Health

How to Silence the Inner Critic

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have found that living with my chronic pain that comes from Fibromyalgia causes me to be unkind to myself. These are some coping techniques I have used to fight the inner critic.

Take Time to Celebrate – Every little thing that I accomplish (From putting on clothes to setting a new record in running), I either mentally (Good job, Elizabeth!) or physically (Do a little dance!) celebrate. This is actually a proven technique to develop new habits. Quartz quoted B.J. Fogg, “a psychologist and researcher at Stanford University who has studied behavior change for more than 20 years”, as saying the act of celebration is an important part of forming new habits, “You’re rewriting your identity as someone who succeeds.” (To read more check out https://qz.com/877795/how-to-create-new-good-habits-according-to-stanford-psychologist-b-j-fogg/)

Give Yourself Grace – We have a sign hanging in our bedroom that says, “Live by grace, not perfection.”

“Most healthy people have a seemingly infinite number of spoons at their disposal, each one representing the energy needed to do a task. You get up in the morning. That’s a spoon… if you are sick or in pain, your exhaustion changes you and the number of spoons you have. Autoimmune disease or chronic pain…Depression or anxiety takes away even more… If you clean the house you won’t have any spoons left to exercise…so you try to make spoons out of caffeine and willpower but that never really works. The only thing that does work is realizing that your lack of spoons is not your fault, and to remind yourself of that fact over and over…” – Jenny Lawson, Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things (emphasis mine).

You must always remind yourself that it is not your fault if you cannot accomplish everything that you wanted to today. You are not perfect and that is okay. That fact does not make you less worthwhile or valuable.

Take Time to Enjoy – Remember the things that make you happy and do them. This may sound obvious, but how many times do we not do something just because it is difficult to start? Write a list of the things that make you happy. After you write down the list, write down the reasons why you don’t do these things more often. Come up with counter-arguments to do them. You can say them in your head when you are thinking of doing the things that make you happy.

Purposefully Rest – What relaxes you? How often do you do it? Schedule time where you do these things and guard that time. I find drinking tea a restful activity for me, so I carve out time in my day to do it. I had a friend give me the Take 5 Rule in college, and it has helped me have a more restful spirit.

Take 5 Minutes and Do One of the Following:

  • Read Your Bible
  • Pray
  • Drink a Cup of Tea
  • Read a Favorite Book

Starting small is essential in creating habits, so tackle just a little of this list at a time. I hope this list has been helpful to you!

Please share and comment. How do you silence your inner critic?

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9 Comments

  • Julie

    I’ve been working on good habits lately and thinking about celebrating when I do it is worth contemplating….thanks for your words!

    • Elizabeth

      Thank you for your encouragement! Please pray for me because I am struggling with taking care of myself correctly while I am sick and, at the same time, trying to continue the healthy habits I learned. If you have any ideas, I would welcome them.

  • Tricia Murdock

    This life is so busy and we always add more to it – and don’t realize that all the things we add to it just pile more and more expectations of perfection. The sentiment of “You’re rewriting your identity as someone who succeeds.” That’s what I desire in my heart, now to get my brain on the same page.

  • Ani Kay

    I agree that celebrating the wins, no matter how big or small, is key to changing your view of yourself. I struggle with anxiety and depression and it really does take its toll on my day to day in terms of what I can get accomplished. I think people forget that we can change our inner monologue, I know it and I forget it as well. I love the take five idea!

    • Tricia Murdock

      Hi Ani! I experience the same! I think acknowledging those pieces of ourselves is as important as knowing our strengths. Being gentle with ourselves during times when we are struggling the most I believe to be just as important (or more!) as pushing ourselves when we feel like we can take on the world.

  • Debrah

    Loved your post and my favourite was the idea of celebrating even the little accomplishments. Most of us don’t bother with that and just carry on doing our own thing which means we’ve lost an opportunity to reaffirm a new, better behaviour. Thanks for sharing.

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