Have you ever wondered if it's possible to divorce your inner critic? You know that questioning, nagging little voice inside you that is never at a loss to point out your flaws, highlight your doubts and cross-examine you on your decisions? If you don't know what I'm talking about, it's the part of you that just asked you "What inner critic is she talking about?"

After you separate or divorce, the most important tool you have at your disposal is your mindset. What are you thinking? What are you telling yourself? Is your goal to "survive" your divorce? Do you feel like you're a failure or "damaged goods"? Your thoughts have a powerful impact on your reality and so it's imperative that we learn to choose our thoughts more consciously.

Most human beings engage in ongoing self-talk. The rare exception might be those few enlightened masters who meditate on a mountaintop for 14 hours a day. Getting separated or divorced exposes how programmed you are to your own negative internal dialogue. In my case, there was nothing like having a 20-year relationship crumble to turn up the volume on the internal, self-critical thoughts I'd been carrying around my whole life, but never really noticed before. I wondered how I could divorce myself from this inner critic.

Dr. Lee Pulos, noted clinical psychologist at the University of British Columbia, estimates that we self-talk between 150-300 words per minute. That works out to an astonishing 45,000-50,000 thoughts per day that we use to tell ourselves what we think about what's going on! He estimates that the average person can only last for about 11 seconds without some kind of self-talk. For many of us, a lot of that self-talk is negative - particularly when we've experienced some kind of setback, like a separation or divorce. Dr. Pulos asserts people put themselves in a "waking hypnosis" with this incessant stream of negative self-talk. We're literally laying down programming in our consciousness that beats us up and sets us up for failure and dissatisfaction.

Of course it's not possible to divorce your inner critic. It's part of our psychological design that's intended to keep us safe and have us pause before we act. It actually has great value in exposing to us some of our limiting beliefs and unconscious programming that holds us back. To partner more effectively with that inner critic, here are some easy strategies you can try.

1. You Don't Have to Know
Your mind can only know what it has already known or experienced. Life offers us possibilities much broader than we can possibly "know" if we're open to seeing them. You don't know what you don't know. And that is good news! All you need is a willingness to stay open and view your mistakes as wonderful learning opportunities. Get curious and ask yourself, "What can I learn from this?" Give yourself some time for quiet so you can hear that still, wise voice of your intuition.

2. Tune into Your Inner Dialogue
Awareness is the critical ingredient to building a more empowering mindset. Break the state of "waking hypnosis" and choose new thoughts that support you. It might require some practice, but it is a conscious choice you can make. If you hear your inner critic getting nasty with you, simply say "Thank you for sharing!" or "Sure, but I deserve to have a great life anyway!" Try walking around with a notebook and jot down some of the dialogue you hear in your head. You may be shocked at how quickly those nagging doubts will clear.

3. Don't Take it Personally
Everyone has an inner critic. Realize that it's just trying to protect you. You can even visualize that part of you as a cranky old great-aunt, or as a scared little child, who just needs to talk a lot. Having negative internal dialogue doesn't mean that you are flawed or incapable.

4. Take A Baby Step
Have you broken a promise to yourself or fallen back into some old habits you don't like? That is like giving your inner critic its daily multivitamin. First, be willing to forgive yourself. Second, take action. Don't ruminate and "think about" what you could have done or should be doing. What is one concrete step you could take right now to take you in the direction you want to go? Find something specific and measurable you could act upon right now. The energy and confidence you'll feel from accomplishing that one step, no matter how big or small, will be great fuel to get you started and quiet the voice of your inner critic.

Author's Bio: 

Author and spiritual divorce coach, Carolyn B. Ellis, founded Thrive After Divorce, Inc. to help separated and divorced individuals improve relationships, increase self-confidence and save time and heartache. She is the award-winning author of the best-selling The 7 Pitfalls of Single Parenting: What to Avoid to Help Your Children Thrive After Divorce. If you want simple life-changing tips for single parenting, visit http://www.thriveafterdivorce.com now to receive a FREE report.

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