Friday, September 30, 2011

The "Committee""

Did you ever stop and listen to the way you speak to yourself? The internal dialogue that goes on behind closed doors with you, yourself & I. It is very common to internalize the critical voice of others and begin using it with ourselves. We do it so often and unconsciously, that many times we aren't even aware it is happening. In my private practice, when I ask people about how they speak to themselves, they are shocked when they become aware of the harshness of the voice they use. We are usually very aware of how others speak to us, but totally unaware of how we speak to ourselves.

Try stopping and listening the next time you are beating yourself up or unhappy with a choice you've made or when you look in the mirror. Be curious about that voice. You might want to ask it where it came from or what it gets out of putting you down. The best time to listen is when you're being challenged or struggling with something, or when you've made a "mistake." Notice if you use the voice of the saboteur? The punisher? The critic? Or, are you gentle with yourself taking on the voice of the coach or supporter? I like to call these various voices that take hostage of our thoughts as the "committee." See if you can identify the committee in your head. Do any images come up for you? Do you need to let some committee members go? Do they no longer serve their purpose? Be aware of which committee members you'd like to keep on board and which ones need a pink slip. Many times we believe we won't be able to get things done without the harsh and critical voice to keep us on track. Most likely this will not be the case and you will find the encouraging voice just as motivating. Once you've figured out which members need to go, politely ask them to leave and thank them for their service. Some might resist, but be insistent, that they need to leave.

With your new committee that supports and encourages you in place, practice a new way of speaking to yourself that works with you instead of against you. And if you slip, or if an unwanted member returns, be patient with yourself. A new muscle is forming!