|Sent on:||Wednesday, February 24, 2010 9:38 PM|
Are YOU Hearing Voices?
There is a voice we probably all hear at some point during every day, if not regularly throughout the day.�� It is brilliant at interfering with all our endeavours and it seeks to sabotage our contentment.�� At times it can be so subtle we are unaware of its presence, and at other times it can be so loud we just have to sit down and shut down our brain for a few moments.�� It is of course our ���inner critic���.��
��The birth, growth and development of the ���inner critic��� have been well charted.�� It arises from our subtle self-image.�� This is our childhood inheritance from parents, teachers and siblings when, in our days of innocence, we believed their perceptions and judgments of us and took them to be a true representation of who we are.�� Unfortunately for many, if not most, those perceptions and judgments were negative ones.
��The ���story��� of your subtle self-image is usually the first gift from those��� big people��� when we were small. We might have heard them say things like, ���You can���t���you���re not very good���you���ll never���you���re just not up to it���you���re a naughty little..���. And we believed!�� We took their words, absorbed their words, and started to build the story of our ���subtle self-image���. It didn���t matter if was negative or positive, neither was nor is true. No-one can know you as you truly are, only you can do that.
��The critical voice that then speaks from that self-image becomes so deeply embedded within our subconscious it���s almost like a plant that has put down such deep roots it���s impossible to pull out of the ground.
Our subtle self-image is our deepest false sense of identity.�� While we find it relatively easy to recognise other ���false identities��� such as our nationality, our profession, our position and even our belief systems, none of which are what we are, the sense of identity embedded in our subtle self-image is not easy to expose to the light of our true self-awareness.��
The only real and lasting cure, the only way to free our self from this false but subtle-image, from the critical thoughts and negative feelings it throws up in our consciousness, is self-realisation.�� It is the realisation that the ���I��� that says ���I am��� is prior to all images held in consciousness. It is the realisation that the ���I��� is the holder of such images.�� ��The realisation that ���I��� am not an image.�� When the self comes to know that its self is not an image, and is definitely not a combination of images that were planted a long time ago, then the identification with that image, the sustenance of that image and the voice of the inner critic that comes from that image, comes to an end.��
��This moment of ���self-realisation��� normally happens both during and due to some meditative and contemplative practice whereby self-awareness is cultivated and deepened.�� It���s only in some kind of introspection that the attachment to the image is seen and the authentic self is ���noticed��� to be beyond the image, beyond the voice.�� In between ���here��� and there���, in between being quietly ruled by the negative self-talk of our inner critic and the liberation of the self from all such inner voices, there are strategies and steps that you can take to lessen and weaken the voice of your inner critic.
��Challenging and Changing Your Internal Critic
You can raise your awareness of the negative self-talk by watching for the following signs and symptoms:
�������������������� When you become irrational and yet what you say still seems to sound like the truth
�������������������� When you put your self down, perhaps denying your successes.
�������������������� When you have unrealistically high standards.
�������������������� When you are hypersensitive about what other people think.�� You assume they're thinking the worst, but you are just creating what you think they think.�� So it���s really you that���s dong the critical thinking on their behalf!
Remind your self you weren't born with negative self-talk.�� It's a learned response that can be unlearned
��Changing your self-talk
Remind your self that saying negative things has a negative effect. Saying positive things has a positive effect.�� Once you know that, it's an easier choice.�� A few words, or even one word, can set off a chain reaction of associations. Make sure you choose words with good associations.��
��Cultivating purposeful self-talk
Purposeful self-talk is an impetus to action.�� There are four types of purposeful self-talk:
�������������������� Statements that contradict your negative thoughts
�������������������� Statements that make you feel good about yourself
�������������������� Statements that help you cope with ongoing situations before, during, and after
�������������������� Creating word pictures that describe where you want to be, in a positive way.
��Disputing Your Internal Critic
Don���t let your inner critic rule the roost.�� When you do hear its voice you can challenge and dispute what it says:
There are three main components of disputing your internal critic:
�������������������� IDENTIFICATION of the irrational belief in your self-talk�� ����� there is always a belief behind the talk ��� find it
�������������������� SEPARATION of the irrational beliefs from the rational beliefs ��� exercise your intellect to sort and sift your beliefs
�������������������� SELF-CHALLENGE of irrational beliefs, actively and vigorously
Some techniques of self-challenge include:
I. THOUGHT STOPPING
As soon as you recognise the critic's voice, say to yourself `Stop it!'�� Remind yourself of all the ways low self-esteem affects you. When you've shut your self-critic up, challenge the accuracy of its beliefs in a calm and thoughtful, but direct way.
2. CHALLENGE THE ACCURACY
Ask yourself `Why do I believe this? Is there any objective evidence to support this belief?��� Challenge the mistaken assumptions and exaggeration inherent in all negative beliefs.
3. MAKE THE NEGATIVE PURPOSEFUL
Replace the negative self-talk with more reasonable, self-tolerant self-talk:
From ���It's difficult for me to�������� to ���It's a challenge for me to�����
From�� ���I'll try to�������� to ���I'm going to����� ������������������������������ ��
From ���I can't, because������ to ���I could���
From ���I wish������ to ���I know ���
From�� ���I should�� but������ to ���I will���
From�� ���I don't want������ to ���I do want���
��While it all sounds a little like ���positive thinking��� it does reach deeper than thought and over time, with practice, can have the effect of changing some of the deepest thinking habits of a lifetime.�� But no technique can reach down into that place and inner space, prior to the voice, prior to the self-image,�� to where ���you��� the ���I��� that says ���I am��� is!�� That���s where you know your self as you really are.�� A being that has no image and not a trace of anything negative.�� There is no voice there.�� Only silence.�� Only your power.�� Only your self!
��Question:�� In what situations do you find the internal critic most powerful?
��Reflection:�� Take five each day this week to reflect back on your day and just ���notice��� each time your inner critic interfered.
��Action:���� Write a list of statement that induce good feelings about your self.
�� Mike George 2010
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