How Your Inner Critic Can Help Heal Your Life

Every once in awhile it’ll creep in. The familiar voice that berates me for not publishing a book yet. The nag that tells me I’m not talented. I’m not “good enough.” The critic who agrees with every insensitive attack on my soul.

It’s a shame spiral that starts from a little splinter of a comment or an insensitive remark and then I’m done. I’m broken and it isn’t even noon yet.

{Gratitude wood sign by the5donalds}

{Gratitude wood sign by the5donalds}

Shame. Guilt. Self-sabotage. The inner critic.

These are goblins that haunt the life of a creative person. They harp on those who are sensitive, vulnerable and raw from years of being told they’re not enough.

But underneath the layers of dark viscous suffocating hurt, there is hope.

Recently, I was enlightened by a podcast with author Elizabeth Gilbert and Sounds True’s Tami Simon. Here is a snippet from the Insights at the Edge interview:

“I had a really helpful conversation recently with a friend of mine, who I really admire [and] who I think is quite spiritually evolved. I just said to her, “What do you do with your shame? Where do you put it? What do you do with it?” And she said, “You know, Liz, you realize that the world doesn’t want your shame, right? That’s got nothing to offer the world. You’re here to offer yourself to the world and to make the world a better place. And your shame is of no use to anybody. It’s not of any use to you either, and if you want to be a creative and generative person, you kind of just have to let it go.”

There it is. Shame doesn’t serve you. It doesn’t make your dreams materialize. It doesn’t make you more creative. It’s not even motivating. When we’re ashamed we want to do nothing, but hide.

What shame does is shut us down like a scolding mother. It makes us feel unworthy, unlovable, and not good enough.

You know what transforms your life? Gratitude.

The next time your inner voice decides to kick you when you’re down. Tell it, “Thank you!” Thank you for sharing. Thank you for being there because I know you’re only there like a shell protecting me, like a blanket sheltering me from hurt, pain and disappointment from others. Thank you, but I don’t need you anymore. I’m whole. I’m going to be okay. I’m enough.

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Ingredients for a Successful Life

"Etsy vintage tablespoon by JessicaNDesigns}

“Etsy vintage tablespoon by JessicaNDesigns}

When I reflect upon the almost 7 years I have been a freelance writer, the biggest hurdle had less to do with my professional experience than my personal struggles. In fact, success often deals with the latter.

Of course you need experience, a little bit of talent and much hard work to be successful. But often what stands in the way of most individual’s success is what they believe to be true about themselves.

In 2006 and earlier, I had an overwhelming desire to write. I asked for a typewriter for Christmas. I wrote down my own stories on little pieces of paper. I composed poetry as a kid. It pushed me to get a BA in English, but after college I just didn’t think I had the skills, talent or ability to get hired.

I skirted around my career, went into research because it felt comfortable and then psychology instead. I’m grateful for that experience. It gave me the confidence and courage to deal with a lot of the inner shadows that were clouding my work.

It took time, patience, resilience and the foresight to follow my calling. Along the way I picked up a lot of negativity about my desired career. I realized these words were just external versions of what I was telling myself every day. You may be familiar with some of them:

“You’re never going to make it.”

“You’re not smart enough.”

“Who do you think you’re kidding?”

“If so and so can’t do it, why do you think you can?”

Those words prevented me from trusting my instincts. It beat me up from the inside out. Even when I was getting writing opportunities, I ended up sabotaging them. How could I not when I essentially believed I didn’t have what it takes to do it?

Fast-forward to 2013. Since then, I am continually surprised with the doors that have opened for me. Recently, I started writing for Intuit’s Small Business blog and signed a contract with a greeting card company. I’ve also been fortunate enough to work as a freelance copywriter for several online retailers and I have been writing for local and regional publications and been an online columnist for The Writer magazine, Psych Central and Beliefnet.

That wouldn’t have happened to me if I continued on the road to self-sabotage, negativity and perfectionism. It took constantly beefing up my critical mind with positivity. I had to work on being cognizant of what and who I was allowing in my life and how it was impacting me personally and professionally.

Essentially, what I learned can be valuable to those of you seeking your own success in life. I realized that when we change how we view ourselves on the inside, we change our external world.

It’s not an easy process especially if you’ve been brought up to believe the worse in yourself. It will take time. But know this…

The fact that you are here means you have an important purpose. Don’t let your past, critical people or your own negative voice prevent you from fulfilling what you are meant to do.

There is only one of you. Celebrate it! Share who you are with the world and you will see the gifts unwrap in front of you.

Don’t squander your talent, hide your true self or shy away from your voice. The world will benefit from you being uniquely you. Let me tell you-as you sit doubting yourself, we are all desperately waiting for you to reveal it.

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The Forecast? Cloudy with a Chance of More Clouds

via pinterest. from


It’s pretty easy to bring yourself down. You can go from high in the sky happiness to the very low of the lows if you put your mind to it.

But I bet you don’t even realize you’re doing it right?

Put an alarm on your phone/laptop. Set it to beep every hour. When that alarm goes off, write down what you were thinking in that moment? Were you thinking about what you were doing, what you will do next, complimenting yourself on a job well-done or beating yourself up about the mistake you made a few minutes ago?

I tried this once and was surprised how often negative thoughts popped up into my head. I’m not alone. I recently read how author Julia Cameron even had a name for it. She calls it Nigel.

If you’re a creative person, you’re probably used to it by now. What you might not realize is how often that voice of negativity is sabotaging and dictating your life.


The solution?

1. Conscious awareness.

2. Confront it with loving-kindness.

Your negative inner voice will look for ways to pick on your vulnerable spots. He/she will find the dirt in a rose garden. But if you continually feed it with positive statements: “How beautiful today is.” “How much better life is getting.” “How great I’m doing to pursue my dreams.” It will gradually shrink back in its dark hole until you let it out again.

Try it and see if your future forecast isn’t a bit more sunny.

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