Inner dialogue is different for everyone. Some people are barely conscious that it exists, where as some might hear it running in their mind nonstop. More likely than not though, we tend to hear our negative inner dialogue shouting out loud and clear, while our positive inner dialogue barely speaks above a whisper.
Why is that?
Our inner dialogue begins as soon as we begin to be conscious of our own thoughts. Once we are conscious of our own thoughts, we then begin to engage in conversation with ourselves. Influences to our inner voice come from our environment (people, places, surroundings) and our past experiences. Depending on these influences, we can start an inner dialogue that excites us and gets us ready to go or we can start an inner dialogue that stops us dead in our tracks and questioning our self worth. This tone that our inner voice takes on can be from emotions that we are feeling at a particular time or simply us mimicking someone else’s words that we have heard.
Am I just feeling an emotion? How am I feeling about myself right now? Is it my emotion to feel? Often times we are reacting to someone else’s feelings, mood, or their own reaction to something or someone. Perhaps the situation is not even yours to worry about and letting it go will not only lift an enormous weight from your shoulders, but it will also allow you to be more receptive to checking in with yourself the next time something like this happens in the future.
Where did I hear this statement? Is the statement true? The reality is that we some times repeat things that others have said and believe them to be true without checking the facts. Could a statement be true? Sure! But what if it’s not? When we don’t take the time to reason out if something is true or not, it often times gives a statement way more power than it deserves.
What was the person’s motivation? Do I trust this person? Sometimes a statement or phrase is said with motivation behind it. If they are words of encouragement and inspiration, then this could be a great motivator! If they are words that are hoping to belittle, shame, or cut you down, the effects can be devastating. Checking where a person’s motivation is coming from is a great way to assess if these are words should be given value or if these are words are better to be forgotten.
What would I say to a friend or a loved one in this situation? Although it’s challenging to do, sometimes removing the emotion from an inner dialogue is a way to get straight to point. By removing the emotion, you are able to look at the phrases/sentences objectively. By reframing it as if you’re going to give someone else the advice, you are able to be practical about what is happening.
Is there anything that I can do so that I feel better about the situation? If all of the other prompting questions above are still not helping you to break the inner dialogue cycle, try creating a list of things that will make you feel better no matter what. You can put on there places you like to imagine visiting, people that you can call, songs that turn your mood around, podcasts that are sure to distract and inspire you, or videos that make you laugh. There is no right or wrong things to put on this list! But, keep it close by so that you can access it whenever you need to. You can even put it in the Notes section of your phone so that it’s always right by you.
What if I need a little more help?
Getting us back into a positive frame of mind can some times be done through power statements. Power statements are phrases or sentences that we say to help us to reset our mood, focus, intention, or perspective. They can be said in response to an inner thought, a situation that we are in, or a mood/emotion that we are feeling. By saying our power statements repeatedly to ourselves we take our power back. They allow us to harness our strength, engage our will, and turn any negative space into a positive space.
Now, these statements can vary depending on what kind of power that you are looking to take back. You could say the power statement “I am strong.” if you need to reclaim some strength and remind yourself of how far you’ve come. You could say the power statement “This is not mine to hold on to.” if you need help letting something go. You could say the power statement “I will get through this.” if you’re trying to get through a particularly rough time.
The idea is that you are saying a statement that you need, exactly when you need it. Repeat the power statement with a confident and full voice 5 times to set it within your body. Then, repeat as you need to for the remainder of that day or until you have overcome the negative inner dialogue and have converted it into a positive inner dialogue.
No one is free from inner dialogues, but some are just more attuned to how to defuse and change it better than others. The skills that you are looking for are within reach. You are worth taking the time to work on your inner dialogue. You always have been. You always will be.