Feb 102016

I love you graffitti

How’s your self-love level? If you’ve struggled to love and approve of yourself, chances are you’ve created a list of personal qualities  you like, love or approve of.  They may be physical: eyes, smile, height, weight, physical conditioning. Or, perhaps they’re spiritual or emotional qualities that influence the way you move through the world. It’s easy to love your loyalty, your compassion, or your enthusiasm, but what about the rest of you?

Sometimes making (or reading) those lists can make us cringe, bringing up concerns about being “stuck up,” selfish, or self-centered. Those thoughts can make it difficult to stay enthusiastic about your list.

What is healthy self-love? I think it requires a level of honesty and humility that allows us to see and accept our positive traits and the ones we don’t enjoy so much. We’ve learned that some of our yuckier traits can be an invitation to grow and change, an idea that works pretty well… until we bump into that critical voice inside. You know, the one that tells us we’re somehow less than others? The Inner Critic. The Inner Editor. The Bully in Your Brain. Yeah. That one.


That’s when we start zooming around the web, reading up on the most popular Inner Critic management techniques. You find coach after coach, author after author offering tips and tactics to silence that inner voice. Get rid of it, once and for all.

And, if you’ve followed that advice, you’ve probably had yet another interesting discovery: the problem with most those strategies is, if they work at all, it’s not for long, is it? Efforts to silence the Inner Critic simply bring it back, stronger than it was before.

So what’s the answer? What does it take to get that voice to behave? Love. Unconditional love and radical self-acceptance. It’s true. As much as that naggy voice doesn’t feel good? It’s an important part of us, an inner warning system. To get to a comfortable level of self-love and self-acceptance means we’ve got to find a way to love that voice, too. #imagineselflove


Andrea Patten is the author of The Inner Critic Advantage: Making Peace With the Noise in Your Head a little book full of big ideas about how — and why — you can learn to love “that voice.”   The Inner Critic Advantage is now available on Amazon.




 February 10, 2016  Posted by  Happiness, Inner Critic, Thinking 13 Responses »
Feb 032016



Alcoholism. Drug abuse. Eating disorders. Compulsive gambling.Addictive disorders impact individuals and families — lots of families. The Faces and Voices of Recovery Campaign conducted a random phone survey and reported that more than 65% of all families are touched by addiction to alcohol or other drugs.

And, while these life-threatening disorders touch so many, there’s still a tremendous associated stigma. Family members often notice the painful and confusing consequences of their loved-ones’ addiction long before becoming convinced of the cause. After all, people with addictive disorders can appear to be distracted and dishonest, engaging in behaviors they’d never even consider if not under the influence.

And the rest of the family? They live with the same denial, delusion, shame, fear, and mistrust as the addicted person. Driven by fear for the loved one’s well-being, it’s easy to become completely wrapped up in trying to help.

The good news? People do recover. In fact, according to RenewEveryDay.com

  • On any given day, more than 700,000 Americans seek treatment for alcohol or drug addiction.
  • At least one-third of alcoholics fully recover.
  • There are an estimated 1.25 million Alcoholics Anonymous members in the U.S and over 25,000 Narcotics Anonymous groups in the world.
  • A majority of Americans (80 percent) have positive feelings about prevention and recovery from substance use disorders.


I’ve created a free PDF with a variety of recovery resources for families that you can download here.

 February 3, 2016  Posted by  E, Parenting, Special Topics 5 Responses »
Jan 232016


Whether it’s friends and family or the bully that lives in your brain, not everyone supports your desire to change.  Sometimes people get comfortable with us and our bad habits or predictable roles… sometimes the whole challenge of change takes place inside our heads.

Remember, habits are “stored” in the bigger, less conscious part of our brains. And that part is much bigger and stronger than the part that houses goals, ideas and intentions.

Your stated intention to change is often met with fear.  A pushback of sorts. Sometimes that fear takes the form of procrastination. Other times our brains serve up all kinds of seemingly reasonable excuses.

My favorite personal example? Starting an exercise program to recover from a back injury. When I first started, I had more excuses than a kid who hadn’t done her homework. And, although it showed up in a variety of different words, the one at the top of this list was simple: I didn’t want to do anything that would cause more pain.

The good news? There are clues in the resistance.

Once I recognized and acknowledged my fear, it became easier to move forward. Instead of “using the treadmill hurts too much”  I took a deep breath and asked, “is there any kind of movement that won’t be painful?” I started by walking back and forth in waist-deep water and eventually progressed to swimming laps. It took some time but taking a baby step was enough to start a positive spiral. It was enough to begin to develop the habit.

If you’re struggling with reaching one of your goals it might be time to ask: do you want it enough to push back against the pushback?



The Inner Critic Advantage: Making Peace With the Noise in Your Head by Andrea Patten is now available on Amazon.



 January 23, 2016  Posted by  Happiness, Inner Critic 7 Responses »
Jan 202016
TICA Dunn Design sketch

I’m saving this for when she’s famous!

What does this look like to you? I shared the drawing a couple of weeks ago on my Facebook page. There were great responses:  party hats,  a spilled ice cream soda, a piping hot beverage and a bird’s nest on top of a cheerleader’s megaphone.  It’s a sketch the cover designer sent me — after we’d agreed on the front. It makes me think of our connection and  collaboration.

I love this little squiggle and get a kick out of the fact that she sent it to me. Kath is an experienced and talented book designer, and I appreciate being given a glimpse into her process. And that’s the sort of thing I’ve been thinking about all day. Connection.

Today was the first day The Inner Critic Advantage was available on Amazon and, on the advice of friends, I offered it for free. With a few more hours to go before the west coast cut-off time, it’s at #58 on Amazon’s Kindle self-help list. I work up this morning to #35 We got all the way up to #15 on Amazon’s Kindle self-help list! Bragging? Yeah, a little. But mostly overwhelmed by the gratitude I feel. A lot of people have taken the time let me know they want me to succeed… and I’m to brag about them. I’m not sure that I’m able to communicate how much it means to be surrounded by such a loving community.

A lot of authors I know are resistant to social media. And, if I hadn’t been fortunate enough to find out there’s more to it than scheduling a whole bunch of “buy my book” tweets, I’d probably feel the same way.

But blogging, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest? I’ve “met” wonderful people and can stay connected to them. I’ve been lucky enough to meet some of my online friends IRL (in real life) and, every time, it has been great.

Bella GSD kiss

Bella’s had enough of this photo shoot thing.


I get a little isolated during final edits and formatting…I need to do that so I can think.  But those “likes,” shares and retweets? Those check-ins from people I know… and some I haven’t met yet? Connection.

Those little cartoony thumbs ups? They are awesome. They’re a whole online vocabulary. A way to reach out; depending on the day, they say “Hang in there,” “Congratulations,” “It’ll be OK,” or “Sometimes I feel that way, too.”

So thank you. Thumbs up. You’re awesome.


The Inner Critic Advantage: Making Peace With the Noise in Your Head is now available for download on Amazon. Click here to grab your copy today — while it’s still free. And tell your friends.

Book cover The Inner Critic Advantage

Now on Amazon

 January 20, 2016  Posted by  Happiness, Inner Critic 8 Responses »