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Battling the Inner Critic

We've all had those weeks.

The weeks when you just feel really down about yourself. Last year, when working towards my PT qualification and studying in the weeks leading up to my final exams I thought I'd feel a real sense of joy and relief at having the job done.

However, the opposite happened. I didn't feel relieved. I actually felt pretty negative about the whole thing - about myself. Which was surprising!

I think I know why. Building a business involves you putting yourself out there. In teaching, it doesn't matter if the kids like you, you're not there to be liked! But with PT, it's your personality and looks and opinions that are in the spotlight, and hence you're vulnerable to rejection. And that stimulated a whole lot of negative feelings such as ‘I’ll never get any clients, I'm not good enough. I'm not likeable enough. I don't have enough to offer.’ Rejecting myself beforehand is easier than waiting for other people to do it! We often do this, because by doing it ourselves, we think we're protecting ourselves from other people doing it.

I am using this as an example of when you turn into your own worst enemy. We all do it and have those moments of self doubt/hate/negativity. So how do we overcome the inner negativity? That voice can be pretty relentless sometimes; how do we not listen to the self critic inside?

It's not always as simple as just not listening - although sometimes it can be. If you know you get caught into more negative thoughts in the evening or late at night, distract yourself! Read a book, watch TV or do something you enjoy doing. Know your flashpoints and avoid them.

Second, surround yourself with your top team. Your biggest believers; the ones that spread the positivity. You end up the product of the 5 people you spend most time with. So choose them carefully and make sure they're not supporting the inner critic but rather blowing it out of the water with lots of support, hugs, advice, and putting things in perspective.

Thirdly, try mantras. Some people find them a bit silly, but have an open mind - they can work for you. Pick a positive affirmation for the week and schedule in a date with yourself to tell yourself those things multiple times a day. Some suggestions are:

I am in charge of how I feel today and I choose happiness

I will not compare myself with strangers on the internet.

I can. I will. End of story.

Mine was: I have lots to offer, and I will believe in myself. Pick your own related to your goals.

And finally, as a general rule of thumb, if it's too nasty and negative if you were to say the same to thing to a friend or family member - you're not allowed to tell yourself it either!

I hope this helps everyone. What are your tried and tested ways to lift yourself out of that negativity and focus on something more positive?


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