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When we are living with addictions and mental health issues, we are often our own worst enemy and harshest critic. We adopt the voice of our inner demons and forget that they aren’t our true self. We live in fear rather than self-love. How can we change our inner voice to be our own best friend?

We can start by noticing when the voice of our inner critic pops up. Oftentimes we aren’t aware. It has become our default way of thinking to be critical, judgmental and cynical, with others and with ourselves. When we start to pay attention and take notice when the voice speaks, we can stop letting it control us.

Listen to what the voice is saying. What kinds of things is it saying about you? Is it telling you you’re a failure? Is it commenting on your body? Is it picking apart your perceived flaws? Is it telling you someone else is better than you? Whatever it is your inner critic is saying, make note of it. You can write it down to give yourself even more clarity and emotional control over the thoughts that can sometimes run wild in our minds.

Let’s literally turn around the things being said. If you hear “I’m a failure,” we’re going to start affirming “I am successful.” When our inner critic is criticizing our body, we’re going to affirm “I love my body unconditionally.” When we’re drowning in self-criticism about our faults, we’ll affirm “I am perfect the way I am, a beautiful work in progress that is growing and improving.” When the voice says someone else is better than you, affirm “I love myself, I am confident, competition is an illusion.”

Your instinct might be to be skeptical about these affirmations, but be patient. You didn’t develop your inner critic overnight, and becoming your own best friend will take time. We adopted and reinforced our limiting beliefs and toxic thought patterns with years of repetition, so it will take time and repetition to instill new beliefs and thought patterns. The more energy we give to them, the more it becomes second nature to mentally empower and uplift ourselves. It is liberating beyond measure to be on your own side mentally and emotionally, rather than attacking and berating yourself. Self-love might be the most important part of recovery.

Working on the inner critic in our minds can help us make progress in our recovery. Call (800) 871-5440 for information on how we can support you.