Negative Self-Talk - Mold Your Inner Critic
Why do we have that inner critic in our head, that constant negative noise you know, maybe that maybe your inner critic kind of berates you and criticizes you and tells you why you can't do something shames you or tells you why you messed up and punishes you. What is the purpose of that negative voice? Well, evolutionary biologists tell us that we are hardwired to have that self-critic, that inner critic in our head we're hardwired because in caveman days we needed to stay in the tribe. We needed to be accepted by the tribe. If we were rejected, we would not have survived. The inner critic was meant to help us survive, but it doesn't do us very much good nowadays if we're using that inner critic voice to just berate us, right. And shame us. You know, I often hear this inner critic voice in my clients that have depression, anxiety, OCD, ptsd and addiction.
I hear that voice loud and clear, and it really shames them. It tells them why they're not worthy. What you know, that somehow they're inadequate, they're unlovable, they've messed up. You know, they, you know, why bother. They're not going to be able to do it anyway. You know, that critic is strong in many of my clients. And so we work to actually listen to it and then try to mold it a little bit. So this, this inner critic voice there is a therapist and writer actually he's a, a Buddhist and he, his name is Jack cornfield and he talks about really externalizing that voice, separating it from yourself. It's not really your true voice. It's, you know, just this inner critic that it might be trying to help you, but it's not going about it the right way. Anyway, Jack cornfield calls his inner voice Adolf and tells Adolf, you know, thank you for your opinion, but it's not really helping me right now. And I, I would like you to quiet down. Now I like to look at the way different therapists and different writers kind of handle this inner critic. Pat Allen has written a book called art, a way of knowing and pat Allen kind of attempts to notice that the inner critic is in some way, trying to help us. Maybe it's trying to help us from embarrassing ourself or shaming ourself. But it, it has this ability that is maybe maladaptive, and it tends to kind of isolate us and unmotivate us. But Pat Allen likes to keep conversations going with this inner critic voice. Now, Dr. Rick Hanson, I, I really like his approach. He calls the inner critic as actually a guide and he, but he says, you know what, we can have good positive guides and we can have very negative guides and, and teachers. And it reminded me of a piano teacher I had when I was little. He used to just bang his conductor's Baton on the piano when I was playing it. And I would just start shaking with fear. And I started associated the piano with high anxiety. I just thought, wow, what would've happened if I had a really encouraging wonderful teacher instead of the crazy piano teacher I had. But I'm sure there is a major difference when you've had an encouraging teacher, or an encouraging coach instead of a coach that does nothing but bash you and criticize you. You're going to respond a little bit different if you can mold your inner voice to be encouraging and nurturing. Think of it as how you would speak to a child who was trying their best to do something. Maybe the child was feeling bad at the moment. Speaking to a child, you're going to have this unconditional love and this unconditional kind of encouragement and nurturing. That’s really the kind of relationship we want to mold that inner critic into helping us nurture ourself, and help us encourage ourself. And so we have to dial down the negativity and the harshness of our own inner voice. Whatever we say to ourselves, our brain listens and our brain enacts it. You want to say something positive and encouraging to yourself. The goal here is to really get your inner critic on board with helping you, supporting you, and nurturing you. And when you notice that the voice is becoming negative, have a talk with that inner critic about how you really could use some support and some positive encouragement. I hope that you take these things in mind.
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