Do you hear voices inside your head? If so, you’re not alone! In fact, almost everyone does. Not necessarily the kind of voices that are audible, but most people have a dialogue inside their heads.
Call it a gremlin. Call it an internal monologue. Call it the remaining influence of an overbearing mother-figure. Whatever you want to call it, it’s your inner voice.
Your inner voice has the power to be helpful and useful. It doesn’t have to fill you with fear, stress, or hesitation. It can guide you in decisions. It can encourage you to go to that job interview. Your inner voice can even remind you to enjoy life, even when you’re wanting to eat healthier but really want to choose the greasy French fries instead of the salad… “just this one time.” After all, life is too short to suck… right?
When the inner dialogue says you aren’t enough, not worthy, or lack value, the self-criticism can become an irritant that could steal your joy. The inner critic isn’t a bad thing. It serves as a protection mechanism to keep you from experiencing embarrassment, failure, rejection, or any failure from the past. It is created to keep you safe and within your comfort zone. Which can be a good thing… unless you hunger for something else. (No, we aren’t talking about French fries now.)
Usually, the inner voice is designed to be helpful and keeps you energized, solution-focused, and motivated. In some instances, it can become your worst critic with an influence so loud and pervasive that it drowns out everything else. Your inner critic can hold power that oppresses you and keeps you from accomplishing your goals. The messages of the inner critic are usually connected with past experiences, which don’t take into consideration all the strengths and gifts you have today.
Take a look at some ways to press the mute button on your inner critic and start moving in the direction of growth:
Retrain Your Inner Voice.
You will never follow your own inner voice until you clear up the doubts in your mind. – Roy T. Bennett
Instead of trying to silence your inner critic’s voice completely, retrain that voice to speak in a different way. That annoying critic can turn into a vital helper if you simply change the message. Many of these pre-recorded messages come from childhood, and you’ve been believing them ever since. Now, as an adult, you have the power to choose to correct those shaming messages.
This may be a slow process, so be patient. You’ve lived with your inner voice for a long time now, so be kind to yourself while you retrain your inner voice.
Forget About Comparisons.
My goal is not to be better than anybody else, but to be better than I used to be. – Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
The only person you should be comparing yourself with is you! Looking at who you were before and who you are now can be an encouraging and motivating comparison. But comparing yourself to others often leads to disappointment and even jealousy.
If you compare yourself to the ‘old you’ and can see even the smallest amount of growth, then you’re moving in the right direction. When you look at others, try to appreciate (and even be happy for!) those who are doing well. But don’t compare yourself with them or you’ll be heading down the wrong path.
Believe the Positive Truth.
Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results. –Willie Nelson
Your inner critic has been seeking to highlight unfavorable beliefs about yourself for years. The best way to battle against this is to overshadow them with positive and beneficial truths. Remind yourself of the good things that inherently exist within you.
Don’t worry. This is nothing like releasing your inner cheerleader! Repeating puffed-up chants of how great you are will simply leave you feeling deflated afterwards.
The “inner you” is smart (and possibly a bit cynical) so be sure to discern truthful, factual statements about yourself. Dig deep into the good things that are true about you specifically and bring those things to the surface. Make a list if that helps. Now, when your inner critic starts fighting, you are armed for a counter-attack. Eventually, you’ll win out!
As you retrain your inner voice to become your greatest advocate, stop comparing yourself to others, and “speak life” over yourself, others, and situations. Words have power. Stop the spiraling message and reset your focus. As the negative voice diminishes, the positive and encouraging voice will become louder and more prevalent, leading you down the path toward meeting your goals and living a more fulfilled life.
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