Silencing My Own Inner Critic
Over the last few weeks I have been struggling with my own inner parent. That voice in my head that tells me that whatever went wrong today is my fault or that my feelings are invalid and silly. It’s that nagging voice that pops up every now and again to remind me that I will never be good enough. Sound familiar? I am no stranger to this toxic inner dialogue that attempts to sabotage my efforts to be good to myself. This constant struggle against my inner antagonist got me thinking, why is it so hard to love myself the way that I love others? I would consider myself a fairly loving person. I have a deep desire to take care of the people I love and would go to the ends of the earth to keep them happy and to maintain these relationships. For me, it is instinctual to take good care of someone you love and to constantly show them love and support. If it is my daily practice and belief to be good to others in this world, shouldn’t it be easy for me to put the same time and effort into taking care of me.
Taking care of myself is hard work. It is so easy to pass our self-care off onto someone else, relying on outside relationships to bring us fulfillment and make us complete. Often I would rather worry about everything and everyone else around me then take a second to think about how I am doing. Perhaps it is because focusing on myself seems selfish and I hate the idea of being too self involved. Or maybe I am afraid to know what I am actually thinking and feeling, should I take a minute to slow down from the whirlwind of external activities and people that fill my life. It is so easy to get caught up in the outside chaos and put all of our focus into the joys of others. In fact, I regularly forget to take ownership for my own self-care and put building a positive relationship with myself on the back burner.
Identifying your negative voice is the first step to breaking out of this viscous cycle of self-neglect and negative thinking. The next step is to shut it down. So I’m taking a stand! I deserve to treat myself like someone I love and that starts with silencing the negative voice in my head. If I don’t start respecting and validating my own needs, thoughts and feelings, I will continue to look to others for fulfillment and continue to feel incomplete as a person. I must remember to never become comfortable with my negative voice but to continually strive for the fulfillment and love I deserve, starting from the inside.Liz Montgomery is a graduate student in Counseling with an interest in addictions and eating disorders. She volunteers for NEDIC and currently works as a personal trainer and running coach in Toronto.