Most of us have those negative thoughts about ourselves from time to time. Some of us though, are our own worst enemy! These thoughts tell us we are not good enough, make us afraid of going for our goals or sharing ideas, and think less of our accomplishments. These thoughts may include negative thoughts about our appearance, our personality, capabilities, and intelligence. The effects of our inner critic can affect all aspects of our lives such as our relationships and jobs.
You may wonder why a photographer is commenting on this topic, but I want to capture your best you! You can bet I hear or at least see the effects of these thoughts in my studio through a woman’s lack of confidence, unsure expressions, and negative comments on her appearance.
We develop a critical inner voice after painful life experiences. Throughout life, we unconsciously accept these destructive thoughts toward ourselves. When we fail to recognize this negative pattern and silence our inner critic, we allow it to influence the direction of our lives.
Listening to these critical thoughts prevents us from being who we want to be. So how can we overcome this inner voice? How do we recognize it and change the narrative?
Identify what your inner voice is trying to tell you. Acknowledge that this thought is not reality. Consider what happened that has caused you to think this way. Analyze the situation and tell yourself what is wrong about this thought process to help separate from your inner critic.
Many find it is helpful to put these thoughts into words. Write them in the second person. For example, a thought like I’ll never be successful” should be written as “ You’ll never be successful.” This will help you see how truly wrong these thoughts are and to view them as concepts unassociated with yourself.
Then, respond to your inner critic also in writing. Make a more realistic and compassionate evaluation of yourself using first person. In response to a thought like, “You’re so ugly,” you may write, “I may not be a model, but I have many beautiful features.” As you can see from the example, the idea is not to boost your ego or say things completely untrue to yourself, but to challenge these cruel thoughts with realistic ones.
Never act on the directives of your inner critic. As you learn to pause upon one of these thoughts creeping in, you’ll learn to better take actions that represent your true point of view.
Don’t expect this to happen easily though. You have likely listened to this voice a long time.
Your critical inner voice may seem louder, telling you to not to take chances. However, the more you identify and separate these thoughts and act against this destructive thought process, the stronger you will become, while your inner critic continues to weaken.
Sometimes, we may need to recognize our inner critic as a reason to make life changes as well. If your inner critic is always commenting on your weight for example, you may need to tell it all the amazing qualities that are much more important about yourself. You don’t have to be a size zero to be absolutely beautiful. You are beautiful no matter your shape or size!
However, you may wish to take steps to make some positive changes in your life too! Maybe you’ve put on a few holiday pounds (as many of us do!), and you recognize that you are unhappy about it. If you recognize that the thought stems from something about your life you want to work on, tackle it head on. Make small goals and build upon them.
In this example, maybe you decide to start a new workout routine or adopt some healthier eating habits. As you accomplish these goals, it becomes harder and harder to believe these negative thoughts about yourself.
Let’s celebrate your achievements and growth toward a better you with a photo session in 2021! Contact me today to schedule. May you remember what an amazing individual you are and accomplish all your goals for this new year!