Beware Your Inner Monologue
Updated: Nov 23, 2018
We all have a voice inside our head and unfortunately for many of us that voice is inherently negative toward ourselves. But it doesn't have to be. That is in fact you speaking in there, which means you can CHANGE the conversation.
Recognizing the Voice
Don't worry. We may not talk about it much, but everyone has that voice in their head. You know, the one that reacts to the world around you like, "ooh, cookies," or "wow, that's a bright shirt." It's also the voice that talks to us, and sometimes (a lot of the time?) is incredibly negative. For example, "oh god, look at that muffin top," or "I'm such a failure," or "why am I so stupid?"
Unfortunately for many of us, that voice in our head is inherently negative, especially about ourselves. It's highly critical, incredibly judgmental, and sometimes downright bitchy.
Have you noticed?
But wait a second. There's something wrong with this picture. It's something I didn't recognize for a long time, and when I finally did, it made a huge difference. And that realization was: That voice is ME.
Changing the Conversation
That voice in your head is you. It has to be, it's in your own head. So here's my question for you and the question I asked myself when I suddenly realized it: Why are you being so mean?
If your best friend or loved one came up to you and started talking about themselves the way that voice in your head talks about you, what would you do? You wouldn't agree with them and say yes they're a failure and ugly and fat and a burden...would you? I don't think you would. I think you'd sit your loved one down and say, no you're not. I think you'd tell them to stop talking about themselves like that and then you'd start telling them the things you love about them, about how they're generous and smart and funny and that you love them.
Well, here's a voice in your head that's tearing you down for no good reason. So, what are you going to do about it?
The FIRST thing you need to do is recognize that voice is in there and that it's being negative.
The SECOND thing you need to do, once you realize that, is to change the conversation. If that voice is doing nothing but tearing you down and making you feel miserable, then tell it to stop. It's you, after all, and even though you don't feel like you have control over it, you CAN.
Replace It With Positives
So you're sitting there and you suddenly realize your inner monologue is being negative. That was step one, so congratulations because it's not always easy to recognize it in the moment.
Now, in order to change the conversation you need to force that voice to start complimenting you and reinforcing all of your positive aspects. This can be extremely difficult when you're in the midst of an emotional crisis and suffering from severe depression, because your depression is fighting anything that will weaken it.
Sometimes, even just reading the positive phrases can help, so go ahead and slowly read what's written below and try to mean it. It's a voice in your head, you have control over it, and you can help make it positive. Here's some of what I say to help myself change the conversation in my own mind. Read them slowly:
I am attractive.
I am loved.
I am important.
I am talented.
I am hard-working.
I am strong.
I am capable.
I am funny.
I am a good person.
I am intelligent.
I am authentic.
I am loving.
I have (fill in with something you've accomplished)
I have also (fill in with another accomplishment)
I have people who love me.
I am lucky to be alive.
I am proud of who I am.
I am WORTHY.
Your body listens to you more than you think, so if you fill it with negative thoughts, it's going to feel negative. If you constantly think of yourself as weak or ugly, your body is going to start to respond and wear itself down.
But if you fill it with good thoughts, if you compliment yourself and your person, your body will feel that too. You'll feel lighter, calmer, and happier. You'll actually help yourself get physically healthier just by forcing in those positive thoughts.
If you struggle with a negative monologue, like I do, it might help for you to do this every morning when you wake up. If it's hard to do, write down a list like that above and make yourself read it every day. And do it slowly, with purpose.
I. AM. STRONG.
I. AM. TALENTED.
I. AM. WORTHY.
Trust me. You can change the conversation, it'll just take practice. The more you force yourself to think these positive thoughts, the more natural they'll become, and the less those negative thoughts will sneak in.