This Valentine’s Day, I’m focusing on loving myself by combating the negative, judgmental inner critic inside my head.
Identifying my Inner Critic
A recent article on Shine Text advised to name my inner critic, identify its habits, and create a safe word to stop it. Immediately, I came up with the name Justine. Justine is the voice inside my head who loves to attack me while I’m getting ready for the day. She loves to say how fat I am or make me feel guilty for gaining a pound from one week to the next. She makes me second-guess my outfit choice for the day and tell me how I don’t look professional enough.
“If you want to be taken seriously, you have to dress seriously,” she chastises. Then she shows me a highlight reel of images I’ve liked from Instagram of fashion bloggers who look flawless in their photos. “You should look like them. You’re 28, and you still look like you’re in college.”
The safe word I created for Justine is simply, “Be kind to yourself.” It’s really a safe phrase, but it’s a mantra I have focused on since the beginning of the year.
Why do we have Inner Critics?
From the looks of it, it sounds like I am a completely insecure, unstable woman. But in reality, most women feel insecure about themselves, and not just about their physical bodies, but also about their place at work, or even in their home life. We feel like we aren’t good enough wives or mothers, or that we are terrible daughters or friends.
It’s even become part of our social circles. Remember that scene in Mean Girls where they are all looking in the mirror and saying what they don’t like about themselves, then they look at Lindsey Lohan, expecting her to do the same? Yeah, women do that, even if it’s not in such a blatant way, like going on a Target run with your bestie and trying on swimsuits and complaining the whole time about how you hate how your thighs look.
It’s a thing, and it’s unhealthy.
So why do we do this to ourselves?
Ultimately, I think happiness is the reason.
Happiness is what is being advertised to us constantly. Think about the last commercial you saw on television. Most likely, the point of the commercial was to buy a product to lead a better life and be a better, happier version of yourself. Buy this car so you can drive fast and look cool. Buy this mascara because your eyelashes will look bigger and you will look like this model. Those commercials and ads feed Justine (the inner critic inside my head), even if it is subconsciously.
Steps to Fight Back
If you are like me, and want to combat this tragic thought process, let’s help each other out and do it together.
Here are some steps I plan on taking:
- Identify your inner critic.
- Write down when your critic is most active, and come up with a stop word or phrase to fight back.
- Begin to praise yourself.
- Start a positivity journal, or write one thing you like about yourself each day in your planner.
- I am also starting to meditate using the Calm app, and have started a meditation journal. Right now, I am trying to meditate 2-3 times per week, but eventually, I would like to do it each day.
We have to snub out negative habits with positive, healthy ones.
We are always going to have an inner critic inside our heads, but we can control it. It’s your body, and your mind. You. Are. Worth. It.
So, this Valentine’s Day, what are you doing to show yourself some love? Do you struggle with a negative inner critic, too? Feel free to comment below about your experience!