Sometimes it can seem as though everyone you know is eager to criticize you. Maybe your boss didn’t like the way in which you completed the last project you were assigned. Maybe your spouse is unhappy with how long it has taken you to get something done around the house. Maybe your kids are upset with you because you can’t drop everything and take them to the park. Heck, maybe a stranger in the car behind you decided to lean on their horn to object to how slowly you got going when the light turned green.
All of this criticism can be hard to take—especially when you know you are doing your best to please all the people in your life. You might feel as though everyone is piling on, and the weight of the criticism may well become hard to bear.
Still, there is often one person who can make you feel even worse than an angry boss, a disappointed family member, or a stranger in a hurry. A person whose criticism can seem impossible to escape. A person who only seems to be able to see your faults.
That person? It’s you.
Your inner critic likely has a lot to say, and odds are most of it isn’t uplifting or supportive. And that constant self-criticism can start to wear on you to the point that it contributes to or worsens a mental health disorder.
So, it is probably a good idea to figure out how to get your internal monologue to focus on the positive rather than the negative. But how the heck do you do that? We have some suggestions.
Talk Back to the Voice in Your Head
First things first: In order to respond in effective ways to the negativity of your inner voice, you have to become more aware of it and the messages that voice is spouting. Negative self-talk can be so pervasive that you don’t even really “hear” it. So, it is important to listen to what that voice says so that you can counter its messages. It can also be helpful to identify particular times of day or specific situations that seem to bring your inner critic to the fore.
Next, it is important to remind yourself not to take your inner critic’s word for anything. The voice might tell you that you will never get the promotion or that your friends don’t really like you or that your interests and aspirations are dumb. Remember that you are not required to agree with this assessment.
In fact, keeping a list of your positive traits and the things you have accomplished (no matter how big or small they might seem) can be a good way to fact check your inner voice when it amps up the criticism. And when you fact check your inner critic, you have the opportunity to remind yourself of specific ways in which that interior voice is demonstrably wrong. The voice says, “You never do anything right.” You reply, “You know, I did several things well today, and I can keep improving in areas where I’m struggling.”
By taking back the narrative, you can prevent the critic in your head from dominating the conversation and having a negative impact on your mental health.
Remember: You Are Doing All The Talking
We have been writing about the voice in your head that tells you things will never go your way as if it is separate from you. But of course, it isn’t. You are the person who has a marked tendency to give yourself a hard time. And that is important to remember.
Knowing that you can make a conscious effort to look for the positive rather than the negative puts the responsibility for—and the impact of—the things you tell yourself firmly in your own hands. You don’t have to bully yourself. Instead, you can take the opportunity to be kind and supportive to yourself—even when things are challenging.
When your inner commentator is more firmly on your side, you give your mental health a boost and open yourself up to a world of possibilities and opportunities.
We Are Here to Listen—And to Help
At Peak View Behavioral Health in Colorado Springs, we are committed to personalized treatment of mental health disorders. That means that you can count on us to listen to you intently so that we can correctly identify and effectively treat any mental health disorder with which you might be struggling. Don’t let your inner critic talk you out of getting the help you need to improve your mental health and maintain that improvement over time.