Have you ever stopped to notice what you’re ACTUALLY saying to yourself?
If, like me, I imagine you probably have a bit of a love hate relationship with your inner voice. It can be your biggest cheerleader or your biggest critic.
‘Our words create our world – if you want to change your world, change your words’.
The subject of language fascinates me and I’ll be honest, I like to think of myself as somewhat of an expert communicator – and in many ways, I am. However, add a different dynamic, an emotionally fuelled interaction and suddenly, language and communication doesn’t seem so straightforward…especially when we take into account the noisy neighbour in our head.
Now let’s think about our ‘inner voice’. That running commentary in our head that is constantly there to tell us what we’re thinking and how we’re feeling.
We all have that voice, otherwise known as ‘self-talk’ and we need it, as this is how we manage thoughts and make sense of the world around us. We know that ‘self talk’ plays an important role in self-awareness and self-understanding as well as working memory. How many of you repeat something out loud as a way of remembering it or reminding yourself of things to do? The flip side of this ‘inner voice’ though, is that for most people it becomes an ‘inner critic’ - our worst enemy or actually our ‘frenemy’ (the seemingly supportive friend who actually only says negative things to us). You know, the old friend from school maybe who is still in your life even though you’ve got nothing in common and you don’t even really like each other but you’ve been friends for so long now you just put up with criticism and negative comments because it’s less hassle than ending the relationship.
For many people our inner voice goes something like this – ‘I can’t do that, I’m not good enough. If I tell them my idea they’ll think I’m stupid, what if I fail, of course you’ll fail, don’t even bother trying, you don’t deserve that.’
How does this kind of self talk help us? What is this language doing for us? Is it serving us positively? No, it’s not.
Imagine now saying these things to your closest friend or family member….ouch! The question I ask is this – would you treat others as harshly as you treat yourself?
The truth is, that inner critic can cause us some real harm, not just emotionally but also mentally and physically too. If we continue to beat ourselves up and put ourselves down, is it any wonder we feel so rubbish a lot of the time? I will be addressing the impact it has on our physical health in my next blog so for now, ask yourself this…
What if your ‘inner voice’ was full of love, encouragement and praise? How would that change the way you view the world and yourself?