Posted on Jul 22, 2022

“If you gave your inner genius as much credence as your inner critic, you would be lightyears ahead of where you now stand.” –Alan Cohen

Hello, Dear Friends! Welcome back to The Mindful Movement. 

Let’s get real about how you’ve been talking to yourself.  

One of the issues I encounter in many of my clients is their tendency to resort to LOTS of negative self-talk when they:

  • Feel stuck in their lives (“Why aren’t I further along? Why can’t I seem to just get it together like my friends or family? What’s WRONG with me?”)
  • Can’t seem to speak up for what they want (“UGH, I’m such a coward!”)
  • Feel depressed, anxious, or low (“I shouldn’t feel bad—I have everything to be grateful for!”)

An eye-opening technique I often use with these lovely people is to ask them, “What would you say to your best friend who struggles with the same challenges you have now?” Or, "If you were your own coach, how would you coach yourself?"

Invariably, they respond with encouraging words, empathy, and support. So, why is it often so hard to extend that same welcome and softness toward ourselves?

Often, our tendency to resort to negative inner messaging comes from waaayyyy back in our childhood, adolescence, or early adult-hood—before our brains have fully developed to be objective in our self-evaluation.

(And if you’re curious, our brains don’t even fully develop that ability until we hit age 25 or so.)

Also, we receive all kinds of messages from our care-givers as we grow, and sometimes even with the best of intentions, the adults in our lives handed us some pretty tough talk. Those comments can stay with us for years and decades as “The Voice In Our Heads” as we encounter challenges, triumphs, conflicts, and opportunities.

Another way this harsh inner critic is developed is a protection strategy:

"If I succeed, I'll be loved."

"If I am my own worst critic, no one else will offer worse and hurt me."

"If I bring home the best grades, become the top athlete, win the awards, my parents won't be angry."

Change is possible–with help

But how do we change this element? I mean, isn’t that inner critic there to motivate you? To let you know when you’ve come up short and need to try harder? Even if you feel awful in the process?

Here’s the truth: It’s not necessary to cut yourself down to get where you want to go. In fact, that’s the opposite of what you need to get where you want to go.

Once you’ve become aware of your negative self-talk, here are 4 ways to shift the conversation in your head (plus a bonus tip and exercise):

  1. Recognize your inner critic by catching your negative self-talk in the act. (How often do you notice that you put yourself down, or assume that what you desire will always be just out of reach? How often do you celebrate what’s great about you?)
  2. Understand how your inner critic has benefitted you to this point. Yes, really. (In other words, what might you be getting from all the insults you dish out to yourself? Could it be that if you never try anything, you’ll never fail? Or maybe your relentless perfectionism helps you feel in control of your life–and feel secure and safe?) We always act in ways that help us feel like we can have our needs met, even if it’s a counter-intuitive way to do it.
  3. Know your triggers. Where and when does your inner critic begin to get louder? At work? In your partnership? What about when you’re out socially? What does she say? How often does she chime in with a withering word or phrase?
  4. Interrupt the pattern.  As soon as you notice your critical language kicking in, try doing a thing with your body to stop the words. Perhaps a hand on your heart or clasping your hands together can cue you to shift the conversation—and create some go-to supportive and loving phrases you KNOW are true. Like “BREATHE.” Or “I am loved.” Or, “It’s okay to use my voice.”
  5. BONUS TIP: Keep the gifts and strength you have gained from the inner critic, and leave the harsh, unsupportive words behind.  You may recognize that you have developed drive, motivation, and strength from parts of this inner critic.  Changing patterns doesn't mean you have to leave those qualities behind.  Keep the strengths and let go of the ways the inner critic isn't serving you.
  6. BONUS EXERCISE: If you’re really keen to shush your inner critic, be sure to watch this video for a *bonus* exercise that will help you get a little deeper into your negative dialog patterns and transform your inner critic into a more Positive Paul or Pauline. (Then, watch your relationships, career, and lifestyle begin to change for the better—to feel your forward momentum again or for the first time.)

Listen, even if you go through all of these steps, you may still find yourself slipping into negative self-talk that keeps you stuck and small. And that’s okay, these practices take, well, practice. (I know you've heard me say that before, and I'll say it again!)

Sometimes, a trusted guide with loads of experience helping people like yourself transform their inner critic into a supportive best friend can speed and ease the process.

Enter private hypnotherapy sessions with me. I’m enrolling new clients and would love to find out more about where you feel stuck and stymied in your life, and where your negative voice is cutting you down rather than keeping you safe.

If you feel the call to learn more and book a session, here’s the link you need. Let’s get to know one another and I’ll share how hypnotherapy might be precisely the support you need and want–today.


Sara and Les

The Mindful Movement


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A personalized hypnotherapy session can support you in making a change you desire.  It would be my honor to help you through the process of change that you are looking for.

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