Do you have those nagging thoughts that tell you that you just cannot clear this job interview?
You will not be able sustain in a long lasting relationship!
You will blow off on the first date itself.
I am sure we’ve experienced this constant poking from this monster before we begin anything NEW. A little worry and hesitation is quite normal for one to have, thoughts passing by, wondering what will happen, will I be successful or not?
But slowly these thoughts become a big monster and build a nest in our mind. That is when we start limiting ourselves and deviate from our goal thinking-
“Probably I’m not capable of doing it”
“I don’t deserve this yet”
“I couldn’t do it in the PAST, how can I do it NOW?
Well the funny thing is, this Monster can be deceivingly sweet at times. It does not always tell you to refrain from things, but also force you to taking steps you initially didn’t want to. It can make you feel deceivingly calm.
“I am the only person to understand myself”
“Let me have one more piece of cake, I worked so hard in losing weight. I deserve this”
“I am better on my own in life”
Whether this inner voice is cruel or calming- the bottom line is it holds you back from your goal(s).
This is exactly what happened with me. And I realised that this monster was not all that natural- it was given birth by few unsuccessful experiences and further nourished by me.
Well, we all have our own dreams and goals, it is natural that at first we may not see ourselves achieving it- but that does not mean we never can or that we’re not capable of doing it.
I understood that no matter where I go- this monster will be with me. I don’t want to carry this burden for life long. This way there will be no peace but the monster controlling my choices and decisions of life.
I decided to make peace with this monster. This is how you can also take control over your critical inner voice and live peacefully.
(Try and follow these steps while reading them and think what your inner voice tells you to do)
1. Pay ATTENTION to the negative thoughts and IDENTIFY it
Notice the moment a voice comes from within you, in what areas does it specialise in. Try and replace the “I” with the “YOU”. So instead of saying- “I’m useless, I’m worthless”, say “You’re useless, You’re worthless”. This way the first step is done to separate the voice from YOU. Once you hear it in second person, you will identify where is this coming from and further you will be in a position to analyse and question it.
2. Recognizing the ORIGIN of your voice
After we have addressed these thoughts in second person, we will be able to link and associate where exactly have we heard this before.
“You’re lazy and useless” – oh my teacher used to say that.
“You’re stubborn and careless, how will you understand others?” – oh my father used to say this to me.
This way you will see that the monster is very quick in adapting our weaknesses and other’s point of views- forgetting how we perceive OURSELVES. We often come to conclusions about us according to how people have seen us in the past or in present. This way we carry the baggage forward. But hey, no more burden now because I am on my way to empty this bag of negativity inside me.
3. Talking to your MONSTER
Well now comes a point of interaction with your inner critical voice. This is quite interesting because here is where we win the battle.
When the voice tells you- “Hey, you know what, you are so stupid. Your Boss did not pay attention to your presentation in the last meeting, you better quit this job before he fires you, because it’s not your cup of tea”.
Now when you hear these thoughts- it will make you jump and shudder at the thought of it. You will start believing that your Boss doesn’t like you, and probable you cannot perform in this job properly, and further you won’t be able to do any job.
But all this is facade. Instead talk to your monster- don’t let it get to you! Try saying this to yourself-
“I worked really hard for the presentation and according to me it was well put. My co-workers were quite interested in what I was saying and they even praised me for it. I know that my Boss was busy on his phone because he was focusing on a deal which had to be fixed in another 15 minutes. And it’s alright if he couldn’t focus, I enjoyed giving the presentation. Sometimes people are not able to pay attention, never mind he will listen to me in today’s presentation”.
Now these challenges and threats are often faced by people in their work. There are other common things too which you might be able to relate to.
“You have your college farewell coming up- do you think you should wear that dress? You are so fat- you won’t be able to pull it off. Why do you want to be made fun of. Best thing is to miss your farewell then be laughed at.”
This is how the inner voice will come and get to you. That’s how tricky and powerful it is. But we gotta stay stronger and say what we ACTUALLY feel-
“I believe that farewell is a beautiful occasion where I am going to have fun with my friends. It’s no beauty contest that people are going to judge me. Anyway, I am excited and looking forward to wearing that dress, don’t take that away from me! And what’s this about being fat? I know am beautiful, and most importantly every person is different, so I am glad just being me.”
Try this, it works wonders!
4. Understanding how it affects your BEHAVIOUR
We have identified our limiting thoughts, tracked its location, and responded to it. (I am assuming you have done this by far while reading the article. If not please do that so that you are with me)
Now after having done the whole procedure it will be easy to see how these self-limiting thoughts have been affecting your actions/behaviour.
Trace back to the time when your thoughts stopped you from taking the new project in the office or even if you did take that new task, you were not able to focus on it and became less confident about you, because the monster said- you’re incapable or stupid.
You may actually think and ponder about all those thoughts and how it affected your actions- before we move on to the next step.
5. CHANGING your self-limiting behaviors
Now that we know the reason behind the times we have been quite inconfident and unsure of certain things- we can focus on the core reason- which is our own thoughts and people’s opinions about us.
If we look in the hindsight, there is one advantage that the monster has done and that is to bring our focus on the things we need to focus on. Now that you know you need to be more confident about your looks/your job/your relationships/yourself, etc; you can start your work.
We only got to do 2 main things-
1. Do not follow what the negative voice tells you to do.
2. Engage in positive behaviour- in short do the opposite of what the critical voice tells you to do.
For example- If there is this person you don’t like or you think he/she doesn’t like you, instead of avoiding them, strike a conversation with that person. See how does it make you feel. Go one step at a time.
To sum it up, what do we have to do?
- Identify the critical inner voice
- See how it is creating boundaries for us by inducing imagined limitations- which means in reality they don’t exist
- Track down the source- where have I heard this statement before- At school? At home? From my father?
- Respond to your inner voice by being empathetic. Rationalise your judgements.
- See how it has been affecting your actions and taking over you.
- Now make a change by changing your behaviour- inculcate positivity.
To be able to take over my monster I was successful because I worked on the following principles-
COMPASSION FOR MYSELF– We’re always told to be compassionate towards our environment, people, things, animals, etc. But who will teach us that we need to be empathetic and understanding for our own selves too? If there’s no love for myself, how will I even spread it around me?
Being compassionate for myself will make it easier for me stop feeding my monster and instead work towards what I want.
CHECK THE FACTS- We often miss out on the facts, and just go on assuming.
“Richa doesn’t like me because she didn’t wave at me in the corridor today.”
Did Richa ever express her feelings for you?
Could it be that Richa had a bad day today?
Could it be she didn’t notice you while you were looking at her?
Had you initiated with a smile or a wave- she might have responded?
Could it be that Richa was lost in her thoughts?
There can be so many possible reasons for one event- and we can clarify them by confronting the person.
“Is everything okay, you seemed to look lost while we passed by the corridor?”
This will stop the monster to create thoughts in your mind and help you know the FACT.
UNCONDITIONAL POSITIVE SELF REGARD– In simpler terms, we need to provide ourselves unlimited positivity, love and care. You know when you’re trying to put up a good face in front of a new friend or a relative or to impress your crush? Try being that person for yourself and see the change in your attitude, your consciousness and your life!
And let’s not forget to keep the Monster out of our lives, so that we can become a better versions of ourselves.