When people talk about the voices in their heads this can cause people to panic that there is something really wrong
but this is actually very normal. Everyone has a voice in their head, these help us make decisions, formulate opinions and prepare conversations. This is known as our inner dialogue or inner voice and it narrates and questions our daily activity every day. Did you know that we speak to ourselves, either in our heads or out loud, more on a daily basis, than we speak to anyone else! Now with that in mind it is worth noting the tone of your inner voice when addressing yourself. To truly be kind, we need to start with the voice and words that go on in our own mind, we need to make sure this voice is a positive one as it is the one we hear most frequently and in turn the one that controls our actions, moods and feelings.
On a daily basis you won’t even really register your inner voice or your inner dialogue, it just chatters away in the background, helping us make decisions and get through the day. I am also in no way saying your inner voice is bad, in fact I have had some of the most logic and sensible conversations with myself
sometimes I am the only one who makes any sense!
On the other hand I have also had majority of my irrational and unhelpful conversations with myself and myself alone and this is when it becomes unhelpful and unhealthy. When you get stuck in these thoughts and conversations with yourself and these are predominatley negative this can become dangerous, and for me scary, when you allow that negative voice to tangle itself around you and swallow you and your positive voice up.
When I am feeling particularly anxious or worked up my inner voice is so loud and my dialogue is completely self-sabotaging. I often explain to people that when I am feeling anxious it feels like my inner voice is screaming at me, and this bitch can be really relentless and really bloody loud. Like that person who seems to always be on a night out you are on, no matter where you go, or who you go out with, the person who you don’t know but you can hear their loud, booming voice echoing around the room? You know the type of person I mean. That’s what my inner voice is like when she is on one, I can’t get away from her and I can’t get her to shut up. I don’t know why my number one enemy seems to be myself sometimes.
Your inner voice is always louder when you aren’t feeling in a particularly good head space, and for some reason mine seems to be against me rather than with me. As if hearing any of the following statements will help make you feel better when you are already feeling pretty crappy about yourself:
“This is stupid?”
“Get over it!”
“Everyone thinks you’re an idiot!”
“There are worse things going on in the world!”
“You are worthless!”
“Get over yourself!”
Now imagine these statements being shouted constantly for hours at a time – that’s what my inner voice was like for a solid month when I was trying to navigate my way out of my breakdown. Little did I know that the reason I was going further and further down my spiral was because of me, because I had planted these thoughts in the cobweb of my own brain and then spent a month going over them, on top of this my inner voice was reiterating that these thoughts were true. When your inner voice is loud and overpoweringly negative you start to take what they are saying as fact, and not thought. I was putting myself down with my own self talk, in the process damaging my self worth and self belief almost beyond repair! The danger with negative self talk, particularly when it is repetitive and constant, is that you actually start to believe what you are telling yourself. You start to believe you are worthless, that you are no good and the scariest thing of all is often it feels as if that inner voice is never going to stop shouting those thoughts at you.
To understand the damage our own negative self talk can have on us, lets revisit these comments above. If you flip it around and your best friend was not in a good place, would you say any of the above things to them to make them “snap out of it” or feel better? I hope not, otherwise you aren’t a particularly good friend. So why do we so willing do it to ourselves?
In our friends and family we look for support, love, kindness and encouragement, and in turn this is what we give back, a friendly shoulder to lean on. So why don’t we give ourselves the same support, encouragement and kindness that we wouldn’t think twice about giving to our friends? Why do we not value ourselves enough to speak to ourselves in a kind, compassionate and caring way?
I feel like we have almost been programmed to not give ourselves credit, or love, or praise, as that would be seen as big headed or self-indulgent. We are incredibly hard on ourselves in general, even more so when we aren’t feeling quite right, and this makes whatever we are going through 100 times worse.
We have to be our number 1 advocate, we have to be our number 1 supporter, we have to have our own backs 100% of the time and the key to this is positive and kind self-talk. I believe it is time for us to love ourselves and build and focus on the most important and long lasting relationship we will ever be in, and that is the relationship we are in with ourselves.
Since my marriage ended this is something I have had to work on, a lot! When I became single my self-worth was on the floor, or lower if that is at all possible. I could no longer rely on someone to tell me how good I was, how I was worthy of love – which I hadn’t realised I had become reliant on for 12 years. My inner voice would tell me on a daily basis that this was my fault and it happened to me because I wasn’t good enough and that I was worthless. This impacted and shaped a lot of the questionable decisions I made during this time. Thankfully I was lucky enough to have the most amazing friends and family around me that reassured me every day that this wasn’t true, that I was a good person and that I was loved. I am not even sure most of them realised what they were doing or how much it helped me. Through this love I was shown I somehow managed to turn my inner voice from a completely negative one to a positive one. I am still my own worst enemy and my inner voice switches between positive and negative almost on an hourly basis, but on the whole the positive usually outweighs the negative. As always this is a work-in progress for me and something I have to consciously work on on a daily basis.
Next time you are feeling a bit down, reserved, scared, angry, anxious or depressed note the tone of your inner voice – is it calm and reassuring or is it loud, angry and irrational? I am telling you now if you can note this tone and set about changing it to a positive one then everything you are going through will become slightly easier. It won’t fix what you are going through but it will definitely help!
“If you knew how powerful your thoughts were, you would never have a negative thought again”– anonymous
A really lovely sentiment and something important to remember, but not always as simple to apply as one would think! When you are in the midst of feeling anxious or depressed someone saying the above statement to you would not instantly make you feel better. But it is really important to remember that if your thoughts are positive your outlook and attitude will become positive. I am a strong believer in what you put out into the universe you get back. If you put negativity out there you will get negativity back. If you put positivity out there you will get positivity back. I am not saying it is easy, its not, but it is something we should all become aware of.
If you are in a dark place my number one advice is firstly to tell someone, speak those thoughts out loud, once they are out in the world they don’t feel as scary. Lean on and rely on the people who love you, they love you for a reason and want to help and support you. Once you have put some support bars in place, you can then look at how you speak to yourself.
Kindness is key in making the world a better place and this has got to start at home first, start with how you address yourself. Be kind to yourself, you are doing the best you can, tell yourself this when you aren’t in a good place, tell yourself you are ok and you are doing a good job – even if that job is just to survive each day as it comes.
So I implore you to note your inner voice, and if like me you were ruled by an unkind, unsupportive bitch, then get rid of her and get yourself an new inner voice who is kind, supportive and lets you know you are doing a good job, no matter what is going on. There is enough unkindness out there don’t add more to your life with your own inner voice.
My favourite quote is “in a world where you can be anything, be kind” apply this to yourself first as you can not pour kindness from your cup if your cup is empty.