5 Steps to Beat Your Inner Critic

5 Steps to Beat Your Inner Critic

Your inner critic can often have the loudest voice in the room, don’t be afraid to press the mute button.

Follow these 5 simple steps to beat your inner critic and slowing your topping you from succeeding in life. Don’t let it slow you down.

1. START BY LISTENING TO THE VOICE

The voice is insidious – you may not even be aware of how often your inner critic is chiming in. Pay attention to what you are thinking and saying to yourself throughout your day. Getting a handle on what your voice is saying is the first step to silencing it.

2. TALK TO YOURSELF LIKE YOU WOULD A FRIEND

When you hear that inner monologue start to chime in, try changing your words to those you would use with any personal friend having a problem. Be compassionate and encouraging, treat yourself with kindness.

3. LOOK AT THE EVIDENCE

When you start to hear your inner critic tell you what you can’t do, ask yourself, how do you know? What evidence do you have to support that negative assessment? What evidence can you offer to refute those negative claims?

4. DON’T LIVE IN THE PAST

You need to let go of past mistakes. When you mess up, accept that it happened, then move on. Reminding yourself repeatedly of how and when you screwed up isn’t helping you solve the problem or make better choices moving forward.

5. CONSIDER THE WORST-CASE SCENARIO

You can stop your inner critic from turning a possible negative outcome into a potential catastrophe. This causes you to feel more anxious than is necessary, leading to doubt and feelings of worthlessness. Stop and consider, what if that worst-case scenario actually did occur? Would it really be all that bad? In most cases, not really.


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The Connections Between Self Esteem and Relationships

The research on the connections between self esteem and relationships is quite extensive. Not only does your self esteem influence how you think about yourself, it also plays a role in your ability to receive and accept love from others. It influences how you treat others in your life, particularly romantic partners.

When you enter into a relationship with a low level of self esteem, you are more likely to become dissatisfied over time.  This means that your partner is also likely to become unhappier and the relationship will suffer.

Your self esteem is born from early life experiences and continues to develop over your life. If your early life was characterized by unhealthy relationships, then it is likely that you will have “inherited” a low level of self esteem. This may lead you to mistreat those around you (even if you don’t want to and don’t realize just how you do this). The impact of early abuse or neglect is not only limited to your own self esteem, but also on your thoughts about others and consequently, about loving relationships.

How we feel about ourselves influences how we interact with and connect with others – but how does this happen? As it turns out, it happens in many ways. Here are just a few of the significant connections between self esteem and a healthy relationship.

Self Esteem Influences Attachment

Your level of self esteem influences how you attach to others. For instance, low levels of self esteem (or confidence) typically creates a low level of trust in others. Depending on how and when these feelings originated, you may have either avoidance or anxiety issues that make it hard for you to connect with others.

At one end of this spectrum, this may cause you to distance yourself from others, ignore your partner, dismiss others’ feelings toward you, and even do things to hurt your partner. This stems from your belief that someone else could not possibly love you, so you should protect yourself from the inevitable hurt they will bestow upon you.

Alternatively, your low self esteem may make you extremely anxious about how others’ feel, causing you to be preoccupied with their behaviors. As a result you may become clingy or overly needy towards others because you are sure they will leave you at any moment.

Self Esteem Guides Communication

Effective communication is crucial in a healthy relationship, so if you lack the ability to be open and honest about your feelings and needs with others, it will influence the nature of the relationship.

When it is difficult for you to communicate about your thoughts or needs – either because you do not have the confidence in either yourself or your relationship, then you are likely over time to become unhappy in the relationship. This could be avoided. It is another way that self esteem is connected to the health of your relationships.

A low self opinion makes it difficult to articulate what you need in order to be happy, to listen well to your partner, and to be assertive about your boundaries in a relationship. Your partner may be able to discern your needs adequately, but if not, it is likely that you will become dissatisfied.

Alternately, your low self esteem may cause you to defer to your partner’s opinions and needs. This is likely to make you resentful and angry toward them over time.

Self Esteem Influences Your Boundaries

How much you care about and value yourself affects what behaviors you are willing to accept from others. For example, you are more likely to put up with disrespectful, controlling, and even abusive behavior from a partner if you do not feel you are worthy of better treatment (or if this is the treatment you have experienced previously and consider to be normal).

Low self esteem may make it difficult for you to say no to your partner or may cause you to take things very personally unnecessarily, when in reality they may have nothing to do with you at all. If this occurs, you may have difficulty reconciling differences with your partner when you feel insecure about your own needs and choices.

It is possible that low self esteem may lead you to feel you are responsible for others’ feelings or needs. This can result in conflict or defensiveness from your partner.

Self Esteem Guides Autonomy

While each of us has a need to be connected to others it is equally important to be an individual and stand on our own. To be autonomous, you must have self esteem. And if you lack autonomy, your partner and relationship must shoulder a heavy burden for making you feel complete.

Without self-esteem, you will find it difficult to spend time alone or to honor your own values and needs. To be intimate with another person means you recognize their needs as well as your own and honor them equally. This awareness is more difficult when you suffer from low self esteem.

Final Thoughts

These are just some of the ways that your self esteem is connected to and plays a significant role in the health of your relationships. To overcome this, it is worth fostering a stronger sense of self, and building your confidence, to help not just for yourself, but also for those around you who care for you.

Without positive self esteem, you will have a challenging time communicating your needs to others, and this means it will be more difficult to connect on a deeper level. These are essential elements in being an equal partner to someone else, and that is critical to building a strong, lasting relationship.

“No-one can survive on their own. No-one.” Game of Thrones


What Does Success Mean For You? – How to Define Success in Life

What does success mean for you?

Just what do we mean by success? What does success mean to you? How are we to be successful in life?  While many equate success with money, power or prestige, a successful life involves much more than that. There are many components to a successful, balanced life, and success is best thought of in a broad, all-of-life manner. To help you, we have identified six essential elements of a successful life.

Many people lead a successful life without amassing great wealth or power.  Our tendency is to think in the short term, our immediate future is most important to us. But a successful life is lived over many decades. If we accept this and think of success in terms of a whole life, not just a year or a decade, we have a better sense of what is important in our lives.

This has two advantages – the first is that it means you always have the chance to improve on your situation. The second is that this wider perspective allows you to appreciate what you have, and to see more clearly the things that are most important.

Success is something to work at continually. In pursuing a successful life, there is no beginning or end – only tomorrow. We define the six pillars of success to help guide you on your journey.

“Past failures are the building blocks of tomorrow’s triumphs.”

Six Pillars of Success

A successful life is multi-faceted, involving the full scope of your life and interactions with others. Importantly, it should be defined by you, not what you think others might think.

We see six pillars of success – the six S’s of success:

  1. Self worth – having a positive sense of self;
  2. Support – enjoying a strong and supportive network of personal relationships;
  3. Satisfaction – and the fulfillment that comes from achievement;
  4. Strength – coming from a healthy body and mind that allows you to get the most from life;
  5. Security – the comfort of a solid financial situation, or financial independence; and
  6. Safety – and the security that allows a solid base for dealing with a rapidly changing world.

1.      Strong Sense of Self (Self Worth)

Success often begins with having a strong, positive and confident sense of self. This is the essential foundation on which your success is based.

Words such as happiness and contentment are similarly related states of mind. However we feel that the more critical dimension is that of a strong feeling of self worth. Psychologists refer to it as “subjective well-being”, and without this, we are unlikely to be happy or content.

If we are not happy, if we are not sure of ourselves, our relationships suffer from our doubts and inconsistencies. In contrast, a strong sense of self allows us to be more engaged and more engaging. As a result we are more likely to achieve the things we desire.

 “We don’t live in a neighbourhood, city, state or country – we live in the space between our ears.”

2.      Supportive Network of Personal Relationships

Humans are social creatures; our history is one of tribes and families. This has helped us to dominate other species by our ability to think, communicate and organise as a group. As we have moved from a tribal base to communities of towns, cities, and nations, we continue to hold dear our relationships with those around us.

This means that you cannot have a successful life without the inclusion of others. Your personal relationships and support groups are essential to your general well-being, they are the ones which add colour and depth to your life. These are the people who give meaning to your existence on this planet, who provide the colour and nuances of your life.

 “At the heart of life lie the relationships we have with other people.”

3.      Satisfaction and Fulfillment

Personal fulfillment begins with a sense of purpose. This is commonly quoted in the self-help literature, but in reality is harder to achieve than generally stated.

For instance, as a younger man at University I had a friend who was committed to a flying career (at which he became very successful). I was jealous of this certainty in his life’s direction. He was amongst a very small minority with such a sense of purpose in their lives.

The rest of us had only vague ideas of the future, and we have moved our lives through a series of goals and ambitions, each updated or replaced as the last was reached.

We do (and should have) goals and set plans for the achievement of those goals. These can be short or longer term, and the satisfaction that comes with achievement is indeed powerful. If we drift through life in a complacent manner, we find that months, years and decades slip by and we realise we have wasted huger opportunities. This is not success.

“Only dead fish go with the flow.”

4.      Strong Body

Looking after yourself physically is a big part of living a successful life. Note that we aren’t talking about exhaustive gym workouts or fad diets. It’s simpler than that. Eating sensibly, with less sugar, watching your weight and getting regular exercise (from walking to work, taking the stairs instead of the elevator for instance), are small things that can make a big difference for many people.

Health problems can beset anyone, at any time. The causes are not always identifiable – we all know of the fitness freak who has suffered an unexpected heart attack or similar misfortune. Causes may be genetic, the result of an accident, the result of a bodily weakness, or they can be lifestyle based.

Whilst we can’t control these things, we can give ourselves the best possible shot. A healthy body will reward you with an increased capacity to do more, to feel more and experience more. It gives better longevity and satisfaction from life, improving our ability to face the physical and mental challenges which continually confront us all.

 “Respect your body. It’s the only one you get.”

5.      Secure Finances

Having a successful life means having financial independence. This is your ticket to more life options and choices, and the formula is quite simple – spend less than you earn and save/invest the balance. Buy quality assets that will appreciate, not toys that will decline in value.

Financial independence is reliant on asset accumulation and typically involves decades of effort.  Having a high-paying job helps, but does not guarantee financial independence. Think of athletes, rock stars, or celebrities with multi-million-dollar earnings who die impoverished. On the other hand, there is the working-class immigrant next door who buys several properties through his life and dies a multi-millionaire.

To think of how to be successful in life, it is useful to define financial independence as the accumulation of wealth that allows you to maintain a desired standard of living without a working pay check. For instance, if your living expenses are $50,000 a year, then an asset portfolio of $1m returning 5% per annum would meet this goal.

 “Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving”

6.      Safety and Security

Most definitions of success focus on higher-order needs such as self-actualisation, esteem and relationships. However, we should not forget that the satisfaction of basic needs is an essential foundation of a successful life.

Abraham Maslow became a famous psychologist when he published his hierarchy of needs. This includes safety and security as being among our basic needs. Without a safe and comfortable living environment, we cannot properly function in the world. Feeling secure in the world and with our place in it is vital to a successful life.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

This recognises that a strong and secure home base provides a psychological rock from which we anchor our responses to the world. In this sense we consider safety and security to be more about the physical manifestations of the above pillars – a comfortable and rewarding home environment and the ability to use and adapt with new technologies as they intrude on our lives.

“The fact is that people are good, give people affection and security, and they will give affection and be secure in their feelings and their behaviour.”