2021 has probably been the hardest year, if not, one of the worst years for me mentally. Although I’ve learned some lessons along the way, and certainly grown from them, I was not the kindest to myself and had a negative outlook for a majority of the year. In general, whenever anything goes wrong, I’m probably my own biggest critic and it becomes really hard sometimes. Hearing that loud voice in your head that says, “I’m going to blow this,” “I’m going to embarrass myself,” or my favorite, “Yup, they probably hate you” after a five second interaction is the absolute worst. Yeah, overthinking can be an absolute b*tch. However, if I’ve learned anything from this year it’s that we can all afford to stop being so hard on ourselves and to learn how to silence that inner critic. It gets WAY too exhausting to listen to negative self-talk all the time. Here are some ways I’ve learned, and am still learning, to silence my inner critic:
P.S. this is just what has been working for me; you could have a completely different take on what works for you.
Become Aware of Your Negative Thoughts
Pay attention to what you’re telling yourself, and realize that most of the time, those negative thoughts aren’t true at all. I guess we could call this the acceptance stage? I realize that practicing this is so much harder to do in reality, especially if you want to make it an everyday habit. However, recognizing that the words we tell ourselves are unfairly cruel, and that it stems from a place of fear or hurt, can make all the difference. From personal experience, I know it’s so easy to say more negative thoughts about yourself than positive ones, but it’s unfair to have such a low opinion of yourself when you’re no less of a king or queen than anyone else.
Be As Kind To Yourself As You Are To Others
One of the biggest things I’m guilty of, and am learning to stop doing, is not being as kind to myself as I am to others. Why shouldn’t we show up for ourselves the same way we show up for others? If we made that change, it would make such an impact on how we feel about ourselves, and how we can go about living our lives. Something that really impacted me is when someone told me that, “We have to live in our head for the rest of our lives, so we might as well treat it better.” As simple as that might sound, I often have to remind myself of this because it’s easier to say nice things to others than it is to yourself. You deserve to treat yourself with that same compassion that you show to your friends and family. Don’t be so hard on yourself!
Hey, You’re Not Perfect
It’s so unfair that we constantly put so much pressure on ourselves to be perfect all the time, either because of societal expectations or our own. Whether it comes to school or your personal life, you may find yourself, as I do, striving to achieve to be perfect all the time. But perfection is overrated and it gets tiring trying to keep up that life. For me, perfection took the form of trying to be perfect at school, and anything less than a perfect score on exams made me feel like an absolute failure. It doesn’t stop there though, as I usually start ruminating on those failures. I’m human, what can I say? Although it’s hard to suddenly stop putting that much pressure on yourself, whether from unusually high standards of perfection or simply from replaying the mistakes you’ve made in your head, recognize that it’s okay to make mistakes and focus on how much you’ve accomplished. It’s perfectly fine to be imperfect!
Learn From Others
It’s safe to say you don’t automatically develop a positive mindset.You have to put a lot of consistent work into it. Take active steps to learn from others and how they’ve silenced their inner critic. Read books (such as, The Power of Positive Thinking and The Secret), listen to podcasts, or learn from other people’s stories through TedTalks (such as, Teach Your Inner Critic a New Story and How Your Inner Critic Is Holding You Back). Shut up that loud and false negative voice inside your head that makes you overthink the little things. At the end of the day, don’t let your inner critic stop you from leading your best life!