Imagery by Sarah Ellen Photography
Location: Primrose Hill
This post is sponsored by Fabletics.
"No wonder you're in therapy.. you're so fucked up"
"Just lose some weight"
"Maybe you'd have more friends if you wasn't such a sensitive bitch"
"Why are you so disgusting"
"You should be embarrassed by your past"
"You're so stupid"
"If you were more like her, maybe you'd actually get somewhere in life"
Do you recognise these thoughts? These statements? These lies?
There was a time in my life, not so long ago, where I would hear negative inner dialogue all day, everyday. Like an annoying little bird sat on my shoulder that would not shut up. But it wasn't until I started to develop my self awareness, that I even noticed those thoughts were there.
We become so accustomed to negative self talk that the lines between self compassionate and self destructive become blurred. In fact, I am more inclined to say that self compassion just disappears altogether.
We are so harsh on ourselves. So cruel, that if we spoke to others the way we speak to ourselves we would probably be classed as a bully.
I remember a few years ago when I started to be kinder to myself, that my inner dialogue was loud, aggressive and sometimes pretty evil. It felt like a demanding adult, engaging with a stubborn inner child. It felt like a teacher to a naughty student. But, it also felt like me.
The outside nagging noises of 'you aren't good enough' had been heard so many times that they had become me. I had internalised other people's opinions, pain and their own self deprecating words that I could no longer hear my own voice.
And if I'm honest, I don't think I had ever heard it.
Our inner dialogue, or as I like to call it 'our inner critic', is formed out of childhood trauma and/or difficult early life experiences. It is something we cannot control due to age and cognitive development, so as we grow up, our inner critic grows up with us. Those self critical and unkind thoughts sit in our subconscious mind, until we bring them into our awareness through therapy, self development or self healing. If unrecognised, our inner critic can manifest in painful ways and unwell behaviours.
For instance, you may self sabotage a flourishing relationship because you believe the voice in your head that tells you, you're not good enough. Or perhaps, you struggle with confidence and self belief to achieve your goals, because the voice in your head tells you that you will fail if you try.
This inner critic is heard by everyone, because everyone at some point in their lives has witnessed or experienced something painful that has lead to shame, guilt, lack or fear. Instead of processing these experiences and feeling safe enough to have an open dialogue about how we feel, we instead internalise and those thoughts manifest inward.
Over the last few years, I have been integrating my own compassionate voice with my inner critic and I thought it was about time, I shared with you how.
Learn Which Voice You're Hearing
This is actually really simple. Your inner critic will always tell you things based on shame or guilt. It will be a negative, unkind, naggy voice that makes you feel bad about yourself. It won't feel compassionate or empathetic. It will tell you to make fear based decisions that will impact you negatively in the long run.
Your own voice (your inner guidance) is the opposite of all that I mentioned above. It will sound so kind and loving that you will question if it's really you. You may be so used to suffering that hearing something so gentle will feel alien and maybe even scary. Remember that your own voice cannot hurt you and it is there to guide you and motivate you so that you can be your best self. Your own voice will make you feel like you're enough. Because you are.
Respond To Your Inner Critic With Love
Even when you can identify between your inner critic and your inner guidance, this doesn't mean your inner critic becomes silent. For some people, their inner critic becomes even louder as they become aware of it. This is because their inner critic feels threatened and is therefore ready to fight. It's war! But instead of fighting with fear, we fight with love. "Hello Inner Critic, I can hear you and I feel really sad that you want to make me feel shame and guilt. Unfortunately today I have decided to choose myself and despite what you say about me, I know that you're lying".
Replace every unkind thought, with a kind one. When you hear "you're disgusting", remind yourself that you are beautiful. When you hear "you're going to fail this exam", remind yourself that you have studied for months, you know your stuff and whatever happens you have done your best.
Eventually (and I truly mean this) your inner guidance becomes the voice you hear the most. Your self compassionate and loving voice will be louder than your inner critic and it will feel beautiful.
Explore The Why's
Our critical voice is outside noise internalised, or a part of ourselves that has turned against us. This could be down to learnt behaviours as a child or as a way to make ourselves feel safe, connected or attached. This may be something that shows up if you were raised around a parent who constantly put themselves, others or you down. Your inner child will then believe that self destructive thoughts and cruel words towards others are something you just put up with - even if they invoke upset or pain.
If you explore the why's and bring into awareness the core beliefs you have developed, it is much easier to fight your inner critic. You may even find that once you logically understand why your inner critic is so loud, instead of fighting, you just surrender. You surrender to the pain and you begin to feel it, because once you feel it, you don't need to feel it anymore.
You cannot heal what hasn't been revealed.
This post is in collaboration with Fabletics.
I have been an ambassador for them since the beginning of the year and this post was actually inspired by their #MeInRealLife campaign.
I wanted to share with you all an honest, vulnerable but educational piece of content because that's who I am. This is me, in real life.
I love to evoke emotion, with mechanisms and tools that you can all use yourself, after reading.
I believe mental health is such an important topic and self care and self awareness are ways in which we can protect and look after ourselves.
Most days, you will find me in joggers and a hoodie, looking after number one and taking on the world (or just a small part of it depending on how tired I am lol).
I have felt more inspired than usual to step into my power and really celebrate all the things that make me me. As humans, we can often fall short into thinking we need to be one way, an asethetic if you will, but that isn't who we are. We are multi faceted souls who are here to develop, have fun and exist as loudly as we possibly can.
Your inner critic will try to diminish you. It will try to make you small and quiet and con-formative. Do not let it. Be big. Be bold. Be expressive. Be YOU.
Now go and raise your inner guidance to be the goddess you are.
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