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How to bust your inner critic and put an end to self sabotage

What is an inner critic?

Ever started a new project with enthusiasm and excitement only to find that as soon as something became a little difficult, you found yourself feeling doubtful? If you tuned into the voice in your head, you know you'd probably hear it saying something alone the lines of,

"I can't do it."

"I have nowhere near the skills and capability of that person I admire"

"No one cares."

"I'm not good/ smart/ funny/ brave enough."

"I'm useless/worthless/unlovable."

Well, you are most certainly not alone.

As humans, doubts are pretty much guaranteed. This is where self-sabotage comes in and you leave your to-do list under a pile of unread papers, don't hand in assignments or reports on time, show up late to class or work, avoid doing what you have to do in order to succeed, allowing yourself to fail, or dropping out before the end never looking back to see what mess you left behind.

This is not uncommon behaviour and while it is difficult to do, you are highly capable of rearranging the wires in your mind to invite success in every way.

The first step is awareness. Meditation can help you to achieve a sense of self awareness, as can being mindful - which is to be right where you are in the present moment, noticing without judgement all that is within your senses - sight, sound, scent, feel, taste and the thoughts that come and go.

If we look at our minds as something that can be divided into parts we can then become aware of which "part" of our brain we are operating from at any time.

I like to divide the mind into four parts:

1- the inner child

This is the vulnerable part of us which needs nurturing, protection and unconditional love. When in "child-mode" you might lack confidence, crave reassurance, avoid confrontation and shy away from responsibility. The inner child could be angry, hurt, lonely, or afraid.

2 - the healthy adult

As the name suggests, this is the part of us which chooses healthy behaviours, nurtures the inner child, is filled with love, enthusiasm and passion. This part from which we understand and set our boundaries and respect ourselves and others.

3 - the inner critic

Otherwise known as a punishing parent or negative voice. This is where all the "I cants'" come from. It will always make you feel bad. The inner critic comes from times in our childhood when we were put down. We may have been told our work is not good enough, we are ugly, stupid, annoying, unwanted and so on. Life circumstances themselves could have then given us reasons to believe these lies.

4- the coping mechanism

Each person has a unique way of coping such as avoiding, people pleasing, or controlling. It is what we do to try and cope with the hurt feelings the negative voice gives us. We believe that if we get this right then it will all be okay. We make rules for our worth and put the ball in other people's hands.

It's easy to see how all this can create a snowball effect and leave us in a deep well.

The good news is that we have the power to not only recognise which mode we are in but to take the steps to reverse it.

After becoming aware of what mode you are in through noticing what you are feeling, ask yourself

"What do I need right now?"

A warm bath? A good read? Allow yourself the time to indulge in some loving activity.

If you are wanting to hear something from someone else, give it to yourself. Remember that the power is yours, it does not belong to anyone else.

It is okay and one hundred percent necessary to tell yourself "I love you." and "I am enough."

See a professional for personalised assistance if you are overcoming a post traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety or if you need to talk to someone who is trained and able to assist you.

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