The practice of gratitude as a tool for happiness has been in the mainstream for years. Long- term studies support gratitude’s effectiveness, suggesting that a positive, appreciative attitude contributes to greater success in work, greater health, peak performance in sports and business, a higher sense of well-being, and a faster rate of recovery from surgery.
But while we may acknowledge gratitude’s many benefits, it still can be difficult to sustain. So many of us are trained to notice what is broken, undone or lacking in our lives.
And for gratitude to meet its full healing potential in our lives, it needs to become more than just a Thanksgiving word. We must learn a new way of looking at things, a new habit. And that can take some time.
That’s why practicing gratitude makes so much sense. When we practice giving thanks for all we have, instead of complaining about what we lack, we give ourselves the chance to see all of life as an opportunity and a blessing....
We all have an inner critic. That annoying, negative inner voice that judges, criticizes, and shames us for how we look, how we feel, what we think and what we do. It beats us up over our tiniest faults and our biggest mistakes. It may say things like, “You’re stupid,” “You’re going to fail,” “Who do you think you are?” “You’ll never… (lose that weight, get that job, find a soul mate).”
Though it may not feel like it, our inner critic doesn’t always mean to be malicious. Sometimes it’s just simply trying to help us avoid the pain of rejection, humiliation and isolation. The irony is, when we accept these negative messages it creates the very pain it’s trying to help us avoid.
Here’s a sample of the impact our negative inner critic has on our behavior. It contributes to our: