At any point in time we have an internal dialogue running in our minds, which can have tones of encouragement, championing the possibilities for us to be successful in achieving the life we want: these are the voices of our inner coach. Alternatively, the voices can have degrees of negativity and excuses, imposing self-limitations that prevent us from achieving the life we want: these are the voices of our inner critic.
Our inner voices affect our perspective, energy and mood – after all we are what we listen to. Tuning into our inner voices will help identify which voice is talking. Are we listening to tracks from ‘Side A’ projecting our inner coach, or tracks from ‘Side B’ voicing our inner critic? Crucially, listening to the tone of our inner voice is as important as the words being spoken.
By familiarising ourselves with our inner voices and figuring out their triggers, we can better understand ourselves and our habits, getting to know the ‘why’ behind the choices and decisions we make. Our inner voices are based on our beliefs, which are picked up over a lifetime and can become embedded in our minds like computer coding, influencing our actions and decisions. If we don’t pause and tune into them, they can run our life on auto-play.
“Let it go”
When you hear your inner critic, you probably try to ignore it, dismiss it or wish you could just ‘let it go’. But this is difficult to do and a quote from one of my favourite wellbeing magazine Breathe explains it beautifully by stating:
“the brain is like Velcro for negative experiences, but Teflon for positive ones’
Rick Hanson, American psychologist and author
So even if we’re using the full-throttle energy of Disney’s Elsa to belt out a determined “Let it go!” it’s unlikely to be enough to remove the Velcro effect of our inner critic. What we should be doing is getting to know our inner critic and giving them form, thereby lessening their influence.
Once you have identified your inner critic you can start to recognise them and simply by observing their emergence you will find yourself in a position to press pause on a ‘replay’ of habitual behaviour or self-limiting belief. In that pause you can then “test the limits and break through”.
Try this exercise to get to know your inner critic better, and take note of any resistance as you embark on this path of self-knowledge. It is designed to explore your relationship with your inner critic and how that relationship affects you and the way you honour your values.
Be kind to yourself, be compassionate and mindful of the language you are listening to. Start to notice, and as you do you will develop a strength to decide if that’s the voice you need or want to hear in this given moment - in this given situation.
If you no longer want to feel in the grip of your inner critic, working with a coach is a great way to loosen those negative bonds and embrace change in your habits to achieve the life you want.
Contact me and we can have an informal chat about how I can support you to tune into your mind and help you connect to your inner coach. Email or mobile 07919 051414.