We all have an inner critic. That voice inside our head that pipes up and reminds us of the failures of our past. The downfalls of the present, and keeps us in fear that we will just keep doing them in the future. She looooves to tell us our ass looks big in our jeans, that we should be better, look better, work harder and that other woman are judging us at every turn.
We all have it to some degree. Some people’s inner critic may be a quiet un-assuming gal who only chimes in from time to time. She works part-time and has the habit of taking extended vacations. Others, such as myself, have an inner critic that is loud and in your face, with drill-sergeant authority and “diva-esque” tendencies. She is also really bad at taking the hint . . .I have told her I don’t want her around many, many times!
I always knew my inner critic might be more prominent than others, but it wasn’t until I made my mental health and daily happiness a big priority did I even realize just how often she shows up, rears her ugly head and leaves me feeling judged and inadequate – that I am not doing enough to achieve my hopes and dreams. Or, how hard it would be to get her to shut the f!@# up! Because here’s the thing; I really like being happy and I am completely willing to put in the work to make daily happiness a reality. And since I have made some major shifts in my life towards achieving that goal I’m learning how to catch her in the act and turn her into a loving, compassionate, darling girl who fills me with a sense of joy and peace. (talk about a makeover!)
We’ve all heard it before: “You have to put yourself first, love yourself first . . . “ ya, yay, a, I KNOW, but for some of us, it just isn’t that easy!!! You can’t just flip the switch and, BOOM! Out comes an enlightened spiritual butterfly, floating on a sea of self-love and acceptance with a positive body image and a compassionate soul.
BUT you CAN CHOOSE to work on it!!! And you know what? The benefits of just working on it are so utterly tremendous you’ll wonder why it isn’t shoved in your face more often. If you want to quiet your inner critic and experience more moments of calm, confidence, joy, motivation, and self-love, than it is time to turn up the volume on the inner voice inside you that reminds you how beautiful, whole, and divine you really are. Perfection is bull @#!& and does not exist. You can love yourself exactly as you are RIGHT NOW! So if you are ready to take the leap, and get on the happy train, I encourage you to make your mental health and happiness your top priority. Taking a few minutes out of your day each morning and each evening is going to make you happier, more confident, and more gorgeous. With a better work ethic, disciplined focus, and more love for your loved ones. There are many things that will lend themselves to this goal, but I strongly believe that if you focus on my top 2 picks, all the rest will come into place.
5 minutes each morning, 5 minutes each evening – that is all it takes. I adapted my “journaling routine” from the 5 Minute Journal. Start each day by writing down an inspirational quote. I have Elena Brower’s Art of Attention: Yoga Healing Cards that I love for this. I take a new card each day and write down the quote at the top of my journal. Next I will write 3 things I am grateful for, 3 things that would make the day great and follow that up with 1-3 positive affirmations. This sets my day on an amazing trajectory. I begin with my heart filled with gratitude, a clear vision of what I know I need to do in order to make the day feel like a success, and the positive affirmations to help me stay grounded in self love and confidence. Gratitude and love for my family, my yoga practice, my warm bed or the coffee in my hand . . . there are no rules to what I write down.
I come back to my journal as I am getting ready for bed. I take a moment to reflect on what I wrote in the morning and then write 3 amazing things that happened that day followed by 2-3 things that could have made the day better.
#2 Positive Affirmations
“I have unlimited power to create the life I want and be joyful.” That is almost always one of my affirmations for the day, and one I picked up from Kimberly Snyder’s book Beauty Detox Power. I find journaling and meditating tends to bring up a lot of recurring thought patterns. It is how I realized just how powerful my inner critic is. It was by identifying what the recurring negative thoughts were that I was able to start to write down positive affirmations that worked to drastically change my thoughts to ones that empower me. Affirmations about what I deserve in life, my ability to make great food choices, to have energy to exercise and prioritize it in my life, to be successful in work, to make great food choices, to be a patient mother . . . the list goes on.
And for all you yogis out there, take your positive affirmations to your mat! Choose one each time you practice and use it as your intention for class. Connecting to the divine, staying focused in class, and going deeper with your practice will all follow as a result!
Other things that keep my inner critic quiet and in the corner are:
- Eat a Clean & Wholesome Plant-Based Diet
- Spend quality time with my husband and children – free of electronic devices, being present in the moment.
- Spend time with good friends (without my children)
- Visualization Exercises
- Be in Nature
- Practice Yoga
- Create a Morning Routine – one that incorporates your journal, positive affirmations, moving your body, meditating, and eating clean.
We are all beautiful. We all deserve unlimited happiness. We all have the ability to go about our day with a sense of peace and ease. We already have everything we need to create the life we want. We just have to remind ourselves how fabulous we are every day, and in doing so get our inner critic to shut the f*#! up!!!
Andrea Dershin is founder and CEO of Good Life Juice – Vancouver Island’s premier cold pressed juice company. In 2009 Andrea received her 200hr Yoga RYT in Brooklyn NY and has been teaching Vinyasa yoga ever since – she can currently be found at Moksha Yoga in Nanaimo BC. Her classes focus on using positive affirmations along with a vigorous Vinyasa flow to help her students find a little extra peace each week. In 2012, Andrea received her certificate in plant-based nutrition through Cornell University and the T. Colin Campbell Foundation and began working as a wellness coach. She is an avid yogi, devoted mama, spirit junkie and loves blasting good tunes and dancing with whoever is in the mood to join her. 🙂