If you’re like me – and I suspect you might be – you have this little voice in your head that is constantly chattering away and picking at you: criticizing, ranting for something you did wrong, telling you that you are not smart enough, thin enough, attractive enough . . . just not enough to measure up.

Sound familiar?

They say that the mind takes the shape it rests upon. Incredibly, this means your brain changes physically – literally restructures – in response to your thoughts. If you’re always criticizing yourself, worrying, feeling anxious, your brain will naturally deepen the neural pathways to reinforce this thinking to help you worry more, criticize more and muster up more anxiety.

So, here are some practices that may help put that voice in its place and quiet it, soften it, maybe even turn it into your ally.


Love yourself.

A while back I picked up a book – Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on it“, by Kamal Ravikant.

Possibly one of the most powerful little books I’ve read – ever. This beautiful, vulnerable, honest piece speaks of the one thing we generously shower on others while failing to give to ourselves. Love.

“When we love ourselves, we naturally shine, we are naturally beautiful. And that draws other to us. Before we know it, they’re loving us and it’s up to us to choose who to share our love with.” K. Ravikant

Love is a way of being. It is honoring yourself exactly as you are – nicks, imperfections and all.

In this world of 7.4 billion people, there is only ONE of you. One. And according to one calculation, the probability of your being born is 10 to the power of 2,685,000. I’ve never been much of a math wiz, but consider that a near impossibility – i.e. you’re a miracle!

The point here: We are all unique. It’s supposed to be that way and it means that you have gifts and talents that are uniquely yours.

So, just for a moment, sit back and bask in the thought that you’re special. Let that sink in and give yourself a little love.


Reshape your Mind

At the end of your day, do you remember the 16 things that went right, or that one thing you screwed up. Be honest here. We all do it. It is human nature to focus on the negative.

Instead of resting your mind on all that is wrong with you, start noticing all that is right. Look for and see the good in yourself. Give yourself credit for your wins and let the losses drift away.

This simple adjustment in your thinking patterns will gently shift the pathways of your brain to give you a sense of calm, confidence and inner peace.


Stop caring about what others think.

We spend way too much time worrying about what others think about us. . . . Are we okay? Did we say the right thing? Is the outfit right? It’s exhausting! I’ll let you in on a little secret – most people are not even thinking about you. They’re too busy worrying about what others are thinking of them.

You are not here to please others or to fit into their expectations, and if you’re circle of “friends” includes those who love to find fault, it’s time to shift your alliances.

We might take a lesson here from dolphins, creatures known for their closeness and support of one another. Dolphins swim close together and help injured or young members of their pod by swimming under them and gently lifting them to the surface to breathe. Find friends who lift and support you and allow you to be exactly who you are.


Look for the gift

Life comes with hurts, challenges, and failures. And the way you view these can turn them into life-shattering experiences or opportunities to learn, deepen, and build your strength and resilience.

Consider meeting challenges with curiosity: Why is this happening and what do I need to learn so this doesn’t happen again? Another simple practice that has always worked for me: Look for the gift – the special turn of events – completely unexpected – that will bring a smile to your face.