Our past experiences, even the things we don’t usually think about, are all alive and active in our daily life in the form of an inner voice. Although most people do not “hear” this voice in the same way they would a spoken one, in many ways it acts in a similar way, constantly repeating those original messages to us.
For people with healthy self-esteem the messages of the inner voice are positive and reassuring. For people with low self-esteem, the inner voice becomes a harsh inner critic, constantly criticizing, punishing, and belittling their accomplishments.
Do you ever find yourself berating yourself for something that you’ve done? Have you ever found yourself struggling with something that you know you should do but keep talking yourself out of? That’s your inner voice.
Your inner voice will say things like, “You can’t do this”, “There’s no way you can succeed”, and “Why bother trying, you’ll just fail”. Your inner voice is your harshest critic and the one who will lower your self-esteem the quickest. You need to change that inner voice from a negative influence to a positive one.
We all have an inner voice. You should talk back to it. Combat it. Let it know that YOU are the one in control, not it! Let’s look at some of the dialogue the inner voice will tell you and healthy ways to rebut what it is saying.
When the inner voice is unfairly harsh:
“People said they liked my presentation, but it was nowhere near as good as it should have been. I can’t believe no-one noticed all the places I messed up. I’m such an impostor.”
Counteract by being reassuring yourself:
“Wow, they really liked it! Maybe it wasn’t perfect, but I worked hard on that presentation and did a good job. I’m proud of myself. This was a great success.”
If the inner voice is unrealistically generalizing as in:
“I got an F on the test. I don’t understand anything in this class. I’m such an idiot. Who am I fooling? I shouldn’t be taking this class. I’m stupid and I don’t belong in college.”
Tell that inner voice something specific:
“I did poorly on this one test, but I’ve done O.K. on all the homework. There are some things here that I don’t understand as well as I thought I did, but I can do the material-I’ve done fine in other classes that were just as tough.”
The inner voice might also be extremely illogical.
“He is frowning. He didn’t say anything, but I know it means that he doesn’t like me!”
Tell that voice something that is purely logical.
“O.K., he’s frowning, but I don’t know why. It could have nothing to do with me. Maybe I should ask.”
Finally, the inner voice will take things to extremes.
“She turned me down for a date! I’m so embarrassed and humiliated. No one likes or cares about me. I’ll never find a girlfriend. I’ll always be alone.”
It’s time to tell that inner voice things aren’t nearly as bad as they make them out to be.
“Ouch! That hurt. Well, she doesn’t want to go out with me. That doesn’t mean no one does. I know I’m an attractive and nice person. I’ll find someone.”
In general, when that inner voice begins putting you down, counteract with a positive statement. Don’t let that voice overtake you and talk you into something that just isn’t true. You are in control – not the inner critic. Take charge and begin the journey toward more positive thinking!
One way to do this is through positive affirmations. This isn’t new-age anything, it’s simply a way for you to infuse positive self-talk into your life and calm that negative inner voice.
Utilizing positive affirmations can be a very powerful tool for transforming what a person thinks about himself and as a result improve the individual’s self-esteem. Consistent use of positive affirmations will transform the negative beliefs about who a person thinks he is into positive ones, will begin to alter the basis and structure of his self talk or inner voice and produce a transformation from poor self-esteem to positive self-esteem.
While utilized in a various ways, working with positive affirmations will be more effective when delivered through or combined with therapeutic relaxation music. What therapeutic relaxation music does to enhance the effect of positive affirmations is to create a very relaxed audio environment for the individual to become even more open or suggestive to the language of positive affirmations.
When you use music while telling yourself positive affirmations, you will be more relaxed and more open to accepting the positive comments you are telling yourself.
We found a wonderful music CD at Wal-Mart that helps to calm the soul and transform negative thoughts into positive thoughts. These music CD’s are available everywhere, however. Just look for something that has calming music along with some soothing background noise like waves crashing on a shore or water that is flowing.
The key to the effective use of positive affirmation in this or any other type of intervention is consistency. The self-image and the negative thoughts about who a person thinks he is that generates his experience of poor or negative self-esteem is well established in the his belief system. In many cases the development of a negative self-image took years to create and has been reinforced through repetitive behavioral validation.
Because positive self-affirmations are key in developing healthy self-esteem, let’s look at these a bit more closely.