The things we whisper to ourselves, that we come to believe as absolute truths can leave us prisoners in our own minds and bodies – weighed down by shame that is hot, heavy, raw and perfectly tailored to our deepest insecurities and hurts. It can impact how we relate to ourselves and to others as well as how we react to the world around us.

This can look like becoming easily offended, equating worth with performance or position, overachieving or underachieving, not communicating or even knowing our needs, being on high alert for any hint of rejection, people-pleasing, perfectionism or feeling defensive, shut-down, depressed, stressed, anxious or worn out.

Wherever this voice originated from, whether it is the echo of words or attitudes directed toward you by a caregiver, bully, peers or an authority figure, it often becomes a constant companion that is so intimately familiar, we believe it to be our very own and we accept what it has to say without question.

In ACT, we develop skills in order to respond to our inner critic with compassion and kindness. We acknowledge that this critic may be trying to protect us, motivate us or bring our attention to something that is deeply important to us. We work together to change the ways we respond, recognizing that this critic may be with us as part of our journey in this life.

It’s not easy – nor is the weight of what’s holding you down – though if you’re willing, just maybe we can brave it together with curiosity and kindness, learning skills and strategies to support you along the way.

Melissa Verheyen, M.A., co-founder of Family Hope Counselling & Training Centre Inc., is a Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) who practices acceptance and commitment therapy and offers virtual services for client living in Saskatchewan, Ontario and New Brunswick. To book a session, please email or or phone (306) 694-HOPE (4673).