In a previous blog post, we looked at what Relationship Anxiety is.
Overcoming relationship anxiety, and making the most out of the connections you make with other people, often begins by repairing the relationship you have with yourself.
Do you have a critical inner voice?
You know that voice in your head that tells you you're just not good enough, or that you can't accomplish something you desperately want to achieve?
It's a pain in the ass, isn't it?
Most of us are all too familiar with those nagging thoughts and feelings that shove their way to the surface every time we try to accomplish something new, or invest in a new experience. More often than not, it's your critical inner voice that tells you that you don't deserve a new love, an exciting sexual escapade, or a relationship that has the potential to turn your life around. However, that voice is a liar.
While it's common enough to tell yourself that you're going to blow it on your first big date, or that your new lingerie is going to make you look stupid, the important thing to remember is that you can't let those little thoughts rule your action. You control your mind, and it's up to you to challenge the inner voice inside you that tells you that you're not the sexual, loveable creature you are.
So, how do you silence that pesky voice?
Step 1: Listen to Yourself
If you really want to get to the bottom of your self-criticism, and come out on top, then you can't just hide from the negative comments your inner voice might be making. Although this is obviously very tempting, it's tough to stop thoughts from cropping up constantly if you don't know where they come from or what they mean.
You'll need to begin by identifying where you're the most critical to yourself, and listening carefully to what your criticisms are. As you begin to evaluate how you attack yourself, and where you place yourself under the most pressure, you can also start to challenge the thoughts that you have. For instance, if you're telling yourself that you're going to do badly on a first date because you don't feel confident enough, you can think about reading blogs online that will give you dating advice, or working on your self-esteem one step at a time.
Step 2: Identify Your Voices
Once you've started to think more carefully about your critical inner voice, you'll be able to start seeing the source of your most damaging thoughts. For instance, do your worst criticisms come at night when you're feeling tired and overwhelmed, or are they most common just after you've spoken to a friend or family member who isn't particularly supportive of your goals?
A lot of the time, the voices in your head don't belong entirely to you, but to the people in your life that have had an impact on the way you behave or feel. Figure out where your voices are coming from, and ask yourself whether they deserve a place in your life.
Step 3: Respond to the Voices
Okay, so maybe you shouldn't respond to the voices in your head out loud - at least not in public - but you should fight back against the attacks that are going on in your mind. If you're telling yourself that you're not sexy, or attractive, or you don't deserve love, then question why you feel that way, and try to respond with answers that outline your value. For instance, if your main concern is that you're not sexy, try responding to your inner voice by saying "I'm an incredibly seductive women, with amazing eyes, and great legs." On the other hand, if you're a guy who feels like he doesn't deserve the love of someone else, tell yourself "I'm a wonderful, loveable, and cherished person. I should have love."
The more you can challenge the thoughts that make you feel sad, unattractive, or worthless, the more you can begin to alter your thought processes and change the way you feel about yourself. Don't sit in silence while your inner voice critiques you. Say something!
Step 4: Know How Your Inner Voice Changes Your Behavior
After you've learned more about what your inner voice is saying, and you've started to talk back, then you'll need to look for signs that your self-deprecating thoughts are changing your behavior. For instance, if you're so convinced that you're going to mess up on your first date that you're actually avoiding dating - then that's a serious problem.
You need to make sure that no matter what, the little voices in your head aren't stopping you from living your life. Sometimes, nerves and anxiety protect us, by telling us to stay away from dangerous situations. However, if you're changing your behavior because of unfounded beliefs about yourself, and your worth, then you're missing out on all the beauty and passion of life. That critical inner voice isn't there to protect you, it's there to hold you back and stop you from getting what you want.
Step 5: Take Control
Once you've identified the areas where you're limiting yourself, you can begin to make positive changes in your life. You can actively fight back against negative behaviors that are disrupting your life and stopping you from getting what you want, while looking for new ways to welcome positive things into your world. For instance, if you're shy and nervous about meeting new people, you can focus on stopping your avoidance of social interactions, and start to make a point of getting into new conversations with new people.
Ultimately, identifying and overcoming your critical inner voice can be a challenging experience. Any change causes anxiety, and getting rid of that voice that tells you that you aren't good enough is just as big of a change as any. The thing to remember is that challenging your inner voice can help you to retake control of your life, and get the relationship experiences you deserve. All you need to do is make sure that you're responding to those voices in a positive way.
How do you hush your inner voice?
Share your ideas with us in the comments below, or let us know how the tips above have helped you put those pesky thoughts to rest.
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