What Does Giving Yourself Grace Mean? Ways to Give More Love & Shake Your Inner Critic

All of the topics I talk about in this blog are so near and dear to my heart that I hope you can feel the passion oozing through your phone or computer or whichever device you’re listening on. Today’s article of course is no different.

Today, we deep dive into dun dun dun - giving ourselves grace.

Whhhheeeeew somehow giving grace and kindness can feel so difficult because our inner critic loves to steal the show.

Often, we are our own biggest critic.

Which is actually a normal thing in order to keep us in line with society and so we aren’t banished and totally off the deep end.

It’s to fit in, to be validated, to get love, support. All very normal human things that are necessary for our self esteem and survival.

Yet, in this day and age, especially with the immense rise of social media, the inner critic seems to have gotten louder and more pervasive.

So much so that a majority of our thoughts become negative toward ourselves and then our self esteem, confidence and joy completely swings the other way and deteriorates.

So the inner critic that’s meant to keep us in line and make us be better humans, is in turn making us more stressed, depressed, and anxious.

So how the heck do we find that balance of inner critic and positive self talk that will actually enhance our lives?

Well, let’s talk about it.


The Negativity Monster

I am passionate about the brain.

I research scientific studies about the brain in my free time.

And I also love the woo woo energetics that go along with it.

Now, in our brains, we have an inner voice.

Sometimes, it feels like we don’t get to choose what we think about.

We’re so caught up in our own swarm of thoughts that it feels like they are rapid fire one right after another that there’s no time to actually pick which one we want.

It can make us feel overwhelmed.

But if you were to really stop for a hot minute and pause, and if I were to tell you to think about a purple elephant….

You are probably imagining and thinking about a purple elephant….. Right?

You get to choose what you think, but often our thoughts are simply just old patterning and conditioning from our environment, previous relationships and experiences that it just becomes the same thought loop over and over.

Is it possible to break out of it?

Yes, it is.

But it takes the ability to slow down, pause, and become aware that it’s happening.

So for example, if you’re beating yourself up over how you look, it’s because you learned that you have to look a certain way in order to be validated and loved and maybe you were teased for how you looked when you were younger, or you thought that in order to be in a loving relationship you had to look like the fit, toned, person you saw on the screen or on social media.

So then the inner critic tells you you’re not good enough and forces you to go to the gym, which can be a good thing of course for your health.

Yet on the other hand, this inner critic can be relentless.

Because no matter how hard you try, you train or you beat yourself up to get to the dream body or the dream outcome, the brain learns the conditioning of bashing on yourself.

Have you ever gotten to your goals and then said well, now I have to do XYZ to be even better?

Or you got to your dream body and it still wasn’t enough?

You got to your dream income and you wanted more?

You got the dream partnership and still felt unworthy?

The inner critic can run on a hamster wheel.

And this is where positive self talk comes in to break this cycle and downward spiral.

The Need to Give More Compassion

I want to talk about a real life experience where my brain and inner critic ran me into the ground and most definitely was not helpful.

I share this story so you can see from a witness perspective what the brain does and how it can really enhance our lives or completely shift us into misery.

I also share it because possibly you can relate and not feel so alone.

I remember it was my last year in college, and typically the spring break of the last year all of the Senior friend groups get together and go on a spring break trip.

After much deliberation, my friend group had decided to take a cruise in the Bahamas.

I was excited to be on a cruise again, spend time in warm weather, and be on a beach.

Yet I remember it was a very volatile time in my life where I didn’t feel good about myself at all and was in my full on perfectionism era.

After every picture I took on this trip, I sat and analyzed it and in my head would say “ew, not worthy.

I’m fat, I must keep going to the gym, wow I can’t believe I look like that.”

And then there were the rare photos that had the right angle that I actually liked.

So we finally get to our stop in the Bahamas.

We’re off the boat, we’re free to roam, we’re all excited and we go to the beach.

I remember us all laying on chairs, reading, chilling, hanging out.

My friends were up and dancing and laughing and having a good time.

Meanwhile, I was sat with my clothes on and couldn’t even get myself to participate in the fun banter, or read my book because I was so in my head of how I looked.

I was frantically scanning the beach looking at all of my friends and comparing their bodies to mine.

Their bellies were flatter.

Their arms were toner.

Their bathing suits looked cuter on them.

I’m not pretty or good enough - was the cycle of thought that just keep going around and around and around in my head.

Until I had to get up and go sit by the water by myself in order to not be around everyone.

I was stuck so deep in this hatred self talk of myself that I made myself bawl my eyes out at the ocean.

I was literally in paradise at the beach I was so excited to be at, yet I couldn’t even enjoy it because I was so preoccupied in my head of how I looked.

I missed out on the fun laughs with my friends because I was too ashamed of myself and my body.

If only I had released self-judgment and rocked my swimsuit with confidence and focused on how much beauty I radiate, I would have felt differently and reframed that moment in a completely different way.

So as you can see, our brains play a huge role on how we experience life and can be an obstacle to happiness.

We get to choose whether we sit in our looping thought patterns or can we become brave enough to look at them head on and choose to shift them.

So how do we really break this cycle and shift them?

Let’s talk about some interesting findings in the next segment called Neuro Nugget.

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The Science Behind Giving Ourselves Grace

Time for our Neuro Nugget, the segment where we dive into fascinating insights about the brain and behavior.

Today’s neuro nugget surprised me at first, and then made sense with everything we’ve been talking about.

Recent research by Junhyung Kim and colleagues shed light on how positive and negative self-talk can influence the way our brain networks communicate, especially during cognitive tasks.

Their study, titled "The Effects of Positive or Negative Self-Talk on the Alteration of Brain Functional Connectivity by Performing Cognitive Tasks," wow a mouthful - uncovered some intriguing findings.

Like legit, I freaking love doing research because I always find some really intriguing insights.

The research shows that when individuals engage in nonjudgmental positive self-talk, certain brain regions associated with executive functions and confidence show stronger connectivity.

In plain terms, this suggests that positive self-talk may enhance our cognitive abilities, boost our confidence levels and increase our own personal growth.

Which this part I feel like is self explanatory.

When we hype ourselves up, of course we’re going to feel more confident mentally and physically.

Now here’s the most interesting part for me, negative self-talk also seemed to enhance performance on cognitive tasks in the short term.

This was because of increased motivation and attention.

If you think about going to the gym for example, if you berate yourself of “wow I hate how I look.”

You may have the motivation to go to the gym.

Or if you think you’re a bad public speaker, you probably have the motivation to practice your speech a ton of times before you go on stage.


This is only in the short term.

The effects of negative internal dialogue on brain connectivity raise concerns about its long-term impact on cognitive function and well-being.

Over time, the negative self talk begins to break us down and decrease our cognitive functioning while causing more unnecessary stress..

When we are harsh and critical to ourselves time and time again, Mayo Clinic experts say that we have shorter life spans, higher rates of depression, more stress, worse physical health and worse coping skills.

AKA we’re barely hanging on.

Soooo, if you’re wanting to live longer, have more joy, feel less stress, feel healthier and cope with what life throws at you AND have better cognitive function and confidence, then positive thoughts, unconditional love, practicing self-compassion are where it’s at.

Positive self-talk seems to prime our brains for success, while negative self-talk may have unexpected benefits but also lots of downsides.

When you are constantly thinking negative thoughts, we can get stuck in a lower vibration and attract in lower vibrational experiences.

Monitoring your inner voice and cultivating positive, loving thoughts help us embody who it is we want to be which in turn attracts in our most aligned dreams and goals.

So, the next time you catch yourself engaging in self-talk, remember: your words have the power to shape your brain and influence your performance.

Choose them wisely!

If you’re like okay Nicole, but how the heck do I change my thoughts?

You’re in luck.

I have a whole process where I teach my steps on how to rewire the brain to turn negative thoughts into self compassion in my Freedom Fast Track membership.

If you’re interested in rewiring your brain, finding more joy in your life, and reaching your biggest goals, check out the Freedom Fast Track membership.

If you’re wanting more 1:1 high touch support, I still have some space in my VIP Freedom Fast Track Accelerator.

I’d love to support you in getting off autopilot and making your head a lovely place to be.  

Want to work together, but want to know more about how I can help you? You can book a call with me!

So, because I love having you be able to take action right away, let’s move on down to our Brain hack of the day.

Ways to Give Yourself Grace

Alright, so here's the deal:

We all have those moments when we're super hard on ourselves, right?

Maybe it's about the way we look, our abilities, or even things we've done in the past that we're not so proud of.

Buuuut, we have the power to flip that script and turn our inner critic into our biggest cheerleader.

If we have the ability to think the negative thought, we also have the ability to choose a different thought that is better serving us.

So, first things first, take a moment to think about those areas where you're most critical of yourself.

What first comes to mind?

Now, here's where the magic happens.

Instead of letting those negative thoughts run the show, we’re pushing them aside and going to create new neural networks that feel better in our bodies.

A lot of times, it’s giving yourself a lot of grace.

So that time I felt horrible on the beach, instead of telling myself I looked ugly and horrible, and no one would ever love me.

I couuuuuld’ve said:

“You are beautiful in your own skin and have your own uniqueness and you are doing the best to take care of your body with the resources you have.”

Wow. If I would’ve said that, that day would’ve been a whole lot different. I could’ve partaken in the fun all of my friends were having and released a ton of stress and negativity.

The key here is to make these affirmations personal and meaningful to you.

They should feel like a warm hug for your soul and actually believable or else your brain is just going to write them off.

So come up with some new compassionate thoughts that actually feel better and believable in order to boost your confidence and remind you of your inherent beauty, worth and awesomeness.

So, the next time your inner critic and perfectionist self start acting up, hit 'em with the little 1 2 with those affirmations and give yourself some grace.

Now, you didn’t get to where you are without replaying the current thoughts you have.

We repeat our negative thoughts over and over until they have become a part of us and our identity and we can start to burnout.

Sooo now with a little practice, patience, awareness and consistency, you'll transform that negative chatter into your own cheerleading squad, which will start to propel you to new energetic heights and call in new aligned opportunities beyond your imagination.  

Again, want more help practicing these positive affirmations?

This is something I help people with in the Freedom Fast Track membership! You can find more information here.

As always let’s do a little recap of what we talked about today in our Fulfillment Fast Track.

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Are you ready to finally find peace and joy in your life?

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Recapping the Self Talk & Inner Critic

I’m so passionate about self-talk because it completely transformed my life from me hating myself to me actually fully finding confidence and true, pure love for myself.

So I help this episode gave you more insight and permission to be kinder to yourself in your mind and give yourself more compassion.

Today, we talked about the:

  • Self-Criticism vs. Positive Self-Talk:

We explored how societal pressures and past experiences can amplify our inner critic's voice, hindering our joy and confidence.

Versus finding the awareness to shift the thoughts and be our own cheerleader.

  • The Role of Thoughts:

Our thoughts shape our reality.

We discussed how negative thought patterns can trap us in cycles of self-doubt and criticism, preventing us from fully enjoying life's moments.

But, we also highlighted our ability to break free from these patterns with mindfulness and choose thoughts that uplift and empower us.

  • The Bahamas Beach:

I shared a personal story from my college days to illustrate the impact of negative self-talk on our experiences.

Despite being in a beautiful setting, my inner critic had me in tears which overshadowed the joy of the long-awaited beach trip, highlighting the profound influence of our thoughts.

  • The short-lived benefits of negative self talk:

We explored recent research on how positive and negative self-talk affect our brain function.

Negative self-talk actually does offer some short term motivation, buuuut its long-term effects on cognitive function and well-being are concerning for our own mental health and physical health.

  • Rewriting the narrative:

When faced with negative self-talk, we can rewire our brains by replacing those thoughts with kind, empowering affirmations that actually resonate with us and feeling better in our bodies.

By consciously choosing uplifting thoughts, we can cultivate a mindset that supports our growth and happiness.

This recap serves as a reminder of the power of our words and thoughts.

By choosing self-compassion and positivity, we can transform our inner dialogue and create a life that radiates out who we really are which attracts in what it is we really want.

We are letting go of the old stories and living more in the present moment.

I’d love to explore this further with you in my Freedom Fast Track membership or if you’re wanting more free tools, check out all of my free resources to get started on your journey.

More Top Posts on Wellness

Thank you so much for joining me on 'Radically Rewired' today!

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You can also find more wellness articles on how to rewire your brain here.

I’m sooo grateful that you’re here taking another step toward living a life that feels extraordinary.

I can't wait to see you on the blog again soon.

Much love,


Hi! I'm Nikki. A brain hacking mentor on a mission to help you optimize your mindset to achieve your goals and live a fulfilling and joyous life.

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