What is the voice inside your head telling you? Is it questioning your every thought and decision? How powerful is your inner critic? Is it pointing out all of the flaws of your idea and giving you every excuse to why things will not work out? It may even be questioning if you are worthy, Are you enough?
The voice inside our heads, our inner critic, thinks it is protecting us when it fills our thoughts with these questions. From its point of view, it is making sure we don’t get hurt or experience failure.
Instead, for a moment close your eyes. Think of something you have been wanting to try. Is it a class you want to take, painting, yoga, presenting a new idea at work, or applying for a new job? Now imagine that voice, the one that so far has been stopping you. And now instead of questioning you and pointing out all the reasons you could fail. Instead, that voice becomes your biggest cheerleader. The voice is cheering you on, providing support, letting you know that you can be successful.
Wouldn’t that be a totally different way to live? Because the voice is inside your head, instead of having an inner critic, you could have a voice that is cheering you on every moment of every day. What would you do differently today knowing you are supported, knowing you have encouragement, knowing it is ok for things to not work out the first time as you can always try again?
Unfortunately, we often limit ourselves much more than anyone else stops us.
The great news is the we create the voice in our head, and we can change it. Now I am not going to tell you it is easy. However, I know you can do it. Even small changes will drive dramatic improvements in your life.
Inner Critic to Cheerleader in 4 Steps
- Listen to what the voice is saying
Take some time to actually listen to what your voice is saying. Be careful here, I am not saying believe it. Just listen to it. Think of yourself as it’s friend, and the voice needs to be heard and acknowledged.
Journaling is a great way to get the thoughts out of your head. I find once I write about thoughts in my head, they no longer keep repeating and spinning around over and over. The act of writing them down can provide the acknowledgement your inner voice needs. And stopping them from being on constant replay.
- Identify fears
As you are listening to the thoughts in your head and journaling about them, identify the fears the thoughts are identifying you have. Naming a fear is the first step to generating the courage to push through and overcome the fear. Be cautious to how much time you spend on this activity. I don’t think it is valuable to spend lots of time to dig all through your past, and to try to identify every cause of every emotion you have. Focusing on the future and where you want to go is usually a better use of your time.
- Reprogram the narrative
Work to fill your head with positive thoughts, ones that support you, ones that take you in the direction you want to go. One way you can do this is by searching out inspiring thought leaders and listen to them. I started many years ago listening to Tony Robbins tapes as I drove to and from work. Today this is even easier as there are thousands of podcasts you can chose from, including my own Courage to Be Seen. In addition to hearing positive messages, add visual reminders to your environment. You can print out quotes and sayings that support your new way of thinking and tape them to your mirror. Change the picture on your phone screen to be a constant reminder or find an accountability partner that can provide extra support.
While these may seem to be small changes, over time, they can have a big impact.