“If you are like most people, you know your inner critic all too well. It is the voice in your head that judges you, doubts you, belittles you, and constantly tells you that you are not good enough. It says negative hurtful things to you—things that you would never even dream of saying to anyone else. I am such an idiot; I am a phony; I never do anything right; I will never succeed.
Like it or not, everything you say to yourself matters. The inner critic isn’t harmless. It inhibits you, limits you, and stops you from pursuing the life you truly want to live. It robs you of peace of mind and emotional well-being and, if left unchecked long enough, it can even lead to serious mental health problems like depression or anxiety.
What if the critic is true? It doesn’t matter. Negative self-talk is never in your interest. There is always a different, kinder, better way to treat yourself that doesn’t involve negative labels and self-destructive mindsets. In any given situation you can focus on what you did wrong or what you did well and what you can do better next time.
For a simple 30-day exercise that can help you replace the critic with a more positive view of yourself click here.”
1. Beck, Aaron T. Cognitive therapy: A 30-year retrospective. American Psychologist, Vol 46(4), Apr 1991, 368-375.
Dr. Jennice Vilhauer is the director of the Outpatient Psychotherapy Treatment Program at Emory Healthcare, the developer of Future Directed Therapy, and the author of Think Forward to Thrive: How to Use the Mind’s Power of Anticipation to Transcend Your Past and Transform Your Life.