Updated: Oct 12
This TEDTalk by Dan Harris is a great real-life example of how learning to quiet your inner critic can have significant benefits on you and your relationships.
A few points I want to expand upon from this TEDTalk is that your relationship with your inner self critic can impact the relationships that you have not only with yourself but also with others, your demons are trying to protect you and by acknowledging them we can calm them, when you improve your relationship with your demons you inherently improve the relationships you hold with other people and self-love is a set of skills that can be trained and improved with practice.
Before we dive in you might be wondering what is an inner self critic?
The inner self is made up of our feelings, intuition, values, beliefs, personality, thoughts, spirituality, desire and purpose. Having a strong inner self means that you have the coping strategies to manage your emotions, have clarity of your values and feel a purpose in life. You are also able to remain calm and resilient when faced with adversity from your outer world, i.e.; work life, social life and other material-based concerns. When your inner self and outer actions line up there tends to be less stress in your life. However, issues tend to arise when your inner self and outer actions do not line up, leaving you questioning yourself. This unbalance can cause your inner self to become more critical as it questions the outer actions you are engaging in.
Your relationship with your inner self critic can impact the relationships that you have with yourself and with others.
Just as Dan mentioned in the TEDTalk, the way you treat yourself can reflect in how you treat others. If you are consistently beating yourself up your mood tends to be negative. This negative mood can impact those around you, even if that is not your intention. This can create a downward spiral of negativity that can be hard to get out of and as it continues can impact those around you. However, if you are able to connect your inner self with your outer actions you tend to have a healthier relationship with yourself. When you have a better relationship with yourself that tends to rub off on those around you. Thus, creating an upward spiral of good vibes.
Your demons are trying to protect you and by acknowledging them we can calm them.
Your demons are there to protect you and are typically formed as a result of past hurt. When we take the time to acknowledge our demons and the ways in which they are trying to protect us, they tend to be less problematic. Being able to acknowledge an inner demon’s job allows that part of you to be validated, but it doesn’t mean you have to act on it. Having a working relationship with your demons is a large step in building a stronger connection between your inner self and outer actions. Once you have a strong connection between inner self and outer actions you may begin to notice a positive impact on your relationships with those around you.
Self-love is a set of skills that can be trained and improved with practice.
Self-love is thought of in many different ways. True self-love is a set of skills that can be taught, learned and strengthen with regular use. A few popular ways to practice self-love is daily gratitude journaling, practicing emotional check-ins, incorporating more movement into your day, clearing out negativity from your social media, letting go of toxic relationships, and meditating. When you begin a self-love journey you might find it difficult, and that’s okay! Just like learning any new skill it can be difficult at first but easier with practice. The more you practice self-love the more benefits you will notice such as feeling less stressed when faced with difficult life events, not comparing yourself to others, open to trying new things and embracing hardships with a different perspective.
Self-love is a skill that you can practice on your own or seek out professionals to help guide you in your journey. Even if you only want a few sessions focused on self-love skills most professionals would be happy to assist you. There are many mental health sources out there these days, please take advantage of all the ones that you can!