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Self

The Inner Critics

Have you ever known the frustration of feeling alone while being isolated within four walls with people who think they know you? 

The problem is you are not alone, and you are not a singular being, as the voices in your head will not shut up. I know these inner critics make life in isolation a living hell. If these voices are like the ones I used to live with, they say you have little worth, you are ugly, you are fat, and you are stupid. When I lived with these voices, I found the more attention I gave them, the stronger they got. I was able to evict them for good after letting them live rent-free for thirty years when I suffered through a range of eating disorders and body dysmorphic vision.

I now live with peace, kindness, and authority over my mind and heart.

The first step in breaking free was to believe I was capable of doing so. Through counseling and journaling, I worked to imagine my life without always thinking about food. I had to imagine what my life would be like in five years if I did not get better, which seemed like a horror story. How much more anxiety could I take when at social functions with food? How much more restrictive could I be in eating “healthy” during the day only to eat without boundaries at night? The idea of these behaviors escalating was too stressful to bear. So, I worked to imagine what my life would be like without them, which appeared to be only an empty sky, but it was a light blue and sunny sky.  

I turned to God for His strength, His vision of me, and His plan for me. Knowing we have a loving God, I knew He did not design my life to be in pain and suffering. I worked to put on His glasses to see myself as He sees me.

With this renewed vision, the second step was becoming intentional with thought control. If an inner voice addressed an action or thought, I stopped to ask myself, “Is this something my future self would honor? Is this something a healthy person asks or says?” Once I was able to identify good voices from bad voices, I told the bad ones I did not want to serve them any more. Taking control of my thoughts and behaviors required trust and strength in my Savior and myself.

The road to completely break from the voices’ bond took several years. It took a lot of trust in believing by adopting rational eating and exercise behaviors my body would not expand like a balloon. This meant I had to understand how the body works to metabolize to release my stress when eating new foods. I studied my family tree and recalled the shapes of the women in my lineage so I could accept my DNA. My genetics determined my body shape before I was born. I had to work to find balance within my day. I found new activities I enjoyed, such as reading books, getting back to journaling, and meeting new people. I needed to fill my mind and heart with other positive things so the voices had no more room to live.

If you struggle to silence inner bullies, have faith and know you can be better. You don’t need to live with this insanity. The road to recovery is not easy, but the outcome is always worth it.  Please feel free to contact me or comment below and tell me what part of my story affected you most. Do you battle with critical voices? Do you also feel confused and alone in your struggle to live with peace?

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