Your Excuse: "My Inner Critic Never Shuts Up!"

The Excuse Buster: Have you ever become aware of your own self-talk? Each of us has a constant stream of self-talk flowing through our mind at any given moment, but most often it is on a subconscious level so we're not aware of it. Unfortunately, you may be in the same boat as many other people, with the majority of your self-talk being negative or derogatory. Without even realizing it you may be constantly telling yourself how stupid you are, how fat you are, you'll never succeed at anything, and so on.

The good news is that even though you may not be aware of your self-talk much of the time, you can still take control of it by choosing to speak more positively to yourself on a regular basis. This will eventually override those old negative messages that have been playing in your head for years. The way to do this is simple: begin talking to yourself with positive words and in a positive tone as often as you can. You can wake up and say, "I really feel good about myself today," or "I'm a great person and I love myself." When you do something well, congratulate yourself. When you screw up, comfort yourself and affirm that it's okay. The idea is to become a source of love and encouragement for yourself, rather than abuse and ridicule.

You can also do this in written form, which is sometimes even more effective than spoken words. Spend a few minutes every morning and/or evening writing a nice letter to yourself. You can write general nice things like, "You are such a good person; you are very compassionate and kind, and you always try hard to listen when people talk to you". Or you can get more specific like, "I really admire the way you handled the pressure at work today". It doesn't matter what you choose to focus on, just that you are building yourself up and transmitting positive messages to yourself.

Whether you do it verbally or in written form, get into the habit of encouraging and building yourself up. Think, speak and act kindly toward yourself, and you will find yourself transforming from powerless victim to empowered, confident person in record time.