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Many of us would describe ourselves as happy, confident, and successful people.  I know I would!  I am definitely a “glass half full” kind of woman.  I have a great career, I am married to an amazing man, and I have three fantastic kids.

But a lot of the time, I forget to remember all of that.  You see, there is the deeper part of myself that I have to manage every single day.   And it’s this part of myself that attempts to run my life!   I have a voice in my mind that is constantly telling me where I’m not enough and how I don’t measure up.   Right now, if I stop and pay attention, that voice will tell me what part of my life I need to fix, improve, or change, or scare me by speaking various “what if I fail” scenarios.

Every single one of us has this voice.  But, most of us don’t even know that there’s a voice in our mind constantly speaking to us and that we’re listening to it, believing that what it says is real, true and factual.  This mental transparent and invisible chatter is what I call the Inner Critic. 

Just like your body automatically breathes for you and makes your heart beat for you, the voice in your mind is automatic as well.   And, what you may not realize is that most of the stress, overwhelm, and dissatisfaction we feel about ourselves, our relationships, our careers, and our lives, is really because we are listening to the voice of our Inner Critic, and thinking that it’s us, now, speaking the truth!

Yet our Inner Critic’s voice was formed a long time ago, as inexperienced young children.  We all formed core decisions about ourselves and how life works.  Once they took hold, you started to see the world and yourself in that certain way.

When your Inner Critic speaks, it automatically and incessantly converts what you notice, what you think, and how you feel, to be consistent with those negative childhood beliefs.  Your Inner Critic is like computer software that you installed a long time ago, but didn’t know that you installed it.  So, basically, you could say that my life’s work is to help people become computer re-programmers, by teaching them to notice what they installed and to realize that this “I’m not good enough” software has been running since early childhood and urgently needs upgrading.

While this old computer programming is here to stay, the 2.0 version is about paying attention to and upgrading programming that has been running automatically for most of our lives.

As a computer re-programmer, it is your job to notice when your Inner Critic’s software has taken over.  How do you notice?  Pay attention to your negative feelings.  Your Inner Critic is always searching for evidence consistent with the old programming.   Notice when you’re feeling upset and identify the statements it says when, for example, your boss didn’t like your presentation, or you have a thought that people may think that you don’t have what it takes or could judge you as a failure.

Instead of trying to fix, change or perfect something about ourselves or our lives, we simply have to pay attention to the automatic programming that surrounds the situation, and practice separating ourselves from it. 

We all fear that we are in some way inadequate or not good enough.  We fear that we will be judged or disrespected.  We think that some part of our life “should be” different.  Your Inner Critic thrives on negativity, judgments and complaints.  The primary cause of our unhappiness is never the situation we’re in.  It’s the Inner Critic’s thoughts about the situation.  Anxiety, stress, dissatisfaction and overwhelm are the result of listening to those thoughts, and believing them as true, like they are facts.

The more you notice your negative feelings, the more you can practice re-programming, by separating yourself from your Inner Critic’s “not enough” messaging.

People think that their happiness depends on the circumstances of their lives.  But in fact, it is learning to separate yourself from the automatic messaging that is the key to finding peace, contentment and joy in our lives.

Even though our Inner Critic software will automatically kick in, when you pay attention every day to separating from this outdated software, the way you experience yourself and your life will absolutely transform.

Want to upgrade your life?   Practice being an extraordinary re-programmer!

About the author:

Have you noticed that people today seem more dissatisfied and discontent than ever?  Most people are unaware of the degree to which they are ruled by the voice in their mind, which I call The Inner Critic.  This ruler of the mind creates dissatisfaction with life, and affects one’s relationships with others and with oneself. My life’s mission is to inspire people to redefine their relationships with themselves, the people who matter to them, and their experience of life.  I am a psychotherapist in private practice for over 20 years, a national workshop leader, and founder of The Center For Extraordinary Relationships in Southern NJ.  I created the workshop series “Dethroning Your Inner Critic: Lose Your Mind To Find Yourself”, which teaches a 4 step M.I.N.D Method to overcome the unhappiness and discontentment so prevalent in our culture.  I have led this workshop to thousands of people nationwide, and I also see individuals and couples at my center and throughout the country via Skype, Google Hangout, FaceTime, and phone.  For more information, please visit ExtraordinaryRelationships.net, or DethroningYourInnerCritic.com, Like me on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/CenterForExtraordinaryRelationships/ or subscribe to my YouTube Channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQ_cGY_ZdJvvRsnkMerWBjw , Follow me on Twitter @InnerCriticFix or email me at Joanna@ExtraordinaryRelationships.net