Is your inner bully getting the best of you…the voice that says you’re “not good enough” & never seems to shut up?
Do you allow others to talk to you the way you let your inner critic talk to you? How often do you notice your inner critic making self-rejecting judgments or bullying you? What is your bully saying to you? Below are some examples of common self-judgments that come from our inner critic.
Do any of these critical judgments sound familiar to you?
- I’m such a jerk, why did I embarrass myself like that yesterday;
- I’m a loser, I always do this, when am I ever going to learn;
- I can’t believe I just said that, I’m so stupid, I should know better by now, what’s wrong with me;
- Why does this keep happening to me, when will I ever get it right;
- I look fat, who will ever want to date me, why can’t I just lose weight;
- No one loves me, I don’t fit in anywhere. I’ll never be good enough.
If you recognize any one of these critical thoughts in your head, just know that although we don’t have the authority over other people’s behavior, with a few tools, we can have the authority over our own…that inner critic.
We can learn to identify and change what the inner critic is saying to & about us. We can take back that authority and peace of mind that are rightfully ours. Let’s look at what self-judgment is, why it matters so much, and what you can do about it. First, what is this inner critic anyway? An inner critic is that inner critical voice in your head that is judging, bullying and rejecting you. It’s the fear-based, false self’s opinion that is most often critical of our worthiness or value. At times, it can feel like torment…Like there’s no escaping the voice of self-rejection, guilt, shame, failure, worthlessness, and more. This judgment is a result of the false beliefs and negative thoughts we have about ourselves and the meaning we attach to them. These false beliefs create the thoughts that are reflected in our emotions and in our physical body. These thoughts can turn into negative experiences such as anger, sadness, stress, resistance, and emotional reactions. Remember, most of our thoughts are random, repetitive, and not helpful. Over time, these critical thoughts can take over and run or even ruin our lives if we let them.
The reason why self-judgment matters so much is because it’s one of the greatest obstacles to our happiness, self-acceptance & the freedom of inner peace.
Getting to know your inner critic is an important part of growing greater self-awareness to overcome false beliefs and negative thoughts. Negative self-rejecting judgment isn’t helpful to our emotional well-being. It doesn’t motivate us to improve or to grow either. When we judge ourselves in this way, we experience negative emotions, and then we often act on them or react by being apathetic to our own self-care. Our physical health suffers as a result. Did you know that our primary job is to protect our own emotional well-being? Most of us have these negative thoughts & stories about ourselves and our life situation running though our head nearly 24/7. Sometimes it seems like they’ll never end. When this negative self-talk goes unchecked for so long, it can steal our happiness and inner peace. I changed this in my life and so can you.
Self-judgment comes from false and limiting beliefs that often started in childhood when we were judged by our parents, teachers and peers. No matter how we live our lives, we will face judgment and over time we often start to believe it.
Usually judgment falls into two categories that separate us, e.g., good and bad. As a result, we tend to hang on to the critical part in our stories from the past and notice our shortcomings the most. We end up holding ourselves to an unrealistic standard that was someone else’s measurement for themselves, yet we assumed would also be right for us. Remember, these expectations, comparisons, or the world’s ideal, only have the power we give them. Even Jesus, yet perfect, didn’t live up to the world’s standards. Think about how he was treated. He was imprisoned, beaten & crucified on a cross. Even perfection wasn’t good enough then and still isn’t today. You’ll never satisfy the voice in your head nor the world, and that’s ok. Surrender to it and let it go. Don’t fall for inner critic’s lies anymore. They’re not helpful.
Recognize the inner bully and the lies so you can overcome them once & for all. First become aware of your critical thoughts and what you’re experiencing inside your body. Know the dialog of what’s being said and what your reaction feels like. Instead of taking it personally, practice being there as the witness. Try to relax and get familiar with your inner critic. During the bullying, allow yourself to experience the feeling as you take 3 conscious breaths and try to let it pass through you.
Remember, meditation can be a very helpful tool in learning to be aware of your thoughts and teach you to watch them as they come & go.
Be patient with yourself as you practice being the witness to what’s going on in your head. Know that, just because you don’t have silence when you’re meditating doesn’t mean it’s not working. In fact, it actually is working, but the mind doesn’t want you to quiet it. During your meditation time, your mind will be busy as usual until you start getting to know yourself better and your thought patterns. It just takes practice being still and observing what’s going on in your head. In this way, you’ll learn the voices that are showing up and not take them so seriously. As you do your inner work, to become more aware of yourself, the critical inner bully & the negative thoughts about yourself can and will slowly dissolve. Know that, during this process of dissolving your negative thoughts, you will also experience more space available for the fulfilling things we’re all seeking in life such as love and joy.
So, try this tomorrow morning. When you get up, pay attention to what’s going on in your head. Have you ever listened to the chatter?
It can be really noisy! Many don’t listen. That’s why taking the time to be silent, to listen or meditate is a good way to know what’s going on. So, what are the thoughts saying? As you enter the bathroom and look in the mirror, what do you tell yourself? While you’re dressing to prepare for the day, what’s running through your mind? Are you aware of your thoughts? So often, our lives are interrupted by intruding negative self-talk. So, what about you? Do you have an inner critic bullying you? If so, commit to loving yourself no matter what the bully says. Don’t let that bully take up residence in your life, period. Keep building your self-awareness, so you can take back your inner power and silence your bully for good.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this blog. Please share it with someone else. It may be exactly what they need to hear to be free too. Come back for next month’s blog and…
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About the Author – Trina Carroll-Houk is a spiritual teacher, counselor, and founder of Breaking Free Boundaries, LLC who specializes in self-awareness, mindfulness, and the spiritual dimension of being. Her goal is to help people improve their quality of life so they can experience inner peace, meaningful purpose, and fulfillment. Trina represents a movement focused on helping people release what limits them from transforming into awakened beings with a higher sense of spiritual consciousness.
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