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One of the pleasures of being a life coach is having really deep, honest conversations with people who share sometimes their biggest secrets, something they may be even embarrassed to say out loud. I always admire their beautiful courage and the willingness to have a vulnerability hangover that Brené Brown talks about.

Recently, I’ve been struck by how many women I meet, both in coaching and outside, seem to be hard on themselves, listening attentively to the inner critic, this mean voice that tells us we’re not good enough, that we failed again and we’ll never accomplish what we want.

We all hear this inner voice once in a while. The problem arises when we start listening to it a lot and we fall into the spiral of negativity and stop believing in our abilities and ourselves.

So how to make this inner critical voice less powerful and less frequent?

  1. Start with being aware of the mean voice in your head. What happens in your body when you hear it? Does your belly? Do you suddenly feel smaller and less significant?

  2. Give the inner critic character to separate from your true self. Is it a woman or a man? What would they look like if you were to draw them? Can you give them a name? Perhaps something funny to help you take is less seriously: Miss Hermengilda Longleggs (see the photo), Mr Xavier The Bushy Brows or simply the Little Meanie.

  3. Write down some of your self-critical thoughts. When we write them down, sometimes we see how ridiculous and unkind they are. Imagine sending them to somebody. If you wouldn’t send them to your best friend, you should never say them to yourself.

  4. Thank the inner voice for being there for you and tell them you don’t need them today. Instead, choose a more loving thought. Perhaps instead of telling yourself “That question I asked in a work meeting today was so stupid” you can say: “At least I asked a question. Next time, I’ll prepare more for the meeting to ask more relevant questions”.

  5. The most important thing is to practice self love every single day. How about starting a day with a look in the mirror with a smile and a soft, loving “Hello Gorgeous”!

Do you see any strategies here that really speak to you? It’s most efficient to use them all to make the inner critic less serious and convincing, but even a couple help with self-acceptance and love.

So how will YOU start your day tomorrow?

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