The voice in your head
When was the last time you questioned the voice in your head?
It's hard not to identify with the countless narratives that animate our thoughts throughout the day. But how often do we stop to question the origin and intention of those thought patterns? Are they really us or have we inherited them from somewhere else?
Take the inner critic for example, the voice in your head that tells you that you're not good enough. It may have you believing that you are not worthy of love and acceptance, both from others and yourself if you can't meet some unattainable bar of perfection. This is a common belief in our society; one that often develops at a young age when we learn to associate praise with achievement or by watching a parent or role model that displayed their own habit of being self-critical.
Other examples are internal narratives that convince us that everyone is a threat or that we are either inferior or superior to those around us. These thoughts can lead us to act in ways that cause varying degrees of harm to both ourselves and others.
It's important that we take the time to consider our ways of thinking and see if we are limiting ourselves or creating disharmony. An easy yardstick is to ask yourself "does this thought contribute to the wellbeing of myself and others?". If the answer is no, it's a good opportunity to inquire into where you learned to think in this way, and how might you consider things differently?
The thought of examining one's mind can seem rather daunting but taking the smallest of baby steps on a consistent basis will almost always yield results. Finding the right time and vehicle is up to you. It could be while mindfully washing the dishes, going for a walk, starting a meditation practice, or working with an experienced coach or therapist.
Once we start noticing our destructive thought patterns and catching ourselves before we get lost in them, we can start to create positive narratives to act as an antidote of sorts and fill in the space that was previously occupied by negative thinking.
So rather than allowing a critical voice in your head to look for all the flaws in yourself and others you might start looking for all the good things that you others are doing. This might sound like a mundane exercise, but you'd be surprised at how quickly it can start to transform the way you see yourself and the world around you.