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A Letter to My Inner Critic

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To my inner critic, enough is enough. I’m done with you. I’m through. I’m drawing a line in the sand. I’m walking away.

I’ve not known who you are very long, but we’ve known each other for years. It seems like you’ve always been there whispering your insidious thoughts in my ears. All through the dark years of my depression you made me think you were my friend. I recognized you and sought your company. It was easier than facing the real world. Re-learning to think in a new way. Recognizing something wasn’t right.

But you weren’t a real friend. You would convince me I could have done better or that I’d failed completely. You persuaded me that others were laughing at me, that they saw me trip up or heard my mistake. You could argue endlessly until I believed my friends hated me, that my family couldn’t stand me. You ground me down until I’m wasn’t the person I thought I was. Until I didn’t know who I was or what I was living for.

But I don’t want to hear it anymore. I’m tired of fighting every minute of every day. I don’t have the energy anymore – I don’t know if I ever did. How I’ve put up with you all this time, I’ve no idea. You wear me down until I can’t struggle anymore. In the end I believe what you tell me, I accept it. Not because I truly want to but because it’s easier. It’s easier than arguing against you, searching my memories for evidence. I’ve got better things to do.

I’ve decided to swap you out for a newer model. I’m upgrading. I’m moving on. I’ve got a shiny new toy called my inner coach. Where you spout negative thoughts and feelings, making me doubt fond memories and relationships, my inner coach encourages me. I’m trading doubts for hope. My inner coach is honest with me. It accepts that I may have been able to do better but it also lets me see what I’ve done well. It lets me live in the moment and enjoy my day. My evenings are free from ruminating about what went wrong until I spiral down the rabbit hole of negativity. My inner coach can be a friend, the angel on my shoulder. A voice of hope for the future, that next time I can do better, that every experience is a learning curve. Asking for help is no longer a revelation of my incompetency but an opportunity to connect and to learn.

My world is a brighter place without you, my inner critic, and I’d like it to stay that way.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.
If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255

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Thinkstock image by David De Lossy

Originally published: January 31, 2017
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