The biggest shift I’ve made towards more joy and lightness in my life YOU can actually start making today!Sep 25, 2023
Do you ever say “See, you are just too stupid to do this!” to yourself? Does it ever feel like the voice in your head is constantly bullying and belittling you?
Does it ever feel like the voice in your head is loud or quiet, mean, taunting, stubborn, angry, hateful, whispering, screaming, laughing, mocking, bullying, pretending, hurting.
Whew… What a list.
And all of that is well hidden inside us. Our inner critic can sometimes talk endlessly without even taking a breath and it often leaves us feeling powerless and at the mercy of the voice that’s commenting away all the time.
I once was attending a retreat where we told each other what the inner critic said to us and what I heard was truly devastating. “You are ugly, no wonder you can't find a man” “You are so wrinkly and look OLD!” “I can’t stand you!” I was shocked at the immense nastiness that was alive within some of these wonderful women I admire deeply.
In fact, let’s sit down together too. You and me. Let’s take a moment and write down a few sentences that come to mind that you often hear from your inner critic. Just take out your pen and journal and maybe close your eyes for a moment and think of the comments going off in your head in different situations. Start writing down what comes to your mind without analyzing it.
For me it’s offensive things like:
- Oh, oooh, you gained so much weight, Ronja!
- Look at these scars on your belly, not looking nice!
- Your skin is so white, you look like a ghost!
- You are so not efficient, work harder, lazy pig!
- Do more sports, lazy b*tch!
Is your list even more devastating? Isn’t this INSANE how we talk to ourselves in our mind?
Sometimes there’s a real voice behind our inner critic, somebody that has told us over and over that we’re not good enough, or that we’re not attractive, or that we’re too much, or that we’re too loud / too quiet / too weird / too [fill in the gap]. In those cases, we’ve internalized this sentence and have turned it into our own words and voice.
Sometimes it’s something that we’ve adopted from the behavior of others and from which we’ve crafted our own value system. We see other people criticize (e.g. our mom) their body all the time when they look into a mirror and so we unconsciously adopt this behavior and start doing it too.
Sometimes it’s the sheer amount of things that we read and hear each day, in the newspaper, on social media, via our friends that is constantly influencing and shaping us, so that the mean inner critic runs the thought game all day long. “You are so short!” as an inner voice comment is so mean, because you can’t make yourself grow. The photoshopped lengthened legs are not helpful to see all day long, right? Our imperfections we can’t even change are the most sensitive topics where our inner voice can be extra cruel!
It’s often the twisted aim for perfection that our society is constantly promoting that leads us astray from ourselves.
The solution is to turn your inner critic into a kind and supportive voice (yes, that’s possible!).
You might laugh wearily right now, because oh really, Ronja? THAT is your solution? As if it’s not plastered all over the freaking self care internet and social media self-love-quotes. Oh, and a pink unicorn just flew by the window too.
I get you. And I promise that it’ll get more concrete than just that. So please read on. (P.S. Did you really see that pink unicorn flying by??)
Start by acknowledging but not judging what you see. This is one of the most important steps towards transforming your inner critical voice into a kind and supportive voice.
Here’s two examples how you can do that:
- Eg. 1: When you look in the mirror and see yourself, your inner voice might say “I see tons of wrinkles”. Now you don’t have to say “I see skin as delicate as a baby's” - although of course you can : ) - but let’s do this in little steps: you could simply say “hello” to the wrinkles but also to the rest of yourself, and even try to smile at yourself.
- Eg. 2: When you try this new recipe that your friend (a great home baker by the way) and it turns out so-so, your inner voice might say “see, I knew you couldn’t do it”, and instead of thinking “wow, that’s the most tasty thing I’ve ever eaten” you could try to think “well, at least it’s edible” or “it was worth a shot, I’ll ask my friend for a tip when I see them next time”.
If you take the sentences that you’ve written down at the beginning and think about what you could’ve told yourself instead, what insights does it give you? Will you try these new neutral or - even better - kind sentences instead of the mean ones next time?
My examples turn into:
Instead of “Oh, oooh, you gained so much weight, Ronja!” I’d say: “Hello gorgeous friend!” because that’s who I want to be to me.
Instead of: “Look at these scars on your belly, not looking nice!” My inner voice can assure me that these surgeries went well and it’s so good that these cysts are out and my belly healthy.
Instead of: “Your skin is so white, you look like a ghost!” I say in my head: “You can’t change anything about your whiteness, so let’s embrace it fully, and just let it be, shall we?”
Instead of: “You are so not efficient, work harder, lazy pig!” - I created this business so that I can take my time and decide for myself how much and when I work. So dear inner critical voice: Shut up! I’m creating my own rhythm with lots of joy and creativity!
Instead of: “Do more sports, lazy b*tch!” - My kind inner voice and I can have a discussion about how much movement we want to include in our day. I am fundamentally lazy about movement, I know that AND I can change this, when and if I want. No need for calling me names! (I just did yoga this morning and it felt sooo good. Daily yoga is a goal and I can be very gentle with myself when I don’t do it)
Do I make it sound like it’s that simple when you feel like it’s actually so hard? Yes, a well-trained and long-fostered inner mean voice might not agree to change and transform so quickly, so instead of forcing it to become friendly right away, let’s take it step by step. You can nurture your inner voice with friendly nudges like: “Is this really what you think I deserve to hear? Can you say something nice?” Posing questions is helping your inner voice to become aware of the nastiness of some comments. Talk to it friendly ourselves first.
My favorite exercise for raising awareness for your inner voice is playful and powerful. I invite you to try this out for some weeks:
Start by finding your favorite photo of yourself as a little kid. Print it out and tape it up on your bathroom mirror. Now every time you go into the bathroom, and your inner voice starts criticizing you, you look at the little kid and ask yourself: Would I really tell these things to this little wonderful kid? Nope! Right? Practice saying something nice. Let this be a daily reminder that you get to choose what you say to yourself, and that you are capable of taming the inner critical voice and slowly but surely transform it into your personal kind and supportive inner kind voice.
Are you skeptical if it’ll work? I invite you to just try it. Many of my Joy Academy clients did this exercise over a long period of time and it had a big and heartwarming impact on their perception of themselves.
Imagine a hissing angry scared cat, it doesn’t become a purring kitty overnight. But with a lot of loving attention, determination and constantly showing her that it’s safe to be in this world, it can transform.
Let’s do the same by calming down those constant nagging comments in your head. You get to choose how you want to think about yourself. You CAN actually accept especially body related things you CAN’T change like birthmarks and scars etc… If we manage to take a neutral stance we can give the inner critical voice a big hug and let it become our kind inner voice.
With a supportive inner voice life gets so much easier, lighter and more fun. Once you’ve started grasping the big impact that this shift can have, it’ll get easier and easier to go from mean to kind, from hindering to supporting.
It’ll be the most wonderful feeling when you realize: “Oh wow, I’ve just been kind to myself and I’ve supported myself instead of thinking that I’m stupid and that just feels AWESOME!!”
(Re-)building that connection with your inner self, engaging in dialogue with your inner voice and listening to your gut feeling are THE guides on your journey in the Joy Academy because they are crucial for your well-being and for having more joy and lightness in your life.
Are you ready to get all the support and community you need to step on that path? Joy Academy is a one year journey where you are guided to find what’s “missing” from your already pretty good life so that you can experience more joy and lightness every single day. Get more information HERE.
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