How loud is your inner critic? Our inner monologue spends the day interpreting our experience and ruminating on past and future events. People who suffer from depression or anxiety have overactive critics that not only dissect their surroundings, but turn this deprecating lens unto themselves.
“Mindfulness helps us see the addictive aspect of self-criticism— a repetitive cycle of flaying ourselves again and again, feeling the pain anew.”
― Sharon Salzberg
Silencing the inner critic can only be done when there is awareness. Without awareness, we get lost in thought and fall into our mind like a movie-goer falling into the screenplay. Next time thoughts start pestering you ask yourself these three questions:
1. Is it True?
If you had a friend that consistently gave you bad advice, would you continue using this friend as your primary confidant? Probably not. Our mind chatter spews assumptions by the minute, and we continue to consult with it for every decision. Next time your mind tells you something, gently check in. Is it true? Are you 100% certain that what your mind is telling you is factual. If it isn’t, label it as an assumption and move on.
2. Is it Necessary?
Planning and reminiscing can be helpful at times. In many cases, it can be repetitive and disturbing. Every thought you have is accompanied by an emotion, no matter how slight or how visceral. If a thought is churning up your inner peace, ask yourself: is it necessary? If the thoughts aren’t contributing anything productive in that moment, label it as unnecessary and move on.
3. Does it Add Value to the Silence?
We’re so focussed on the noise that we forget about the silence in between. We’re so consumed with the stuff, that we overlook the space. Silence is peaceful, expansive, and beautiful. If you’re thinking something and it isn’t adding value to the already immaculate silence of awareness, watch the thought pass like a cloud in an otherwise blue sky and move on.
Watch the Video About Overcoming Negative Self-Talk Below
Watch your thoughts with acute awareness today and check in with these three questions. There is probably a pattern in your thinking habits. Which thoughts do you believe? Which thoughts disturb you the most? Make note of these observations.