Do we know how to care for ourselves well?

Our inner critic: why we can’t care for ourselves well?

In my practice as a mental health practitioner, I noticed that most of my clients are unaware of the significance of self-care and unaware of the dangers of their inner critic. I often ask them this question – if you have only one car, how long will you be able to use it without paying any attention to its maintenance or oil change or by keep ignoring any weird signs, sounds, etc.….We all know the reply here.

Then why are we so hard on ourselves, not willing to pay any attention to our needs (physical, emotional, sexual and intellectual)? We often deny our emotional needs. We do not reach out for help until our symptoms feel unmanageable. We work hard to avoid issues or stay distracted from big emotions. We keep dragging through life, in the same manner, no matter how we feel about ourselves. Why? Do we know how to care for ourselves well?

Well, there could be various reasons behind lack of self-care regime which differs with every individual. Some of these could be:

  • That’s how I was raised.
  • That’s what I believe about myself such as I am strong enough, or I have been through many things before.
  • That’s my personality putting others first.
  • Negative beliefs such as “it’s selfish to pay too much attention to myself,” or, “I don’t need it, I will be fine,” etc.
  • Self-created excuses such as “I don’t have time, I don’t care, or it will not make a difference anyway>”

The inner critic

All of the reasons mentioned above which decline self-care are found in each one of us; but there is one more hidden factor which is closely related to lack of self-compassion, self-care, and low self-esteem:  “our inner critic.” This inner critic is nothing but our own “self.” The negative voice inside our minds that works hard to discourage us from doing anything for ourselves until we break down. Many of us might have heard this inner critic, especially before doing anything new in our life, such as – “You will not be able to do this, or Nothing is gonna work for you. The inner critic might mumble:  “Everyone hates you anyway,” or  “what’s the point of doing it. You tried it many times and failed every time, why are you doing it again.”

It might be helpful to know that you may not have initially create these negative statements about you. Others may have helped create them at some point in your life; through traumatic events or challenging relationships, you may have internalized these negative views of who you are and the inner critic was born.

if the voice of the inner critic did not originate with us, why do we believe so strongly in the voice of the critic? Because you believed in them, you believed in those people, you believed in their judgments-more than yourself.  It occurred due to low self-confidence, or maybe you were too young to argue or challenge their statements. It further lowered your confidence and efforts of self-care. Slowly these statements resided inside you as a belief and created that inner critic who keeps destroying your self-confidence, self-image, and self-esteem. This inner critic keep prohibiting you from doing anything good for yourself? 

Silence the inner critic

So now, how to get rid of this inner critic or lifelong negative beliefs about self? How to learn self-care and develop self-compassion? How to build self-confidence and self-esteem?

Begin to give yourself permission to challenge the inner critical voice. Ask yourself: what if the voice is wrong? What if I am capable? What would it look like if….” There are many therapeutic interventions which can help you challenge your deep negative beliefs and start loving yourself, learn to indulge in self-care and silence the inner critic. It will be an internal journey where I will walk with you to help you explore, connect and love yourself!

Rhea Jacobs, MA, RCC

rhea@canvascounselling.com
Phone/Text 604-377-6033

Tracey Dahl
Tracey Dahl
Registered clinical counsellor (RCC) at Canvas Counselling (www.canvascounselling.com).