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Showing Up Fully In Your Own Life by Dr. Sally Nazari

There are many people who struggle with depression and low self-esteem, wanting to get perfect work evaluations and be liked by everyone. They have the idea that keeping up the image of perfection on the outside will give them the validation and praise they need to feel good on the inside. But what happens is that this positive acknowledgement is being poured into a leaky cup.

And it’s never enough.

The very concept of relying on outside sources to fuel inner confidence becomes dangerous because then any perceived criticism or rejection becomes one hundred times more harmful. And then they start to feel like they’re falling apart.

You CAN quiet your inner critic.

One of the first tasks to quiet the inner critic is learning how to recognize selfjudgments as a story you’ve been telling yourself that’s untrue and unhelpful.

Once you can challenge these judgements you can rewrite the story in a more accurate and empowered way to create confidence and improve self-esteem. For some, engaging in this process with a therapist and letting someone see behind the mask, can be integral to the healing process.

How can you begin to shift judgments to improve self-esteem?

Notice self-judgments. Gently point out to yourself that statement like ‘I’m a failure’ or ‘I’m an imposter’ is a judgment and not a fact. Perhaps ask yourself: ‘Is that true or is it a judgment?’ Just notice it and let it go. Don’t judge yourself for judging – this is a natural thing and you are learning how to change it.

Encourage yourself to track judgments. Use a ’judgment jar’ and move a marble into the jar anytime you notice yourself using a judgment. Invite yourself and perhaps even your loved ones to count or track judgments to recognize how much they are coming up for you during the day. The very act of noticing is promoting mindfulness and will automatically help you shift from judgment to awareness and compassion.

Restate your judgments in a factual way. When you evaluate people, emotions or things as good or bad, restate them as facts when you repeat them back to yourself. For example, if you say ‘She looked so ridiculous at work today’, you might rephrase this as ‘She has a different style than I do’. Describe what you see without placing opinions or emotions in the observations.

Learning to take a look at ourselves and tune into our inner critic and how to be non-judgmental can be hard. And it takes time to learn how to be selfcompassionate. Start practicing today to build up your non-judgmental and self-compassionate muscles because they are so worth it.

Sally Nazari, PsyD is a licensed psychologist, Usui Reiki Master Teacher and Jikiden Reiki practitioner providing individual, group, couples and family therapy and mindfulness groups in Nyack. Her interactive and solution-focused approach highlights compassionate understanding to help people work through personal life issues. For additional information on the services she offers or to schedule an appointment, call 236- 5612 or visit

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