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When it's time to to fire the messenger.

When it's time to to fire the messenger.

Think for a minute about the messages you are delivering to yourself. Are they kind, forgiving and encouraging or are they harsh, critical and sometimes even a little cruel? Acceptance is about finding peace with who we really are and who we are meant to be. It’s also about finding a way to fire the messenger, change the narrative and replace it with something better so that we are no longer our own worst critics and can begin living more fulfilling lives.

Meet your inner critic.

The inner critic is that little voice inside your head that loves to feed you terrible information. It reminds you of all the awful things you’ve done, and all the terrible things that may have happened as a result. It keeps you from growing and is happiest when you avoid any and all risk. The inner critic loves to assert itself whenever possible, especially when we are stressed or have feelings of self-doubt. Contrary to how it might feel though, we have more control over what that little voice is telling us than we think.

How to beat the inner critic at its own game

The first step to regaining some control is becoming aware of when the inner critic is asserting itself and what’s its telling you. When we can begin to notice our inner critic we can also begin to question the messages we are receiving. The inner critic does not stand up well to cross-examination. The next time you notice that critical voice try examining the message. Is what you’re telling yourself useful? Is it helpful? How does it make you feel? Is that how you want to feel? What do you gain from making yourself feel this way? As you begin to question the narrative you may notice the inner critic begin to loosen its grip. The more you question the inner critic the weaker it’s argument becomes. At a certain point, you may even consider changing the narrative altogether and adopting a new and kinder message.

Beware the inner critic does not give up easily.

The inner critic is part of your lizard brain. The lizard brain isn’t concerned with happiness or balance or any of that stuff you think is necessary for a fulfilling life. It’s one and only concern is survival. The inner critic prefers to stick to the old ways and it will try its best to assert them in any way it can. As it does there may be a temptation to surrender or beat up on yourself for failing to find some kind of lasting result and that exactly what the inner critic wants. So how do you short circuit the inner critic's attempts to sabotage your personal development? This where acceptance comes in. Acceptance means being kind and forgiving toward yourself and allowing room for failures and setbacks. Getting you to question your motivations and punish yourself for failure is the inner critic way of trying to keep you “safe”... "As painful as it might be, as long as you avoid risk and stick with the plan you’ll be fine.” But it’s not fine, it’s far from fine and the more you question that message and drag it out into the light the less water those messages hold and once we begin to realize we have a choice in the matter the weaker and less appealing the inner critic's voice become.