Let’s face it, we all listen to self-sabotaging dialogue inside of our heads. You know, those voices that say you're unworthy, unlovable, or undeserving. Voices that whisper lies to keep you playing small can only wield their power over you if you give them permission.
Where do these self-limiting voices originate? Originally, they were designed to protect humans from imminent danger. The need for these voices to warn us of potential threats has diminished over time. As children, we rely on those voices to help us navigate our environment before we develop language to communicate.
As we grow, we become accustomed to having those voices around. We use those voices to help us make judgments about our world and how we interact with it. The problem with those voices is, that in many cases, they breed lies and cause us to play small, and prohibit us from taking risks.
These internal voices can prevent us from reaching our full potential. Everyone has at least one saboteur that influences their beliefs and values. The saboteurs live in the part of our brain that focuses on survival. They want us to believe they have our best interest in mind, but we must be diligent in discerning the truth.
Let’s take a look at the ten different types of self-limiting conversations that roll around in our heads.
The saboteur we all have in common is constantly making judgments against us and others. It is the voice that continually finds fault within ourselves. You might call it "tough love." The voice it uses can seem harsh and unforgiving. Because it speaks with such authority, we believe its messages to be true. It generates negative emotions like anxiety, stress, anger, disappointment, shame, and guilt. It plays a damaging role in our lives if we buy into its lies.
The perfectionistic voice creates a need in us to create order in all aspects of our lives. It can cause you to be anxious and high-strung. It can leave you and those around you feeling drained of energy. It persuades you to live in a high level of frustration trying to maintain a constant state of perfection.
The people-pleasing voice keeps you in a constant state of flattering, rescuing, and pleasing others. You are so concerned with the needs of others, you forget to focus on your own needs causing you to become resentful. You believe you are "doing good" by serving others, but your ulterior motive is to secretly gain acceptance through your actions.
The over-achieving voice keeps you locked in a routine of performing to gain acceptance, love, self-respect, or validation. It keeps you focused on external success rather than internal criteria for happiness. Workaholic tendencies are rooted in the voice that drives you to constantly perform. Because your focus is on performance, relationships suffer and often stay on a superficial level.
The "victim" voice can drain your energy and drive others away from you because they feel like you can never be happy. This voice over-exaggerates negative and painful emotions causing others to be frustrated or emotionally drained when they are around you.
The highly analytical voice keeps you in a constant state of analyzing everything and everyone who is in a relationship with you. This voice causes you to be impatient with others and make them feel unworthy of your time. You can be perceived as being cold, distant, or arrogant. You might even intimidate less analytical minds around you.
The paranoid voice has you on the lookout for the dangers that surround you. It can cause you to be filled with intense anxiety about the possibilities of what could go wrong. It wants you to believe that the potential dangers you sense are much bigger than they are. It can be a huge drain on your energy.
The fickle voice tries to keep you distracted by keeping you busy. You burn up lots of energy always being on the go. People have a difficult time keeping up with you on your quest to be in the middle of the action. It wants you to believe you’ll miss out on the important things in life if you’re not in constant motion.
The controlling voice wants you to believe that you’re either in total control or you have no power in the situation. It may cause others to resent you because you limit their ability to develop their own skills and capabilities. This hinders relationships because people can never give you their best.
The voice that causes you to procrastinate and avoid any type of confrontation or conflict wants you to believe you are doing good by keeping the peace. It can damage relationships because issues are never dealt with causing emotions to come out in unhealthy ways.
So, what can you do to silence these self-limited voices?
Tip #1 - Name them
When you feel the consequences of one of these voices, call it out. Recognize that it doesn’t have your best interest at heart. Acknowledge the lies it wants you to buy into and make a choice to listen to your inner wisdom. Rather than accept the power in the “I can’t…” message, reword it to say, “My evil twin says I can’t…” This shifts the power from you believing the damaging self-talk to making it a third-person statement.
Tip #2 - Get into your body
You experience the world through your five senses. When you are feeling attacked by a barrage of negative messaging, if you get centered in your bodies, you can discern what the truth is over a lie. You can filter the messaging through the eyes of what can be seen, touched, and experienced outside of your mind. Bringing your focus out of your head and into your body can bring a fresh perspective and zap the power of those limiting beliefs. Try using different breathing techniques to shift the energy and shed the fixed mindset that is keeping you stuck.
"Our biggest enemy is our own self-doubt. We really can achieve extraordinary things in our lives. But we sabotage our greatness because of our fear."
— Robin Sharmad
Tip #3 - Tune in to your inner wisdom
Your inner wisdom is fueled by five superpowers. Your wisdom gives you the ability to embrace a growth mindset by exploring possibilities with a curious and open mind. It allows you to empathize with yourself and others to bring compassion and deeper levels of understanding to any given set of circumstances. It allows you to be innovative and create out-of-the-box solutions and solve even the most challenging problems. It helps you navigate a path that will keep you in alignment with your core values and stay on target for living out your mission. It silences the sabotaging voices and eliminates the interference they create so you can take decisive action free from stress.
Consistency is the key to success!
These techniques are useful, but like anything new, you have to be consistent. You have been living with these programming messages for a long time. They won’t go away overnight. The key is to keep your awareness on alert so you can catch the negative self-talk and make an instant correction. The more consistent you are, the less power these voices will have over you. Over time, they will become weakened and even silenced.
Don’t buy into the lie that you’ll be happy at some point in the future. You deserve to be happy now, tomorrow, and the day after that. Embrace your power to choose your internal conversations. You are empowered to choose your mindset and emotions. Create a daily routine to help set you up for success. Taking intentional consistent actions will help you build a wildly happy life!