How do you talk to yourself when you’re inside the privacy of your own mind?
Are you mean? Or are you kind?
Chances are you are probably far harsher to yourself than you are to anyone else.
Have you ever wondered why that is?
And how your life might be different if you just talked to yourself differently?
Your inner voice has a massive impact on your resilience, your behaviour and your emotional state. It’s time to learn how it got there and how to change it.
Your inner voice is formed and modelled from the external voices of your parents or carers when you were a small child. Between the ages of 0-7 your brain is like a sponge, you are in a alpha-theta brainwave state most of the time, this is similar to being in a hypnotic state, there is no judgement of what you perceive, it all just gets absorbed.
That’s right, it all gets absorbed, whether beneficial or not, everything goes in.
That means everything that goes on around you, the way your carers speak to you, and the types of things that they say, in the tone of voice they say it is all absorbed and programmed at childhood.
Also, everything else you are witness to, how your parents talk to each other, how they speak to others and how they speak to themselves.
If your inner voice is mean and fickle and punishing, I would ask you to reflect where in your life did you receive or witness that behaviour when you are a baby or small child? If you did not have someone speak harshly to you, but your parent was harsh to themselves, that is modelled too…
Usually, your inner authority, your inner voice is a reflection of the authority voices that you experienced where you were a small child. So, your inner voice, whether it be a critic or a cheerleader, is usually a direct reflection of what you learned from those authority figures that you modelled when you were little.
You probably had parents that were caring most of the time (if you are lucky) and perhaps scolded you sometimes, or were very hard on themselves. If you had parents that were stressed and yelling, then you will probably internalize that inner critic voice, and you too will be mean, judgmental, and lash out at yourself when you do something that you perceive is wrong.
That’s why we have both a critic voice and a carer, or cheerleader voice. For most people that I work with, their inner critic is turned right up loud, and their carer or cheerleader is turned down or maybe even completely off.
They are so harsh to themselves, but they would rarely be as unforgiving of anyone else as they are with themselves.
You may not realise it, but you also have an inner cheerleader, one that is caring, compassionate, that celebrates and picks you up. Somewhere in your life you had a parent or teacher that exhibited these qualities of caring for you. You might only use this internal voice to cheer on others. Remember you have permission to care for yourself as much as anyone else. Your inner child needs nourishing, and love.
Today I’d like you to reflect on your inner voice, whether there is an inner voice of criticism or an inner voice of caring and cheerleading you forward?
If you were to say… what percentage of the time are you caring to yourself? what percentage are you critical?
Just take a guess, and let your unconscious mind guide you.
Consider how your parents spoke to you, or what you witnessed of them speaking to themselves, as you can recall from when you were a small child. You won’t be able to remember all of it, but you can remember significant events and significant moments that shape your experience and your perception of your relationship. And that will give you an indication of how you perceive this.
This is why as a parent it is so crucially important that we not only talk the talk of self-love, and success, but truly embody it in our behaviour, and self-talk. If we want our kids to love themselves and be healthy. WE must love ourselves and be healthy. It is not enough to tell them to do it.
Being a parent myself, it is easy to blame yourself or beat yourself up about your parenting of your own children. I just want to give you a forgiveness pass-out to say that as a parent you do the best that you can, and sometimes you do get stressed, tired and frustrated and sometimes you might yell at your kids. And while that’s not usually the most useful behaviour to model for your children, it’s something that you don’t know until you know it. So, now that you know it, you can be more conscious of how you speak to your children and also forgive yourself for times in the past (or future) when you might lash out in frustration or exhaustion. Understanding that you as a parent are doing the best that you can and forgiving yourself and being self-compassionate is a really important behaviour to model.
And also, now as an adult, you can reprocess those events where your parents were being critical, or lashing out at you, someone else or themselves, and understand that it wasn’t about you. Even when something was directed at you, even then it wasn’t about you. It was a projection of emotion, that has more to do with the past for the person lashing out, than anything, or anyone in the event.
Enjoy this reflection, thinking about how your inner voice has been shaped by your important influences, your parents or your carers, when you were small.
You might not realise that you have the power to change your own inner voice too. Simply with intention, and consciously choosing to change it, you can.
Take some time to talk to your inner voice… Thank it for it’s service so far and ask it if it would mind being a little kinder to you. In this way you can enlist your inner voice to be your helper, instead of your drill-sergeant. Simply by talking to your inner voice, you can make a pact to work together for your best interests. the funny thing is, when you talk to your inner voice, you find that it actually does want to help you, it just got the wrong programming, and never got fixed.
If your inner critic won’t be reasoned with, you can also just imagine turning down the volume on the critic, and turning up the volume on the carer. You also have a nurturing voice. Bring that voice to the front of your mind and put your critic in the far back seat where you can’t hear it.
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