Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Inner Voice

Is your inner voice more cheerleader or critic?

Mine is critic.

Critic to the point that I think it is overtly cruel. Sometimes it says things to me that if I repeated them aloud to another person, would probably get me pushed, slapped, or at a bare minimum, faced with gushing tears.

Why are we so hard on ourselves? Why, no matter how competent, capable, and mature we grow to be, do we continue to carry around those same fears & insecurities that felt crippling in junior high?

How do we change that inner monologue to reflect that which we've allowed ourselves to be blinded to?

Think you're too tall?

{sigh} I would love to have your long legs and lean physique.

Too fat?

There is someone out there who wishes they could be as skinny as you.

Too much junk in the trunk?

Bet your husband loves it - and tells you so.

Scared to quit your job and pursue your dream career because you are sure to fail?

All or nothing is not the only option. Start doing your research about your field of choice. Take a workshop, a class, strike up a conversation with someone who does what you'd like to do.

This all seems like a simple matter of perspective - and maybe it is. The inner voice does serve as rational thinker, but so very often veers into naysayer and doomsdayer. I often think I'm going to outgrow this harshest of critics, but if it hasn't happened yet, it's not looking like it ever will.

I found a little snippet online about the inner voice, and a theory on how to alter it:

"...the parts of our brain that learn from experience are far more capable than the parts that learn from talking through it. We think we need to tell ourselves things like, "keep your weight over your front, don't press so hard on the violin bow..." when we're trying to learn something new or improve our performance, when that's exactly the thing that inhibits learning and improvement.

We did learn to walk, after all. And we did it with virtually no explicit "talking" instruction. Nobody compared our first steps to the steps of an expert (i.e. a parent) and "told" us how to adjust. Nobody outside or inside our head was evaluating, judging, or correcting. Think about times when people are telling you what to do when you're trying to concentrate and you finally yell at them to stop. All we need to do is take that attitude we have to people outside our head and apply it to the chattering inside our head.....the answer is focus of attention. In tennis, for example, he has people learn to focus on the ball--the seams turning, the way it bounces, and the moment at which someone hits it. Bounce-hit. Bounce-hit. Nothing about feet, arms, rackets, weight shifts. Nothing talking to--or about--you."

Try it. I'm going to.

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