We have a constant inner narrative running through our minds that we barely even consider, let alone hold accountable. Our inner voice babbles away constantly repeating things to us that we have been taught through our formative years by everyone from our parents to religious leaders to academic teachers and beyond. One of the scariest considerations is how much of our inner narrative is made up of messages we have absorbed from media and advertising (entire industries based on the relentless insecurities of the consumer?)
When we shine a magnifying glass on this inner narrative and this voice in our head that tells us not to wear certain clothes because of the way we look or not to voice our opinions because we sound silly, it is shocking. We are so programmed and conditioned to believe certain things about ourselves that we don’t even question them. We become so limited by what we repeatedly tell ourselves over years and years.
So set yourself free and give others the permission to as well. I invite you to consider the following six steps and interpret them in a way that resonates with you…
(I’ve included an example to demonstrate)
Admit what you are saying to yourself. Take a long, determined look at some of the things that your inner voice is saying and responsible for. What faded phrases do you keep reading back to yourself? Peel back your skin and recognise what you say to yourself, what broken record keeps playing over and over.
‘I am not worth it’
Sit with that. Be still with it. I like to imagine I am on a park bench in an empty park, early in the morning and next to me is ‘the thing’ I need to have a conversation with. I sit next to ‘the thing’ and I look at it, I start to un-pick ‘the thing’ and break it down.
‘You can’t have nice things or do the things you want to do because you are not worthy of them, asking for help is lazy and self-care is selfish.’
Whilst you are sitting with that ‘thing’ (that phrase, belief system, broken record) find out where it comes from. Did someone say this to you in childhood, did you absorb it from media, is it a coping mechanism from a difficult time? Why do you believe it is okay to say this to yourself? ‘If you wouldn’t say it to a child you care about, you shouldn’t be saying it to yourself.’
‘teachers, religious leaders, parents, society, media’
Think about what emotion comes with this. Positive or negative, you need to recognise how it makes you feel. What do you feel when you are repeating this particular belief back to yourself. Or what do you feel when you see someone living successfully without that particular belief.
‘I feel jealous and angry when I see someone get some time for themselves or nice things without having earned the right to it’
Does this emotion and message to myself serve me? Really and deeply ask yourself that question. Is this serving you anymore?
‘Feeling jealous and telling myself I don’t deserve things and I am not worth it are not serving me or getting me where I want to be’
Re-write the script your brain is reading from. Stay sitting on that park bench with yourself and re-write the way you are saying something to yourself. Find a healthy way of re-understanding and re-imagining something you have been so deeply conditioned to believe. It’s not easy. This takes hard work. But in the wonderful words of Glennon Doyle ‘we can do hard things’.
‘You are worthy of all great things and you deserve great things. You are a divine and precious being. It is okay to ask for help or take time out, the process is as important as the destination because they are both part of the wonder and luxury of human experience.’
Photo courtesy of The Copper Lens