Depression and the inner critic

Do you feel like you should be in a better place in your life? Lots of people feel like their life doesn’t measure up to where they want to be. Some people believe that they’re underachieving if they don’t own a house, have the job they want or even if they aren’t engaged to be married.

A lot of self-judgment is born from your inner critic. We often judge ourselves, and what we have, based on what we know about what others have. The act of comparing can really bring you down if you perceive that other people have more than you, and that you’re missing out because you’re in a different place.

To calm your inner critic, there are 3 things you can do:

1. Stop comparing

Life often seems good until you compare yourself to someone who appears to have more (and you will always find someone who appears to have more). Remember that no matter who you compare yourself to, those people are also comparing themselves to someone else who appears to have more. That’s why it’s important to catch yourself when you’re being hypercritical. No matter what you have or how happy you are, comparing yourself will always rob you of enjoying life and the things you do have. Releasing the urge to compare yourself is an important stepping stone for tip number two.

2. Find the joy in what you have

It’s truly amazing how gratitude can shift your perception. Being grateful for even the most simple of things can make you feel more grounded. Try thinking about three to five things you’re grateful for each morning, and notice how that makes small differences in your day. The fact is that you are where you are in your life, so you can either hate it and life will continue, or you can try to find some joy in it and life will continue. If you try to find some joy in your life, eventually you will be at the next stage and you’ll feel good that you enjoyed the process.

3. Control what is in your control, and let the rest happen

Think about the qualities of your life that you wish were different. Maybe you wish your debts were paid off, that you were further ahead in your career or that you were married with a baby on the way. But know that you have much more control of the simple things in your life as opposed to the bigger picture. You can make sure you get a good night’s sleep, connect with friends regularly or take a yoga/fitness class. Focusing on the simple things that you can control can help you to enjoy life now, regardless of what the bigger picture looks like. There will always be things that you can’t control, so you may as well enjoy the process and the now. If you’re having trouble, ask yourself how you can do more of what brings you joy when you feel down.

The difference between people who are happy and people who aren’t is that happy people relish what they have, and they do more of the little things that bring happiness. Life is going to happen, so you may as well enjoy it.

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