Jeffosophy: a collection of possibly useful things I have learned over the years.



My inner voices: supportive and critical 
Me, trying to write, and my inner voices.


I Almost Didn't Write this - Talking Back to Your Inner Voice

I almost didn't write this blog post. I had the idea. I thought it out. And then this voice inside my head, my inner critic, told me that the idea was too shallow; that it wouldn't impress anyone; that I'm wasting my time.

"Jeffrey!" I said, inside my head but quite sternly. "Don't be so critical of your ideas or you won't write anything! This blog is about sharing useful stuff you've learned. It's not meant to be Nobel peace prize winning literature. It's just meant to be useful. So, write the damn article!"


Sound Familiar?

Does the first paragraph above sound familiar to you in concept, if not in the details? Do you find that your inner critic discourages you from accomplishing things? And when you do accomplish things, is your inner critic all to quick to point out the flaws? Perhaps it even tells you that you are ugly, incompetent or stupid when in truth you are beautiful, competent and intelligent. Really, you are!

If you are bothered by an inner critic, you are not alone. Indeed, nearly everyone on the planet has an inner voice and that inner voice often acts as a critic. Some people can be overwhelmed by their inner critics. Some inner critics are incredibly nasty. One woman I know told me about some really nasty stuff her inner voice said. Inspired, I asked her, "whose voice does your inner critic have?"

She thought a moment, then answered, "my mother's." I wasn't surprised. I knew her mother had been, well, not a very good mother to her. Not by any standard.

In situations like these, where the inner critic is just too much, then you should seek psychological help. It can do wonders.


Address Your Inner Voice by Name

But, if your inner voice is mostly just a day-to-day critic, try what I did in the second paragraph. Assuming that your inner critic addresses you in the first person (in other words, "I" or "me" - as is the case with most people), respond in the second person (you), addressing yourself by your name: "Jeffrey, don't be so critical of your ideas!"

And be stern with your inner voice. It deserves a scolding for the way it's been treating you.

Try it the next time your inner voice gives you a hard time.


Learn More About Your Inner Voice

There has been a fair bit of research into the inner voice and a lot of cognitive therapy revolves around the issue. So, if you want to learn more, I recommend these two books: The Voices Within: The History and Science of How We Talk to Ourselves (2016) by Charles Fernyhough which cited a lot of research, which I like; and Chatter: The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters, and How to Harness It (2021) by Ethan Kross .

Meanwhile, talking back to my inner voice, and quite sternly, is the most useful, easy and effective tip I have come across. Give it a try when your inner critic is harsh on you.




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