When you have depression or anxiety, it can become habit to tap into your inner critic for guidance. Your inner critic is the voice in your head that tells you that you will never be good enough, worthy, or loved. All of us have this voice in our head. Some individuals can allow this inner critic to take over. When someone’s anxiety runs their daily life, she can feel like she is on a hamster wheel going nowhere. It doesn’t matter how much she accomplishes in a day because that inner critic tells her that it is not enough. That she is not enough. When depression is at the wheel, a person’s inner critic will tell them all the things that are wrong with them and how they are alone. The inner critic may go so far to tell her that their certain flaws are the reason that they’re alone. The inner critic in both scenarios is a bully and needs to be stood up to.
To stand up to your inner critic you have to challenge it. The inner critic does not like to be challenged and will fight the challenge every step of the way. If you do not feel mentally strong enough to do the following exercise, you can ask someone you love and trust to help along the way. Either way, this mean inner voice needs to be challenged and called out on it’s calloused and harsh comments. Below are tips that you can do to call out and challenge that voice.
You have a moment where you are being hard on yourself. You find yourself saying mean things and criticizing your small mistakes. When you become aware of that voice, pause. Pause and breathe deeping.
Notice how your body feels in that moment. Notice if you feel tense or anxious. Notice how your chest and gut feels. Name those feelings in your body outloud to yourself.
After you acknowledge those feelings in your body and name them, ask yourself “who’s voice is talking to me?” Maybe that voice is your parent, friend, lover, teacher/boss, or the bitchy perfectionist inside of you.
When you acknowledge who the voice belongs to, tell yourself that voice is not speaking the truth. You might ask the voice “what evidence is there to support those comments?” It might also help to think of what you would tell someone you love if they made that same mistake.
Lastly, breathe in feelings of love and gratitude. You may envision a bright pink light enveloping you from the inside out. Smile, think positive thoughts, and breathe it all in.
This practice can be done on a daily basis. It can be good to involve someone you love and trust if you struggle with asking the voice “what evidence is there to support those comments?” Your loved one can help you challenge those thoughts and give positive affirmations in the process. Know that you deserve to give yourself grace in moments of mistakes and blunders. We are all human and deserve grace. You are no exception.