We are our biggest critics. It is why it is so easy to beat ourselves down. As one who prides themselves in setting goals and stopping at nothing to achieve them, and who of course has mastered the art of breaking goals into sizable chunks achievable in smaller time frames, there are times I still come up short. Beaten. Angry. And Frustrated at not making smaller sized goals.

A critique exists in every one of us: it is one of the hardest lessons we might keep learning all our lives. How to be our own critics in a healthy way.

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In life, when we embark on big goals or ideas, we want them to work out like clockwork: and then we get disappointed when they don’t. We get hard on ourselves and easily discouraged. How do we calm this inner voice? One of the ways is by letting go of goals, and goals related to things which we cannot control.

But why do we get frustrated when our goals don’t work out? It’s because it’s our tiny, little inner voice saying ‘I told you so’. But as the days go by, this voice inside us gets louder and more obnoxious. We make excuses: I’ve been busy, I had exams and all that jazz.

The voice keeps getting louder, and we keep making excuses: after a while, the inner voice becomes so loud it starts influencing our behaviour unconsciously. We stop taking risks or trying new things because we don’t want to get judged again. We also start seeking validation from everyone else than ourselves: sometimes we start looking for validation in the form of materialistic things.

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Here are some tips:

1. Don’t believe everything you think

Negative thinking is a real problem for some people, and can lead to depression and other mental health issues. If your inner voice is constantly putting you down or pointing out what you’re doing wrong, then it’s time to realize that your mind doesn’t need to work against you. The next time you find yourself thinking something negative, stop for a second and ask yourself if it’s really true.

2. Learn to quiet your mind

 If thoughts are constantly running through your head, then meditation might be the answer for you. There are different types of meditative practices that can help close your eyes and focus on breathing until all thoughts have vanished from your mind. Granted, this might take a while at first, but once you get better it starts to happen much faster.

3. Talk back to your thoughts

If negative self-talk is a problem for you, then start practicing how to recognize these kinds of thoughts and replace them with more positive ones. One way to do this is to take each negative thought that pops into your head and write it down on a piece of paper. Then, turn the thought around and write a positive version of it. This will help train your mind to think differently over time.

4. Change the channel in your mind

To keep from getting overwhelmed by negative thoughts, try distracting yourself with hobbies and activities that take your focus away from yourself. Whether it’s playing video games or starting a new Netflix series, doing something different for a few hours can help you forget about those thoughts and start feeling better.

5. Make sure to take care of yourself

 It is easy to feel guilty when taking time out to take care of yourself, but that is what you need to do if you want to function at your best. Make sure to take time for meals, socializing and sleeping so that you aren’t adding stress onto negative thoughts.