Tuning Out the Outer Critic
In my work with hundreds of men and women who are choosing greater success in designing their future, one major challenge they often experience, is listening to, and being affected by the voice and opinions of others. Taking in the criticism of others and being affected for a short while is one thing; it is quite another thing when it stops you from living your authentic life.

In Napoleon Hill’s classic book, Think & Grow Rich, there is much mention about criticism in at least three of the chapters. “Fear of criticism, leads to failure to create plans and put them in action because of what other people will think, do or say. This enemy belongs at the head of the list because it generally exists in one’s subconscious mind, where its presence is not recognized…it robs people of their initiative, destroys their power of imagination, limits their individuality, takes away their self reliance and does them damage in hundreds of other ways.”

One of the main ways to deal with the outer critic, so that your authentic inner voice can direct you, is by learning to love yourself more. When you stop looking for approval from others and get it from yourself, you begin to be a true creator in your own life.

Practicing Self-Love
Some would equate self love with being egotistical or narcissistic. Real self-love is neither. Real self-love is not boastful; it honors everyone. Often, as young children we were given the message that if we said how wonderful we were that no one would like us. For many of us, it was not polite to even talk about ourselves and our accomplishments and to be proud of them. Nothing is farther from the truth. Someone who loves themselves deeply is not boastful yet may be grateful for their accomplishments and proud of them. Naturally they want to share their gifts with others.

Self love is a daily practice. We can be our own worst critics even while knowing intellectually that we are loved and just fine as we are. Knowing about the power of self-love and acting out of self love are very different however. As always, awareness is the first key to making any change.

Begin to Embrace Your Weeds (the disowned parts of yourself)
When we examine our thoughts, and all the disowned part of ourselves, those parts we are embarrassed by or hide from others, we come to realize that all parts are sacred and necessary. Our hidden self can be revealed to people we love and trust with confidence that we will not be judged. In sharing and being vulnerable we help others to step forward as well. We become more authentic and approachable. When we begin to embrace all the parts of who we are, an amazing thing begins to happen: We experience self-love. We realize that as humans we are not perfect-we make mistakes and miss the mark , even if we recognize we are also spiritual beings (Missing the mark is an ancient Greek archery term for sin) Forgiveness of self and others is a huge part of practicing greater self love.

A Sufi Story
A young man named Nasreddin planted a flower garden, but when the flowers came up so did a great crop of dandelions among them. Wishing to eliminate the unwanted guests, Nasreddin consulted with gardeners near and far, but none of their solutions worked.

Finally, Nasreddin traveled to the palace of the sheik to seek the wisdom of the royal gardener himself. But alas, Nasreddin had already tried all the methods the kind old man recommended to him for eradicating such troublesome weeds.

Silently they sat together for a good long time. At last, the royal gardener looked at Nasreddin and said, “Well, then, the only thing I can suggest is that you learn to love them.”

Author's Bio: 

As a certified coach and Life Mastery Consulant, Valerie has trained and mentored with some of the elite mentors in the field of personal development. (Mary Morrissey, Paul Martinelli and Bob Proctor)