It doesn’t matter how successful we become. There are times when we all doubt ourselves.
A big presentation. An important meeting. A new challenge.
The negative inner voice relishes the chance to have its say.
For many of us, that negative inner voice is a regular companion. It never help us. It instead gives us criticism and undermines our confidence.
Imagine how much more content and effective we would be without those voices sniping at us.
Here are 3 exercises to beat those inner voices, so we can live life from a place of happiness and confidence.
Turn Them Down
Think back to your own inner voice over these last 10 days. Does it yell at you at the same volume the whole time? Or does it ebb and flow?
Check it out. Are your critical voices quieter on some occasions than others?
What did you do in those situations to successfully lower the critical voice?
Take a note of how you did it. Inspect the situation like a detective looking for clues. When you find the strategies that you used, use them even more.
You now have some great “turn down the volume” strategies.
This may seem a simple exercise, but delve deep. You’re already winning. Take a close look and find out how.
Knock Them Over
Sometimes those critical voices will seem super convincing. You try to argue back, but they seem to have an answer for everything.
But at other times, you can bat them away. You suddenly have all the debating ability of a top barrister. The voices might still be loud, but you can counter them effectively.
You expose their mean criticisms for the nonsense they are. So they scurry off with their tails between their legs.
Again, look closely. How you did that? What did you do that meant you could dismiss the voices so well?
Break it down and analyse it. What situations were you in? What was your mindset? What kind of arguments were you using? What kind of tactics did you beat them with? How did you ensure the voices couldn’t hurt you this time?
Make a note of each. Look for the patterns. You now have another set of strategies to deal with these inner voices.
Put Them On Mute
Let me tell you a secret that you may not have realised.
You have the power to silence your inner voices completely.
In those moments, you won’t have to lower the volume, and you won’t have to argue with them.
They won’t be there at all.
And it’s something you’re likely already achieving.
Think of when there is a distance between your inner voice saying something negative, and then saying something else.
For instance, it may harrass you right now. Then not criticise you again for another 30 seconds. Or 30 minutes. Or maybe for huge chunks of the day.
In the moments between harrassing you and harrassing you again, the voices are silent.
Not low volume. Not merely easily countered. Just not there.
In those moments, you have put the voices on mute.
What are you doing to achieve such a feat?
Perhaps you are in flow, lost in the moment of a task you love. Perhaps you are with friends or family. Perhaps you are sat under your favourite tree. Or listening to your favourite music.
Your strategy will be different from mine because we are both unique people.
But make sure you notice it. You are so powerful that you can mute these inner voices.
Not only that, but you do it often.
Once you identify how you do that, you can do it more. The result is that you will make those silences longer.
It is easy to think that we are victims of the negative, critical voices in our heads.
But in fact, you are powerful. You already have a ton of unique ways to fight back.
You know how to lower the volume so they are not so affecting.
You know how to out argue them so their attempts to undermine you fail.
You know how to mute the voices entirely.
You make all those victories happen. Trace your steps and find out how you managed to do it.
The keys to a happier, confident future are already in your hands. What is more, you created them.Alun Parry is Director of The Liverpool Psychotherapy Practice