From inner critic to inner peace

By: Debra Rieder

There were many emotions tied to the ultimate demise of my marriage; loneliness, emptiness, sadness, guilt, shame and fear just to name a few.

Unfortunately, many of these were also emotions I fully acquainted myself with since I was a child. For some reason, I’d been plagued with negative emotions, and I have spent my entire life assaulting myself mentally.

The older I became, the more these emotions continued to grow, and they eventually manifested into additional ones like worry, doubt, anxiety, insecurity and depression.  With each passing year, I found myself relentlessly seeking ways to rid myself of them and I made a plethora of mistakes along the way in doing so, which included marrying a man I knew wasn’t right for me.

Thirteen years later, the inevitable happened and I was completely blindsided by a divorce.

I was lost, broken, and finally skinny (well skinny for me). I lost 30 pounds in 40 days. I was a wreck, a basket case.  But not because of the loss of my marriage and the comfortable lifestyle that came with it, rather it was the tearing apart of our family without regard for anyone else’s feelings.  It was the challenges, emotions, confusion, difficulties, stress and loss of innocence that our children now had to face because of the divorce.  It was fear of how it would affect our children, now, and in the future. It wasn’t about me per se, it was about the loss of my family unit that was so disturbing. And because I would never again hear my children say, “mom and dad.” It would now have to be “mom or dad”.

Looking back, I realize how much my negative self-talk and excess of unhealthy emotions attributed to a life of lack. It stifled me. It controlled me. It forced me to wear masks, escape through vices and live with a sense of void.

It didn’t have to be this way. If I had only listened to all of the times God was “calling me,” and ignore my inner critic throughout my life, I could’ve found this peace sooner. I didn’t have to go through the pain, the mental torment, and neither do you!

The trajectory of my life changed because of the unfortunate events of dear friends of mine who had a 35-week stillborn baby.

Shortly after the funeral, I went to check on the dad and found him sitting alone in the dark in their dining room. I noticed his fist was clenched as we spoke. I tapped it softly and asked, “what’s in there?” He slowly rolled his hand over, opened it, and replied, “I finally got my girl, and she had black hair like me.”

As I watched my friend talk about the locket of his daughter’s hair, I couldn’t help but notice his strength, but more than anything, I observed his faith, his peace.

And so it was, there in that moment, with tears in his eyes, as well as my own, I looked at him and said, I want what you have. Puzzled, he replied? “What do you mean?  Have what?” And I said, “That peace, your strength, your faith.” He replied with a little more vigor in his voice, “It’s yours for the taking. Anyone can have it. You just have to believe.”

I didn’t need to hear anymore. I not only wanted it…I NEEDED it! I desperately needed freedom from the mental torment and negative voice inside my head that was always waging war.

And from that pivotal moment in my life, my Faith Walk began.

If faith was the answer to having peace in my life, I was determined I was going to find it. And so, my quest ensued wanting to know who is God and how can I have some of that faith and peace.

There are many things I learned along the way.  Some “lessons” were easy, and some, the exact opposite of that.

But more than anything, the faith that my friend had, and I now have, is vastly larger than just believing in God. It’s something that takes hold and changes everything about you (in a beautiful way). Your thoughts, actions, attitude and perspective on life change. This type of faith provides hope and supernatural strength during adversity because there’s an unexplainable KNOWING that resonates so deep inside your soul, it fills your heart with love and peace.

I’ve spoken on stage with the likes of Jack Canfield, Co-Creator of #1 NY Times Best-Selling Book Series, Chicken Soup for the Soul® and James Malinchak, from ABC’s Secret Millionaire. And now I’m on a mission to help others and my clients find this type of faith and put an end to the mental torment of their inner critic.

Mental Health is such a prevalent concern these days, taking the lives of far too many people way before their time.  In fact, although never actually attempted, I was there at the end of my rope, not once, not twice, but three times wanting desperately for my life to end.  My inner critic was ruthless and relentless, and I couldn’t get that negative voice inside my head to stop playing in “stereo” on repeat.

I’m extremely passionate about coaching and speaking with women at colleges, universities, high schools, churches and organizations. I want to help prevent (or stop) them from experiencing the needless torture of that little, small voice inside their head always telling them they’re not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough or any of the other “enoughs.” The same little, small voice that holds them captive from living the life they crave, deserve and desire.  And more importantly, I want to help put an end to the unfortunate and unhealthy cyclical patterns that are passed from one generation to the next, just because someone didn’t know that Faith=Peace and Peace=Faith. They are like besties, two peas in a pod. When you find one, the other is never far behind.

Visit and download a FREE digital copy of her new book, Overcome Your Inner Critic, or grab a paperback copy on Amazon today. And for contact information in how to hire Debra to speak at your next keynote, conference, retreat or workshop.

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