Bust your Inner Critic
and Increase Your
Would you run a marathon without training for it? Running 42 kilometers without having exercised would be torture. When facing the challenges of life, we expect to make it through them even though most of us — in life terms — are totally out of shape and exhausted.
Self worth = fitness in life. Fitness requires constant training. To be fit is not something we do once and then have it for the rest of our life, it needs to be constantly tended to. Whether it is our bodies or our self worth, consistent training is the recipe for success.
The first step:
Regularly ask yourself:
- What are the most important values in my life?
- Do I do what I can, to uphold those values in myself? (To walk my talk with integrity?)
- Am I the person I want to be? If not, what would I change?
Why it is worth working on your Self worth
Let’s say that you are a really good dancer, you are a great performer, and if you were to rate yourself against all other dancers you would rate yourself at 7 out of 10. You are performing a solo dance competition against a lot of other dancers. If a better dancer shows up and performs and you have high self-worth you would still rate yourself at 7. You would admire that dancer, appreciate their technique, style, and art and might even try to befriend them. If you are someone with low self-worth, you would probably rank yourself lower in comparison to someone better. You would also be more likely to criticize the better dancer to make yourself feel better.
In short, if your self-worth is low, it is difficult to appreciate someone that you think is better, smarter, more beautiful etc. It becomes harder to like yourself and your inner critic gets to take up a lot more air-time. All in all, this is not a way to enjoy your life or have a happy one.
Compare and Despair
The inner critic uses comparisons to take others and ourselves down. As demonstrated above, this diminishes our self-worth and ability to like others. However, when we start to practice liking who we are and cultivating the feelings of being good enough, life becomes simpler, more fun, and BETTER!! After all, you did not, metaphorically, become a dancer because you wanted to be better than the competition. You did it because you love to dance. You were meant to dance.
There will always be someone better, funnier, smarter, prettier, taller, skinnier, faster than you. BUT, there will never be one person that is better at everything all the time. The key to self-worth is to feel joy and pride in who and what you are in each moment — to find the strength and freedom that that provides you. When you have self-worth, you get to enjoy being yourself.
“The trick is in what one emphasizes. We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves happy. The amount of work is the same.” – Carlos Castaneda
One way to increase your self-worth and start to transform the inner-critic is to learn how to affirm and validate yourself. This journaling technique is designed to help you develop those skills. Once this technique becomes a habit, you will be amazed to see your daily response change as your self-worth grows in strength. Spend a few minutes at the end of the day, preferably just before bedtime, to write a response to these journaling topics. Keep a journal by your bedside and write just before you put your head on the pillow. There are 3 topics for each day, “Pride”, “Gratitude” and “Help”.
Under this heading, write what you did today that you feel proud about. It is very important to affirm yourself. This section of the journal is the most important and, often, the most difficult. If you are out of “shape,” it might be difficult to find good things to write about yourself. If this is not a challenge for you, take it up a notch. A good practice is to look at yourself in the mirror and say out loud what you just wrote down.
Note: For some of us we might be proud of doing the dishes once a week, for others they might be proud of leaving the dishes for one day. You know when you have done something you can be proud of.
I am proud of myself today because…
- I was a good listener today when Wendy needed to talk.
- I gave a very good presentation today.
- I got the punchline at the right place when I told a funny story today.
- I apologized to Linda.
- I didn’t blow up at my boss when he criticized me.
Please write three things you are proud of yourself for today.
In this section, write what you are grateful for that happened today. Instead of noticing what we don’t have, or envying what others have, gratitude is about appreciating what we do have. Often we come to a place of gratitude though catastrophes or trauma, like an earthquake or a fire, where we suddenly feel huge appreciation for what we have. However, this feeling tends to diminish quite quickly over time if we don’t make it a regular habit. Robert Emmons, a leading scientific expert on gratitude has confirmed that gratitude is a powerful tool to create happiness and reduce depression. To feel gratitude takes daily practice and training, and this daily practice will magnify the pleasures you get from life.
To take this up a notch, include WHY you are grateful.
Note: Remember a grateful person always has more to give.
- I am grateful for my family, because they accept me for who I am
- I am grateful for my health, because it allows me to get down on the floor and play with my grandson.
- I am grateful for all the interesting people I get to meet.
- I am grateful I made it out of bed today.
Please write three things you are grateful for today.
Gratitude extra: My friend Michelle taught me the A to Zzzz of Gratitude as a tool to help during sleepless nights when the mind will not stop spinning. Think of something you are grateful for that starts with the letter A, and why, then something that starts with the letter B, and why, until you get to the Z of Zzzz. A side effect of this practice are very pleasant dreams.
In the final section, you will ask for help. Many of us have a hard time going to sleep because we worry about tomorrow. If we write down what we need help with tomorrow, we are likely to get a better night’s sleep. We might ask for help from a higher source, from our unconscious mind, or from a friend. It doesn’t matter who you are asking, if you write down what you need help with every night, you will be surprised to see how much help you will get that following day. It is an important exercise to practice asking for help. Most of us are uncomfortable about asking for help from others, this is a way to strengthen your “asking-for help muscle”. No one accomplished anything completely on their own. Our lives are no different.
Note: Sometimes, we need even more help, like working with a therapist or life coach, and knowing that help is available is good too!
- Help me feel good enough.
- Help me get to the gym tomorrow.
- Help me find compassion for my neighbor.
- Help me finish my to-do list tomorrow.
- Help me apologize to David
Please write down three things you want help with tomorrow.
While journaling like this can be a daily habit for the rest of your life, practice it for one week. Pay attention to the changes that you see each day. Notice if there is resistance to being proud or not. Allow yourself to be surprised by the way you are getting help. Lean in to the expanded awareness of all the goodness in your life. Then contact me at [email protected] to tell me how it works for you and so that we can discuss your next steps towards an expanded life.
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Self Worth Jornaling for 7 days
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