Inner Dialogue by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

As humans, one of the most defeating habits we can possess is our negative inner dialogue. Most of us unconsciously talk negatively to ourselves constantly. By becoming more aware when you are engaging negative self-talk can help you to learn to let these thoughts simply pass. This will help improve your self-confidence, which, in turn will lead you to take risks and make needed changes to your habits. Learning to ignore your negative self-talk may be just what you need to do to keep you on track towards achieving your goals. Often, it just requires listening to that negative voice in your head so that you can objectively analyze what it is saying to you. To help better manage the negative self-talk, here are three questions to start asking yourself:

1. Is it true? Your negative self may be telling you things like, “You can’t do that”, or “You’re not smart enough to do that job”. Take the time to ask yourself whether those statements are really true. When you think, for example, about all the goals you have already achieved, you’ll be able to quiet the self-talk that might keep you stuck and not moving forward.

2. Is it too harsh? More often than not we judge ourselves much more critically than we judge others. If your negative voice is pointing a true flaw, it is ok to acknowledge that this is as an area for improvement. Take the time to consider if you would judge others as harshly. For example, if you have difficult time meeting people, you may shy away from attending networking events that could bring in more business to your company, because your negative voice is saying you’re not good at it. But, if you had an employee with the same issue, rather than discouraging them from attending networking events, you would probably encourage them to keep trying, saying “practice makes perfect”. Always give yourself the same positive coaching on your growth areas that you would give others.

3. What am I afraid of? Frequently our inner voice speaks to us out of fear. This is often unconscious and our actions don’t immediately reveal the reason we are not taking action is because you are really afraid. When you can pinpoint exactly what you’re afraid of, it will be easier to overcome the fear and move through it. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of thinking about the worst case scenario outcome, and then thinking about how you would handle that outcome. Often, when you think it through, you realize that the worst case scenario is not so bad, and you could deal with it. This can give you the confidence to face your fears and develop the resilience to keep moving forward no matter what your inner voice says.

Managing the negative inner voice in your head takes practice. Often, we take its word for granted as truth without even considering whether or not it has merit. Once you slow down and consider the truth behind the negative talk, you can begin to recognize when there is truth to what you are telling yourself and when it is something you should ignore.