How To Challenge A Harsh Inner Voice
There Is no one whose voice you hear more than your own, The messages you repeat to yourself may not have started with you, but it's important to start tuning in so you can draw a separation between insecurities and reality. If a harsh thought starts with the words always or never, you can generally bet that it's an insecurity and not totally true. These feel very real because they are tied to strong emotional experiences throughout our life. That's why you may see a montage of moments in your head that now serve as "evidence" telling you this belief is true. While the best way to deal with irrational beliefs and harsh thoughts about yourself is counseling, You can start to build an awareness of what your inner voice is actually saying on your own.
You may be able to fill out the list below right here and now. However, many people can't because we're so used to the thoughts that we don't even notice them and the effect they have. If you don't know what to put in the blanks on the left, start tuning in every time you feel "bad". Ask yourself, "How exactly am I feeling?" and "What am I thinking about myself right now?" You can use as many or few of these spaces as you like. For each comment you put in the column on the left, try to come up with a nurturing replacement statement for the column on the right. Then try practicing that replacement statement every time you notice the harsh statement. For example, "I'm not a good friend" could be responded to with "I'm learning how to be a better friend" or "I'm the best friend I can be right now". You may need to take it slow. Practice one nurturing statement at a time until using it becomes more automatic, then you can move on to another. It may even be helpful to keep that nurturing response for the week on an index card in your wallet or on the screensaver of your phone.
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