You know that insidious little voice in your head? I call it your ‘brain ears.’ It’s the voice that picks up on the slightest whiff of negativity and convinces you you’re a total mess.
It’s the voice that can keep you up until the wee hours with nasty, negative thoughts. The one that says such critical things, things that you wouldn’t say to your worst enemy. The voice that can twist your gut, and make you cringe in a flash of a nanosecond.
That little voice has a wildly twisted perspective. One that we need to straighten out.
One of my favourite podcasts tells us how to do just that. Hidden Brain with host Shankar Vedantam interviews psychologist Ethan Kross about that same voice.
Ethan calls it chatter. He says “it’s part of the human condition, but there are ways to keep our negative emotions from morphing into chatter.”
Here are some tips to befriend that inner voice and calm the waters
- Remember that voice is part of the human condition. So while it feels awful, you’re not alone. Everyone has an awful insidious little voice in their head.
- Give it its name. It’s called chatter. By naming it you can separate it from yourself. It’s not the real you.
- Don’t trust it! While it thinks it’s doing you a favour and trying to keep you safe (and it can be very persuasive), it’s as reliable as a three-dollar bill.
4. Test it. If your inner chatter is telling you you’re a total loser, a complete failure then test that concept. What proof do you have that this is true? Hint: none!
5. Talk to yourself. Really. Truly. Make sure to use your name or ‘you.’
- Pretend you’re giving advice to a good friend. It’s called “distanced self-talk. And what it involves is trying to coach yourself through your chatter using your own name or the second person pronoun “you.” …this is a useful tool for helping people gain distance from what they’re going through in ways that can be quite useful.”
Try it. You’ll like it.
With these five steps, you’ll have an easier time banishing that inner voice, that chatter. Your “brain ears” will move onto something more positive and then you can move on with being fabulous you.
Now go on and learn, learn some more, and lead
- Need a further confidence boost? Check out what I learned from this regal woman while I was training in the Maasai Mara. The C word.
- Your inner chatter, your brain ears, can convince you that the most ridiculous things are true, like this little boy believing that his dad has stolen his ear and then his nose.
- Share this post with a friend and/or colleague and support each other by banishing or at least reducing your brain chatter.
- The Learning and Development Roundtable – “The surprising skill you didn’t know you needed when giving feedback” is this week. It’s not too late to RSVP. Do that now!