I desperately wanted to make better. Until my therapist had pointed this out, it had never crossed my mind that I was doing this. It became so routine, I never noticed it was an issue. And that’s honestly a huge departure from the Sandra I know myself to be.
For as long as I can remember, I have been a bit of an extreme optimist, always able to see the bright side of things, always self-motivated when it comes to any negativity or challenges that come my way. I’ve even made it a point to surround myself with positive messages as part of my lifestyle. As a matter of fact, in my studio apartment right now, there is no shortage of positive affirmations and messages everywhere from my candles, coffee mugs, framed art, notebooks and even my refrigerator magnets. So it’s even hard for me to fathom how I got so off track. In 2019, Negative Nancy had literally moved right on in, taken up her own cozy corner in my mind and gotten a bit too comfortable. And like all uninvited guests, I finally made the decision it was time to kick her out.
These days I am making sure to speak life into myself and my situations with affirming and uplifting words. I am practicing being more kind to myself and offering myself the same empathy and compassion I’d extend to anyone else. As a matter of fact, what inspired me in part to create the mantra-filled tees, tanks and coffee mugs available in The healHER Shop on Sandra’s Diary was this exact mindset shift I underwent. I wanted a fun way to speak and incorporate powerful words and phrases into my life no matter what was happening externally. So these products are totally infused with bits of my journey and personality to help keep the positive energy flowing and the vibrations high at all times.
But I know sharing is caring and I don’t want to keep the high vibrations all to myself so I wanted to share 4 ways you can silence your inner critic and stop beating yourself up once and for all.
1. Notice the critic.
Let’s face it. You can’t put Negative Nancy (aka your inner critic) in her place if you are not aware of her. I know of lot of our thinking is so automatic and happening so quickly that we barely notice before we get to the next thought. However, making the conscious effort to slow down and pay more attention to your thoughts will help you notice when the critic is present so you can tell her to get to steppin’.
2. Talk Back
I consider myself a lover and not a fighter, but if there ever was a time for choice words and for you to knuck if you buck, this is it. You have got to talk back and turn up with Negative Nancy and show her who’s the CEO of your life. Negative Nancy is a whole lie and you have to refuse to listen, call her out on her lies, tell her it’s time go to away and that you are choosing instead to be kind to yourself. Period. This is not up for debate.
3. Separate Yourself
Your inner critic, Negative Nancy, does not want you to know she is there. She is not here for your glow up and actually thrives when you are oblivious to how at any given moment she can come through your life trippin’ and have you all over the place. That’s her job. You can’t blame someone for trying to do their job to the best of their ability. However, the critic is not you and you can’t allow that inner voice to make you internalize the criticism or other people’s criticism. The sooner you can separate your own identity from the critic, the sooner you will be able to free yourself from its influence.
4. Kick The Critic To the Curb
Take a cue from Beyonce and let Negative Nancy know not to ever get to thinking that she’s irreplaceable. Because the best way for you to defeat her is to have an even stronger ally on your side. You have to replace Nancy with an inner voice that supports you and will be the best friend you can call on whenever you need to. You need to build up a strong inner voice that sounds as loud and as good as you do in the shower. You do this by recognizing all that is beautiful and wonderful about who you are. Take note of the good things about yourself. It will take a little time to retrain your mind and get into the habit of doing this, but the sooner you start, the easier it will be to recognize your abilities and full potential.
I’m learning that words I use and speak every day have the power to not only heal me, but also heal family, friendships, and both intimate and business relationships. In a culture that is increasingly unforgiving and angry we can make a profound difference in our own lives and the lives of those around us simply by choosing to be more kind with our words.
How will start using the power of words to keep your energy and outlook positive along your journey? Let me know below.