Can you conquer the voice inside your head?

It has been really noisy in my head lately as I have been digging into my fears, along with working on expanding the services within my “business”.

Have you noticed when your Inner Critic gets more vocal?  Perhaps you give her a name – mine is Nellie for her general negative associations.

This is the voice that tends to judge and criticise your thoughts, feelings, and actions. It’s often the voice that tells you that you’re not good enough, that you’re not smart enough, that you’re not capable enough, that you’re not deserving of success/happiness, that you’ll never be able to pull off that new haircut or fashion trend. It’s the voice that always has something negative to say, no matter what you do. She can be harsh and relentless, and her negative messages can be damaging to your self-esteem and confidence.

Your inner critic often plays into your fears by amplifying your doubts and insecurities. When you face a new challenge or an uncertain situation, your inner critic may immediately start to get noisy with negative self-talk, which can make you feel anxious, stressed, or overwhelmed. For example, if you’re considering starting a new business, your inner critic might tell you that you don’t have what it takes to be successful, that you’ll fail, or that you’ll embarrass yourself in front of others. If you’re anything like me, you’ll notice it when you’re in the shower, trying to fall asleep or pretty much any time you sit at the computer wanting to put your thoughts out into the world.

In some cases, our inner critic may also be a reflection of past experiences or messages we have received from others, such as parents, teachers, or peers. These messages may have become internalised and shape our beliefs and behaviours, leading to negative self-talk and self-doubt.

Like fear, your inner critic is a natural part of the human experience.  

We need to invite Nellie to the dinner table.  She can be a powerful teacher and guide if we learn to listen to her with curiosity and compassion rather than trying to gag or ban her. By digging into the underlying fears and beliefs driving our negative thoughts, we can begin to challenge and reframe them. Then, the work starts to cultivate a more positive and empowering inner voice. This can help us move beyond our fears and limitations.

How could we reframe our “Nellie talk”?

  • Firstly, there’s cognitive reframing. Basically, this means taking a negative thought and turning it into a positive one. So, instead of beating yourself up for making a mistake, try reframing it as a learning opportunity – I know better so now I can do better. “I stuffed up, but now I have a good idea what to do differently next time.” 
  • Another strategy is self-compassion. This means treating yourself with the same kindness and understanding you would show a good friend. So, the next time your inner critic starts berating you, try responding with a little self-compassion. “Hey, it’s okay. We all make mistakes sometimes, no one is perfect. Let’s focus on how we can do better next time.”
  • And finally, there’s the growth mindset. This means focusing on progress, rather than perfection. So, instead of trying to be flawless in everything you do, try setting small goals for yourself and celebrating each little victory along the way. Remember, it’s not about being perfect – it’s about growing and learning and becoming the best version of yourself.

Overcoming your inner critic and learning to manage your negative self-talk is an important step in building resilience and developing great confidence and self-assurance. Trust me, I know it’s not always easy to do!! But with a little practice and a lot of patience, we can all start to build a more positive and compassionate inner voice.

I’m working on renaming Nellie!  Do you have a name for the voice in your head and after reading this, is it a positive and reaffirming name?!