Is Your Critical Inner Voice Causing You Distress?

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By Phil Rosenbaum

       Do you ever catch yourself saying negative things to yourself? Have you ever considered taking a reasonable risk and thinking it’s not going to work? For example, you might contemplate asking for a raise at work and think, “I’ll never get that raise.” Or perhaps you want to ask a person out, but you discard the idea because you’re convinced they won’t be interested. Or maybe it’s starting a business or writing a book and thinking it’s never going to happen. Or perhaps something as familiar as “I’ll never be able to quit smoking or lose weight.” 

       We all have a critical inner voice. The question is, does it control you, or do you control it? Sometimes the critical inner voice says things like, “you’re not smart enough,” “you’re not good-looking enough,” or “you’re not good enough.” Thoughts like this can be devastating. This critical inner voice decreases your self-esteem, makes you feel guilty and ashamed, and limits your ability to have a fulfilling life.

       Sometimes you are aware of these thoughts, and other times they’re at a subconscious level. These thoughts, which usually begin in your childhood, will still be with you as an adult. Do you tend to berate yourself when you make a mistake? Do you yell at yourself when you make a mistake in a sport? If so, does it improve your game? More than likely, it does not. This negativity is your critical inner voice at work. 

       Many of these messages come from your parents, teachers, siblings, caregivers, classmates, or even “friends.” In a study conducted several years ago where the researchers followed parents and children around in different stores and recorded the remarks the parents said to their children. The vast majority of the statements were negative or critical. Well, under half were positive. Is it any wonder so many people have a lot of negative beliefs about themselves? How can you possibly have a fulfilling life when continually telling yourself these negative messages? As mentioned earlier, all of these negative beliefs are going to reduce your self-esteem.

       Jack Canfield, Harvard psychologist and author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books, discusses his “poker chip” theory regarding self-esteem. He believes self-esteem can be likened to having poker chips. If you have high self-esteem, it’s like having a lot of poker chips; low self-esteem is like having only a few poker chips. The more poker chips you have, the more you are willing to take chances. Similarly, with low self-esteem, you will not take too many risks. You “can’t afford” to lose. This critical inner voice causes you to have fewer “poker chips.”

       Low self-esteem will cause you to believe you won’t be able to handle rejection or that you won’t achieve your goal. Fear of not being able to deal with failure can cause a great deal of anxiety, resulting in being unwilling to try new things or take risks that could benefit you. If you want a happy and fulfilling life, getting this critical inner voice under control is essential. 

       One way to accomplish this is with the use of hypnotherapy. A certified hypnotherapist can help you find where these critical negative messages are coming from and then help you eliminate them and replace them with healthier messages. Hypnosis deals with the subconscious part of the mind and can determine how you came to accept these unhealthy beliefs. You will then realize that you no longer have to hold on to these beliefs. 

      If you want to learn more about hypnotherapy, please call Phillip Rosenbaum at 248-688-6469. My office is in Royal Oak, Michigan.

      Don’t let this critical inner voice stop you from having a happy and fulfilling life. 

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