The Other Epidemic

by Clinical Staff

Facing a Personal Mental Health Epidemic

We are facing a great epidemic, but many of us don’t know because it shows up as the faintest whisper in our ear. It’s been beating us up for years, but the bruises and scars we’ve come to ignore because our ego has got a greater grip on us. It does not lash out but instead lashes inward, and so we tend to ignore the paralyzing effects it’s having on us all. What is this great epidemic…it’s the inner critic, the incessant negative self-talk we are, typically unconsciously, shaming our selves with. It’s the critic with a voice that so seductively tells us “you are not strong enough, good enough, skinny enough, you will fail, everyone is judging me, something bad is going to happen, you will be an addict forever, you have no control.” It influences our emotions so preemptively that it sets us up to react to nothingness. We prepare for the worst, forgetting that the worst may not exist and only the best is ahead. It minimizes our experiences as failures and forgets that every and all experience is our greatest teacher.

The Epidemic of Negative Self-Talk

The epidemic of negative self-talk, the inner critic, the prisoner of never enough, is showing up everywhere and I don’t know about you, but I’m scared. The epidemic often disguises himself as a motivator, whispering, “you’re not good enough, so do better, be better, act better, work harder.” Without our inner critic, we could react by increasing laziness, giving into fear, and possibly even failing.

I’ve seen the opposite. The inner critic is no motivator; he’s an instigator and a bully.

What Do We Do With Our Inner Critic?

What do we do with him? Have compassion, understand where he came from, his history, be mindful of his intention. What messages is he sending to us? Do we act on them, for them or against them? The inner critic requires questioning and investigation. The best thing you can ask him, is “what is your intention?”

The Opposing Energy of the Ego: Intuition

Don’t confuse him with his opposing energy, the gut, intuition, the ever-present angel that had your back. Her intention is to provide you with the truth and the information that will lead you to your next meaningful decision, moment and/or experience.

So again, you’ll listen to the inner critic, we all do, but I ask that you question him. How is he serving you, or more importantly, how is he not? But maybe don’t stop at questioning, he may need you to yell at him, and tell him he is wrong, maybe even tell him to shut up. Typically I don’t find these to be effective forms of communication, but sometimes that’s the only way he will listen. If that doesn’t work, you may need to prove him wrong with action, do the opposite of what he is telling you. He is typically full of fear, so be fearless, that may just wipe him completely away, in fact, I know it will…at least for the moment. He may show up again from time to time, but now you have a few ideas what you can say and do with him. It’s easier said than done, I understand. He’s pretty powerful and intimidating, but trust me, it’s all an act.

Sorry to diffuse all your secrets Mr. Critic, about all that negative self-talk stuff, but your hurting too many people, and I’m tired of it. I think we all are.