The inner dialogue, negative self-talk, or the inner voice.
The concept goes by many names, but whatever you choose to call it, it can be a destructive force that holds you back from getting what you want, whether it’s a small or medium-sized goal or a life-long dream.
If you ever hope to accomplish your goals, you’ll need to learn how to silence your inner voice and get to a point where it can no longer hold you back.
Evidence is conclusive that your self-talk has a direct bearing on your performance.
– Zig Ziglar
As dangerous and damaging as the internal dialogue can be, it’s very difficult to uncover.
That’s because it hides away in our subconscious mind, where it can do its bidding by replaying the same damaging self-talk over and over again until it becomes a deep-seated belief.
Because of this, the methods for working through this inner voice are almost always a long-term effort. Each of the techniques below can be used together or separately:
1. Make friends with yourself through mindfulness meditation
This is the most straightforward strategy of all. For that reason, it needs a little disclaimer: it’s a tough path.
It involves using a regular mindfulness meditation practice to gain progressively more clarity over time, which will begin to uncover the inner dialogue and “bring it to the surface” so to speak. And this process of bringing it to the surface usually offers all the healing necessary.
The difficulty with this method is, you’re brought face-to-face with your limiting beliefs — and these are often directly connected with past challenges, tragedy, trauma, and so on.
This is my preferred path, but if the idea of facing certain past experiences so directly is difficult to imagine right now, the next two strategies might be more your speed.
2. Use affirmations to proactively influence your negative self-talk
On the opposite end, instead of directly confronting your inner voice, you can work to actively influence it by creating a new dialogue. And you do that with affirmations, something that Tony Robbins is well-known to employ.
I know what you might be thinking– affirmations are cheesy and they don’t work. I understand and I thought the same way about everything from affirmations to vision boards myself. However, it turns out most of these cheesy methods actually work quite effectively if you put an honest effort into them.
Affirmations in particular are great for gradually replacing our negative self-talk because you’re essentially taking back control of the inner dialogue and influencing it in your favor. By repeating statements such as “I’m confident. I’m a hard worker. I believe in myself.” (and feeling the emotions connected with these statements — this is critical) over time you actually begin to believe them.
3. Use this simple trick for boosting confidence and let action do the talking
If the two previous strategies aren’t a fit for you, this simple confidence booster could be the perfect method.
This strategy doesn’t seek to attack the inner voice directly or indirectly, but rather seeks to change our mind about ourselves and instill progressively greater confidence through action itself.
The trick is this:
Action leads to the confidence that we can take more action.
Let me explain. By you taking action, even something small and insignificant like doing the laundry or making a phone call you’ve been putting off, you generate the energy and motivation to take more action.
You can then use this energy to take action on something bigger, and bigger, and bigger until you’ve progressively built up the confidence to start taking great strides towards your chosen goal or dream.
By doing so, you prove to yourself that you are smart enough, strong enough, good enough, and powerful enough. It doesn’t even matter what you do, just proving yourself that you can do something gives you the confidence to do other things.
The inner dialogue is a mysterious and powerful force, one which affects the way we live our life on a deep level. But you’re not hopeless to live under its rule forever.
No matter which strategy you prefer, there’s much you can do to start reconfiguring your inner dialogue and silencing your negative self-talk for good.
Use these strategies to rewrite the script of your life and realize your dreams — one step at a time.