Stopping your inner critic will help you to increase your self-acceptance and self-love. And in this post, I would like to share one of the best journaling ideas that can stop the inner critic. I’ve been journaling in this way for more than three months and achieved really good results. By using the tips I will explain in this post, you will be able to achieve them as well.
If you are reading this post, you probably already know about the importance of self-love. If you don’t and want to know more, you can first read my other post, where I share Tips for practising self-love. Because in this post, I will focus more on the inner critic and how you can change it to your inner best friend.
The inner critic can cause many problems. It stops us from taking action. Sometimes the influence of the inner critic is very obvious. For example, when you notice how you criticize yourself. You tell yourself things like: “You are not good enough, you are stupid, you will never archive it, you can’t do this”, or other similar inner dialogues.
However, sometimes this critic can be a bit more subtle. It’s hiding from you. Instead of oblivious criticizing, it uses very high expectations. And usually, it’s almost impossible to fit these expectations. Sometimes they can be unrealistic. The inner dialogue can sound in these ways: “Yes, you’ve done it, but you could have done more and better, you can also do this or that, you should improve more things.” And your inner critic is always ready with a huge to-do list and a list of all the improvements for you. It always focuses on what else should be done instead of noticing your achievements or improvements.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with wanting to improve. The problems start when all these expectations make you feel bad about yourself. You can be stuck in a situation when no matter how much you do, you are still not happy. You don’t feel successful, you don’t value your achievements, and you are not satisfied. It means that the inner critic is strong, and it doesn’t let you enjoy your life.
The worst situation is when your inner critic is so strong that you just stop doing things because nothing is ever enough. In this state, you may think: Why should I even try something? It’s pointless: it will never work; I am not good enough, or strong enough, or smart enough, or confident enough. It could be anything. Usually, everyone knows what is the main “not enough” for them. It is something that makes you feel bad about yourself.
It doesn’t really matter if your inner critic is strong and obvious, or if it subtly talks with you. The way you will journal to get rid of it will be the same.
At this point, you should already feel motivated enough to finally do something to address this problem and to change your inner dialogue from criticizing and expectations to self-acceptance and self-love.
2. About this journaling
I came up with this journaling idea for myself because I had problems, that are usually caused by the inner critic. Things like perfectionism, impostor syndrome, and procrastination usually start from the inner critic. And even if they were caused by something else, they will still include this inner dialogue with critics, blaming, and expectations.
As I struggled with these problems most of my life, I know that the journaling tips that I am about to share can be a huge help.
3. Check these main tips before starting
You should journal for at least 90 days. That’s usually the time that our brain needs to create a new thinking pattern or habit. If you have the habit of criticizing yourself, it is quite probable that it has started already in your childhood. Usually, we learn these habits from our parents and how they were talking to us. Sometimes from teachers or some other significant adults. Later during all the years, you could have made it stronger. Now, if you want to change it, be prepared, because it will not happen in one day. At the same time, this will not take years.
The good thing is that this journaling technique will not take much of your time, and it is quite simple. I would say 10-15 min per day. If you are new to journaling and have never done it before, it may take a bit longer during the first days. Then it will become quicker, so don’t reach any conclusion too quickly.
It is simple, and anyone can do it. You just need to dedicate some time to it and have enough motivation. Remind yourself about your reasons: why do you want to do it? If your reasons are strong enough, you will follow through and get amazing results.
4. Let’s start! How to journal?
a) Write what you are feeling about what happened during the day
Every day, better in the evening, take your notebook and a pen and start writing what comes to your mind about your day:
– What have you done?
– What haven’t you done?
– What did you feel?
– What did you like?
– What didn’t you like?
– Are you worried about something?
– What are you thinking about right now?
You don’t need to answer all these questions or to write everything that happened during the day. Just choose the most important things. Something, that caused more emotions or something that you still think about. Try to write about half of a page. You don’t need to write too much. It’s only the first part. Be natural here. Write your thoughts in the usual way.
b) Reply with acceptance and understanding. Praise and compliment yourself
The second part will be to write down your reply to what you wrote in the first part. What you wrote before was, in a way, you usually talk with yourself. But the second part, your reply to the first step, will be in a new different way.
You need to choose something specific from your first part. Maybe you were not happy because you haven’t done something, or that you didn’t do enough. Maybe, you didn’t like the way you were feeling during the day. Try to find what looked like criticizing, blaming, or expectations in what you’ve written in the first part. For example, someone may have written: “I am not happy that I’ve missed my work out. It’s happening again. I start doing something, but then skip few times and then just stop. I hate this habit. I’ll never achieve anything like this.” Or a different example: “I was in such a bad mood today, couldn’t do anything. What is wrong with me? Why can’t I just control my mood?” or “I shouldn’t have said that today. Now they will think that I am stupid. Why can’t I think better before saying something?”
What you’ve written can be very different, but I think that you can get the idea. Here I am just giving those few examples, so it is easier for you to understand, how to then write the replies.
The main idea of the second part is to give yourself acceptance. You should write the reply in a way, that you are accepting everything that you’ve done or haven’t done. You need to accept all your feeling and all your emotions. Give yourself the feeling that everything you’ve done is completely normal, and there is no reason for blaming or criticizing.
The example of the reply: “It is understandable why you haven’t done this. You were tired and stressed before. You were worried about what happened before. Everyone can feel this way. You are just a human. It’s ok not to be perfect. It’s normal to make mistakes and to have negative emotions.” But you should write something specific to your situation. Just try to give yourself enough acceptance. Remove the pressure, the fight, and the conflict. Explain yourself that everything is ok with you and then write something like: “I am still with you. I love you. I accept you. Everything is ok.”
Then you should complement and praise yourself. Find something that you can be proud of or happy that you’ve done, something that you like about yourself. You can also write some compliments to yourself that is not only about doing or achieving. They can be about something that you like about yourself. Maybe it’s your sense of humour, or maybe, you are good at cooking. Maybe, you like that you are a good friend. Maybe you liked how you solved some problems. Write all the good things that you can find. Be kind and loving with yourself.
Once you’ve finished with this part, you can start writing the third one.
c) Choose the phrase to create the right feeling about yourself
This part of your journaling will be the same for each day. You will choose one or two sentences that will help you feel better about yourself and in the way you want.
How do you choose it?
If you constantly feel that you are not good enough, not worthy, and you want to feel more confident, then your sentence will be something like this: “You are good enough. You are worthy. You can do it. I believe in you.”
If you need some other feelings instead, you can write something like: “You are a great person. You are lovable. You deserve happiness.”
Those were just a few examples, but you should choose something that will help you to create the feelings that you are lacking now. This phrase will be the end of your journaling each day.
If you feel that it’s silly to write yourself things like that and that it will never work, it means that your inner critic is talking to you now. Be aware of this. Even if this journaling can look a bit silly or weird to do, it still works. Accepting, loving, praising, and complimenting yourself is working. It worked for me and other people. More importantly, it will definitely work for you if you give it a try.
5. The results you will get from this journaling
When you will finish these 90 days of journaling, you will notice a very interesting change. You will have a new automatic response. Each time, when you are about to criticize yourself or crate new high expatiations, you’ll notice how your inner dialogue has changed. You will see the automatic reply like: “You are good enough. Everything is ok. You are great. You can do it.” Or something else, depending on what exactly you were writing in your journal.
I know this because that’s what happened to me. There were several situations when I caught this inner dialogue. Just after I was about to blame myself for something, my inner dialogue was changing straight away to a positive and supportive reply. Of course, I was feeling much better! I was feeling my own support and love. You will feel it too and you will be in a different state. A state where you know that you are already good enough. You will know, that you can do anything you want, and if today you haven’t done something, it doesn’t mean that tomorrow it won’t change. You will give yourself much more options and opportunities. From a new state, you’ll change your life and achieve much better results. You’ll feel better and become happier.
This journaling is a great way to stop your inner critic and to increase your self-love. I can’t recommend it enough.
If you never journaled before and want to get more information and tips, read my post about journaling.
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