We all have an inner critic filling our heads with a negative commentary about our own behavior and worth. The mean-spirited voice in your head can make you feel like your own worst enemy. I wrote last time about how I lived with a toxic family member who frequently criticized, rejected, and called me names while I was growing up. I learned the language of the critical voice early and often. Due in part to these experiences, I have struggled greatly with my own negative self-talk. However, individuals who have had loving, supportive upbringings will find that they too still have a critical voice of varying degrees living inside of them. We’ve been taking in these negative messages all our lives from all around us – family, friends, bullies, teachers, coworkers, movies, TV shows, advertisements, magazines, and more. “Big surprise! I have screwed up again.” “I am a complete fraud.” “What is the matter with me?” “I will never be able to do this.” “No one could love me.” Sound familiar? Constantly being berated by the critical voice in your head can lead to low self-esteem. Low self-esteem then leads to a myriad of potential mental health and wellness challenges. Some of these include: hypersensitivity to having feelings hurt issues in romantic relationships isolation and loneliness fear and anxiety depression mood