Our inner voice, our biggest stumbling block

While the “inner voice” helps us make decisions, another voice lives in our heads, one that’s evaluating our performance. It determines our value. It judges the level of optimism that is reasonable to hold regarding our future. But I believe it holds many people back.

According to Psychology Today, The critical inner voice is a point of view we internalise early in life based on childhood experiences. It can represent the way we were seen by an influential parental figure, particularly in times of stress when that person was at their worst and was mis-attuned to us in some way. As we grow up, we take on these negative views as our own and the inner voice starts to function like a disciplinary parent holding us back and keeping us in our place. By the time we reach adulthood, we perceive the negative views of us and the critical inner voice as part of our self-perception.

Often the inner voice and past insecurities hold us back in life, not a lack of intellect, knowledge or skills. And it takes a certain amount of drive, determination and perseverance to reach beyond your circumstances and rid yourself of a critical inner voice.

My advice is:

Identify the voice in your head
Start listening for the voice. The next time you succeed or when you fail, ask yourself, “what does the voice inside me like right now?” When you’re nervous or hesitant to try something new, there’s an inner narrative happening. What is it saying? If we’re going to be able to forgive ourselves and understand why we do what we do, this is key.

Establish whether the voice is helping you or holding you back
I believe the voice inside most of us is holding us back.

Avoid shame
I believe it is one of the biggest barriers to forgiving ourselves. But was is shame? According to Dr Brene Brown, “shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.” When we believe we are unworthy of anything, we make dangerous choices. If we believe we are flawed and, therefore, unworthy, we will struggle to accept forgiveness for our own mistakes, and as entrepreneurs, we make and always will make mistakes.

Life should be a journey of continual improvement, discovery, and growth towards a more complete individual. Lack of growth in life and career is so often self-induced sabotage – that inner voice or thought pattern.

The only person who can change it is you.

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