Huffpost Healthy Living

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Walter E. Jacobson, M.D. Headshot

How to Turn the Volume Down on Your Inner Critic

Posted: Updated:

Many of us resist change because we are more comfortable with the known, as bad as it may be, compared to the unknown, which we fear could be far worse. Many of us resist change because we fear it may make others uncomfortable to the point where they distance themselves from us and possibly leave us, triggering our abandonment issues in the process.

Consequently, instead of making efforts to change and being willing to deal with the uncertainty of the unknown and the possible abandonment of others, we cling to the past, we cling to the unsatisfying relationships and circumstances of our lives, we don't take risks and we accept a life less lived.

What can we do about it? First, we have to deal with the prevailing fear that is dominating our resistance to change. We must make the conscious decision that it's better to risk potential disappointments, in an effort to reach for the stars, rather than accept a life of dormant dreams and quiet desperation.

We must make the conscious decision that if people can't accept us for choosing to change it may be painful, but we'll deal with it. We may feel abandoned by them, but we won't abandon ourselves. We have faith that others will enter our lives, attracted by what we are striving to achieve, who will appreciate and support our growth efforts.

Once we make a commitment to change, we must vigilantly monitor our thoughts and neutralize our inner critic, that negative, disparaging, shaming and degrading voice inside our head that keeps telling us that we're not good enough, we're not loveable, we're unworthy, we don't deserve success and happiness and that it is a pointless waste of time to try to become something more.

We must de-fang our inner critic and give it no power to fuel our fear and our doubt, to discourage us and derail us. We must de-throne our inner critic and replace it with our inner colleague -- that inspiring, encouraging, uplifting voice inside our head, that loving and nurturing voice of our higher self that truly knows what's best for us.

For far too long we have kept that voice soft if not silent, relegating it to the back seat of our consciousness. But now, having made the commitment to change, we pump up the volume and use it to repeatedly reinforce positive, optimistic messages that neutralize the negative, critical labels from our inner critic and, at the same time, fuel our passion, our persistence and our perseverance.

Bottom line: We don't have to sell ourselves short. We don't have to settle for less. There is great joy and abundance available to each of us when we release ourselves from the bondage of "I can't" and other limiting self-definitions.

Truth be told: We can break out of the habits of our past. We can become whatever sort of person we wish to be. We can create the life we desire. To do this, we must dare to put aside the judgments and limitations of our past. We must dare to have faith in our capacity to deal with change. We must dare to savor the challenges of emotional freedom. We must dare to discover our authentic self.

Above all else, we must dare to stay positive and optimistic, grateful and happy, regardless of any chaos and turbulence in our lives, regardless of any obstacles and pitfalls in our path. By doing so, we accelerate our progress and insure our eventual success.

From Our Partners