Most of us have heard that voice in our head, prone to negativity and self-sabotage. It’s easy to fall victim to your own mind, as most of the time we trust ourselves. There is a difference between an inner voice and an inner critic. An inner voice would say words of affirmation, guide us on our path and always be there to reassure us. An inner critic makes us doubt ourselves, produces feelings of shame, guilt or depression.
Challenging this critic is one of the most difficult obstacles we can overcome in trying to be the best version of ourselves. Our real self VS our anti self? Which one do you want to be louder?
Our past can affect us in ways we aren’t even consciously aware of. They can shape our self perception and our attitude towards life. This can be a result of how our parents were when we were younger, the way they behaved or spoke, their beliefs and their style of showing love and affection. From a young age we absorb everything around us; positive AND negative. Our mind doesn’t differentiate between the two, it just absorbs everything equally.
It is important that we separate ourselves from the attachments we have to our beliefs that no longer serve us any purpose, especially the ones concerning ourselves, these can be most harmful. Anything we currently believe, think, say, are all shaping the actions and results we experience in the present moment.
“Be careful how you talk to yourself because you are listening.”
3 ways to recognize the voice in your head:
1. Become aware of it
We often listen to our inner voice without even realizing it. We barely question it because we have gotten so used to listening to it. Try to notice when its to is undermining and harsh. “You look so ugly/stupid.” “You’re annoying people.” “Why are you so weird?.” “You have nothing to be upset about, people are much worse off than you!”
2. Write it down
Keep a journal! One of the best ways to honour how you feel or to release negative emotions is to write them down. It is a powerful form of self expression. Try to write down exactly what you are thinking, the triggers that make you think of them and try to become aware of what you have hiding in your inner mind.
3. Challenge them
It’s very important when you write down your thoughts not to let your self-hating take over. What you want to do here is to respond to your negative thoughts you’ve written down with an accurate description of how you actually feel about yourself. Replacing the negative inner critic. E.g. “I am worthy of love and compassion.” “I deserve to be happy.”
Things you should look out for:
- If you hear the voice say things you would never say to another person
- If you feel out of control whenever you hear it
- If it is constantly repeating itself, especially when triggered in similar situations
- Arguing with yourself
- Jumping to conclusions
- Others thoughts and feelings become your own
- Habits of speech
Try to reserve some compassion for yourself!
Written by Abbey Stirling