In the darkest recesses of your brain lives the ankle grabber of the mind. It’s your inner critic—the tiny voice that pipes up to plant a seed of self-doubt. When left unchecked, that seed can grow quickly into a cacophony of not-enoughs, should-bes, and what-ifs, pointing out all we are not instead of celebrating all we are.
“So many of us are looking for some sort of respite from the constant negativity,” says yoga and meditation teacher Rosie Acosta, founder of health and wellness platform Radically Loved and its accompanying podcast. “It’s something we all want to learn.”
Like Hydra, the mythological monster whose heads regrew each time one was chopped off, the inner critic is an innovative beast. Taking it down is not a one-and-done affair; instead, it requires diligence.
But with practice comes relief. Here, Acosta shares four steps to break the cycle and rob your inner gadfly of its power.
“Comparison is the biggest killjoy,” says Acosta. “I think it’s the number one reason the inner critic comes out.” It’s easy to latch onto assumptions about other’s lives, which can amplify fear and anxiety about everything from your career and relationships to the way you look and how you spend your free time. The antidote is threefold: First up, limit your use of social media. In today’s plugged-in culture, we carry comparison around in our pockets. Instead, says Acosta, put down your phone. “Surround yourself with visuals that make you feel good about where you are in this moment.” Second, take a look at your friend group. Are you being supported and uplifted? “Surround yourself with people who inspire you to be a better version of yourself,” says Acosta. Finally, stay in your lane. Bring the focus inward. “Life is not a competition,” reminds Acosta. “It’s a process. It’s a journey. That journey has nothing to do with what anyone else is doing but you.”
To help you kick comparison … Practice Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II), for grounding, circulation, and energy.