My family is a family of talkers. Somebody always has something to say… even if nobody is listening. If you set up cameras in my house you would hear a lot of talking to nobody in general. My mom sits at her laptop talking to herself. My brother walks around singing or mumbling. I walk around moving my hands and making facial gestures to match the dialogue going on in my head. We’re a weird bunch of people. But talking to yourself is such an important part of healthy development, and what you say is so important. (Shout out to my ed psych class for inspiring this post.)
What does your “inside voice” sound like? I don’t mean the inside voice you’re told to have when you’re being too loud in public, but your real inside voice – the one inside you that only you can hear. What does it say? What is it’s tone like? I like to think mines mostly positive, but in reality, it’s a forced positive. I wasn’t raised in an entirely optimistic household. We were obviously encouraged and supported in all we did, but for the most part we were raised to be very independent, so I don’t think I was around a lot of verbal positive reinforcement (take a deep breath mom, this isn’t a bad thing). Because of the way I was raised, I learned to be very critical on myself because I had to be. I learned to be a perfectionist and if one thing was off, I was sent into a frenzy of negativity and left with damaged confidence. More often than not, I’m beating myself up over something that’s relatively unimportant, but to me it’s of critical importance (ah, the wonders of being an over-thinker). However, I’ve learned over the years that I’m not actually going to accomplish things if all I do is kick myself when I’ve already been hit.
I’ll be the first to point out all of the things that are wrong with me. People have said harsh things to me that maybe I did or didn’t deserve, but to be honest, they’re probably just reinforcing what I already know. Sometimes harsh words hurt the most when they’re true, simply because you haven’t learned to accept them. But no matter what, I don’t let these things or this hurt take over the voice inside my head. If my inside voice starts to sound like something I wouldn’t want someone to say to me out loud, I change it. Even if I don’t believe what I’m saying or my hearts not in it, so long as I change the dialogue or I change the direction of my thought, I know I will be better off than if I were to sit and accept whatever else I was thinking.