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How to Stop Being So Hard On Yourself

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How to Stop Being So Hard On Yourself

By Marlo Sollitto,

Everyone has one: An inner critic. Your thoughts. That little voice in your head that is very opinionated, telling you how to act, what to do and what not to do, judging your appearance, scolding your short-comings. That inner voice holds incredible power over us. Unfortunately, that voice is often extremely self-critical and demeaning. What thoughts run through your head? “I look terrible. I am so fat.” “I never do anything right.”  “I’ll never find happiness. I will always be stuck in this situation.” Think about it: How many times have you criticized yourself or thought negatively about your life in the last 24 hours?

Women are prone to such self-criticism. This inner voice is the source of stress, negative self-esteem, unhappiness and worry in our lives. There’s an entire psychological discipline dedicated to helping people overcome negative thoughts. It’s called Cognitive Therapy and it aims to help people recognize patterns of negative thoughts and replace them with positive thoughts.

Where do these negative thoughts come from? Mostly, they’re the collective, cruel voices of our past — parents, siblings, spouses, high school bullies – that we’ve internalized.

You might not even realize what you’re thinking or saying since your thoughts and perceptions come so naturally. To change it, you must become aware of what that voice is saying. It helps to write down your negative thoughts and your re-vamped, positive responses. If you take time to tally the comments you make to yourself, you’ll discover that the vast majority are negative. Keep a “thought log.” Three times a day, take a few minutes to write down what you’ve been thinking – all of it… your thoughts about what your spouse did or didn’t do that morning… what your mother said to you… how you felt about your child’s behavior. Don’t edit — write down the exact words. Keep your thought log for two weeks. This will also help you learn the true nature of your “thought chatter” and better understand your personality by uncovering the patterns.

Once you’ve identified your thought patterns, its time to start talking back to them. As you notice yourself saying something negative in your mind, you can stop your thought mid-stream by saying to yourself “Stop” then replace that thought with something more positive.

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How to Stop Being So Hard On Yourself originally appeared on

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7:56AM PDT on Sep 13, 2012

I've spent my life talking back to my inner I watch my grown children fall into ruts sometimes from listening to that voice and I snap them back to reality. We are our own worst critics and thus our own worst enemies. Learn to love that person in the mirror!!

5:57PM PDT on Jun 18, 2012

Strangely the voice in my head is all the things my mother said to herself. Even though she tried to say different things to me, I didn't really get those.

10:18PM PDT on Jun 7, 2012

Thanx, for the reminder I have to think things on purpose, as Joyce Myer says. Sorry, I think I spelt her last name wrong. Also, through therapy I learned they are old tapes from growing up so I do not have to accept them any longer. Actually, when I don't I find I have more joy, happiness and am less likely to become stuck in what ever is happening in my life. Since I can tell myself, This to shall pass, feelings are not facts, and nothing changes If nothing changes.

1:04PM PDT on Jun 6, 2012


1:09AM PDT on Jun 5, 2012

Thanks for sharing.

9:20PM PDT on Jun 1, 2012

Sound recommendations & suggestions - and not just for caregivers!

8:50PM PDT on May 31, 2012

I think that little voice in our head, may be something someone said to you in the past that is stuck in our subconscience just to be mean, controlling, or we hopefully grow and know they were wrong.

4:14PM PDT on May 31, 2012

good article, sound advice

2:02PM PDT on May 31, 2012


5:10AM PDT on May 31, 2012

I think sometimes we are too hard on the voices of our past...those voices have made us what we are today..what we need to focus on is our reaction to those voices..and realize we are grownups now and it's time to be kind to ourselves.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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