From Self Criticism to Self Empowerment

Negative words from other people may not be as harmful as the negative words you speak to yourself.

I read a great post the other day by fellow expert, Jaqui Duvall, on moving from self-criticism to positive self talk, along with the benefits of it and the how-to’s.  I’m going to give you a few highlights of her article here.  Please use this link or the link below to read Jaqui’s full article, “Proactively Start Your Day with Positive Self Talk.”

Though the old saying about sticks and stones says, “Words will never hurt me,” words do hurt; often, our own words hurt the most.

This is the premise for Jaqui’s article.  The words we speak to ourselves in our minds are often even more harsh and more harmful than the words of other people.  Interestingly enough, she has found that many of her clients admit that they are their own worst critic instead of their own best friend.

There is a common source for this type of inner, self criticism.  Psychologists say that it is directly linked to how we were talked to as children, that we “imitate the parenting we received inside our own heads, continuing the practice of praising, disciplining, etc.”  Any nurturing voice in one’s mind is usually drowned out by the critical ones.  If fear is involved, such as about finances and the economy, self criticism can quickly spiral out of control with negative inner monologues.

Deliberate, intentional action can change the inner critic to a nurturing, supportive role, leading one to positive outcomes. 

Jaqui says,

The good news is we can actually change our inner self-talk and we can change what comes out of our mouths. Catching the inner critic before it starts beating us up and shifting our words to nurturing, supportive direction, like a coach would give, can lead to more positive outcomes in our lives. Being conscious, deliberate and intentional about what we say and what we think takes raising awareness, making a choice and acting differently.

There are several specific suggestions Jaqui makes to break the self critic pattern:

1.  Observe Yourself – Pay attention to your inner talk, how you interpret situations, and what you are saying when no one is around to hear you.

2.  Journal Your Inner Talk – Re-reading the inner talk you’ve journaled helps you see more easily when thinking becomes distorted.


3.  Get an Unbiased Opinion – We cannot always be objective about ourselves; get input.  For example, when Jaqui had a lull in class attendance, an outside source essentially told her, “You can view this personally which will bring discouragement and be disempowering, or admit that people are being more cautious in this economy and use the extra time wisely.”

4.  Act Differently – You must go beyond noticing the inner criticism and follow through with new affirmations — out loud.  Speaking positively out loud is essential to establishing new patterns.

5.  Be Proactive, Not Reactive – If you allow self-critical thoughts to start, it is more difficult to change to a positive direction. Choose to be self-supportive first.

6.  Start the Morning with Positive Self Talk – Speak empowering affirmations first thing in the morning, which is a negative time for most people.

Following Jaqui’s advice can take you from the self-defeating habit of being a self-critic to developing a new positive pattern of self talk, creating better self-esteem and positive, empowering outcomes!

Jaqui Duvall is an author, life coach, and counselor.  Read her full article online here, Proactively Start Your Day with Positive Self Talk 

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