What Seeds Are You Planting? by Cindy Stradling CSL, CPC
While you may not be consciously listening to your little inner voice, there is an ongoing dialogue running through your mind. Think of this as your life’s narrator. However, this narrator doesn’t just report on what you are doing; it also offers commentary.
Depending on your past, your focus on developing your inner presence, and your ability to tap into your emotions, thoughts, and beliefs, this inner voice may be providing positive, motivating, and uplifting commentary, or it may be critical, self-defeating, and negative.
The type of inner monologue listened to day in and day out has an impact on your self-esteem. It creates a mental image of how we see ourselves, our capacity to change, and our capability to do great things. People with high self-esteem and positive inner voices make different choices than people who have negative inner voices. Negative messages will impact your ability to do the things you want and to meet and exceed your personal goals and expectations.
Listen to Your Voice
The first step in determining if you are planting positive or negative seeds in your mind is to really listen for your inner voice. When something good happens, do you hear the words “you worked hard and deserve this,” or do you hear something negative such as “you know you don’t deserve this.”
Listen carefully to the thoughts that are voiced when you look in the mirror, meet someone new, or try something different. Are those thoughts positive and encouraging, or are they limiting and negative?
Support Your Inner Cheerleader
Turning negative thoughts around and reprogramming your inner commentator is a simple way to create positive energy, motivation, and support for anything you try to do.
Tap into your inner monologue and listen for words like “can’t, won’t, shouldn’t, don’t, no or not.” When you hear these negative statements, make the conscious effort to say:
- I can do this
- I believe in my abilities/talents/skills
- I have this handled
- I trust myself
It is also helpful to mentally replay a time when you succeeded, excelled, or surprised yourself with a positive outcome that exceeded your expectations.
Look for Contradictions in Thinking
A key component for the negative inner dialogue is distortions or contradictions in thoughts. For example, the inner dialogue may see everything as bad, while there may be positives in the situation. The inner thought process tends to think in all-or-none types of patterns, which is inconsistent with the possibilities.
It is also common for the inner voice to exaggerate or catastrophize situations. Turning this around and looking at the reality of the situation and bringing it back into focus helps to set a positive tone of the potential for the future.