Who Lives Inside Your Head?

Children are taught to be afraid. It starts with “you’ll fall if you climb that tree!” and proceeds to “You’ll never make a living being an artist!”.  Negativity and self doubt is absorbed and becomes self talk.

Doug and I started paying attention to our thoughts in certain situations. We wondered why we never seemed to start new things, or to think in different ways about our potential in life. Any time we began to think outside the everyday (for us) pattern, there seemed to be a wall that sprang up, blocking us. It was easier to give up than to think our way through the blockage.

These walls were the “wisdom” we acquired as children. Worse, once we learned the negative self talk habit, we created our own walls. We create our own chains, or so goes the old saying ( I think)…

This self talk acts as a governor in life. It keeps us from being, well, it keeps us from being anything but what we are. We can dream about how we want to be different, but until we conquer the interior negativity, nothing will change for us.

We started thinking about what we wanted our life to be like. When the uneasy feelings popped up, like they do every time we thought about change, we looked closely at them. Much of the self talk sounded like our parents. Some of it came from old teachers (I’m looking at you, Mr.Christie!). We’re taught to follow the rules, to be safe, to be like everyone else. We’re not children anymore though, so Doug and I decided to get rid of this dusty old baggage and just do what we want to do. Monkeys don’t care what third grade teachers think about monkey business….

Negative self talk is really just put downs we repeat over and over… Some we learned and some we created ourselves. We drew a picture of our inner critic, and thought about all the lies he’s told us. We listed these lies below…

 

The jealous, mean spirited inner critic.

The jealous, mean spirited inner critic.

  • You will never do anything!
  • You’re sick again?
  • You’re selfish.
  • You’re lazy.
  • You never finish anything!
  • You never put stuff away.
  • You don’t care.
  • You’re not good enough at art.
  • You’re not a real carpenter.
  • You’ll get hurt!
  • You waste time.
  • You’ll fail.
  • You’re not as smart as you think you are!
  • You’re a failure.
  • You’re mean.
  • You’re too skinny.
  • You don’t give enough.

Notice how there are a lot of absolutes… Never…Always. No one is always anything! Some of the self talk is almost funny. I haven’t been too skinny in decades, but I once was. It made me feel puny every time I was told that, and my self talk keeps on trying to make me feel puny.

Doug and I noticed that all the stuff we were telling ourselves isn’t even true, and most of it was NEVER true. We now have a face for our enemy, and can counter his talk. Any time we feel inadequate or tell ourselves “we can’t”, we will remember this list, and know that it’s all lies…

Exercise

Imagine what your inner critic looks like. What does it say to you? Who does it sound like? Is anything it says true?

Make a list of all your negative self talk. Think about yourself living the life you dream of. When “reality” tries to bring you back down, what is it saying?  Why should things that were drilled into you as a child still direct you in life? Write down all of the bad things you tell yourself about yourself…

Pretty sad, right? Now you know what your mind is telling you and you didn’t even realize it. Confront your inner critic. Realize that it’s a liar. Then, you can move on without all the baggage that holds everyone back.

Write this sucker a letter next!

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5 comments

  1. Don’t write down negative stuff about yourself. That puts it into your subconscious and makes it more difficult to get rid of. If you have low self esteem because of what others say , you must find someone who’s worse off than you and help them. Nothing makes life’s crap go away faster than easing someone else’s suffering even only slightly. Take it from an old girl who never fit in..

    1. Thanks for reading my post. My point with this exercise is that the negative stuff is already in our subconscious, and we don’t question it. By examining it, and writing it down, the negativity comes forward and we can see it’s all untrue. Then it can be released…

      1. Hi Doug,
        Don’t write a list of negative stuff about yourself. A list is what you do to remember things. You must take real action to prove those a–holes are wrong about you. You will have trials in life. There’s an easy answer but it’s not the right answer. When you do the difficult thing because it’s right you are on the path to being who you want to be. Make the world a better place. we all have faults, writing them down doesn’t release you from them.

      2. Thanks for the input. I believe we’ll have to agree t disagree on the fundamentals of my approach with this post!

  2. […] stupid, or we won’t know what to do. Basically, the unknown is a giant bogeyman upon which ourinner critic can project our […]

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