Controlling Your Negative Inner Voice

by Leah Day

There's no better way of knowing how you feel about yourself than listening to your inner voice. What is the inner voice? Quite simply it is the voice with whom you talk to yourself. The words that seem to come from nowhere but can affect your actions, mood, decisions, and feelings.

For most of my life I struggled with a very negative inner voice. It told me I was stupid, worthless, and ugly. When something bad would happen to me, my inner voice would tell me I deserved it, that I should expect such treatment because I was so stupid. This negative voice was entirely my invention. It was my mind saying these horrible things. Why would I think so badly of myself? Did I, in fact, believe that I was stupid, worthless, or ugly. Yes, I did.

My negative inner voice was actually a vocalization of my low self-esteem. I believed those things about myself and reinforced those beliefs by internalizing them and turning them into an actual negative entity within my brain. It might not seem like it, but I was in control the whole time. I chose to start berrating myself. I chose to cut myself down when I was feeling low. I was my own worst enemy. No one could cut me down more effectively than my own mind could.

It's very sad to think about. Even now, years later, I wonder how I could have hated myself so much. That is truly what low self-esteem stems from -- self-hate. When we live wishing we were more like someone else, despising the characteristics that make us special, we are living in self-hate. Psychologists like to put fancy words on it like “low self-esteem,” but this doesn’t really impart true understanding of the condition. We all understand hate, though. Happy, sad, afraid, hate, love -- they are the words we can truly comprehend and apply to ourselves and our mental state.

So how do we combat this negative inner voice? How do we reverse the effects of self hate? Well, loving ourselves is a good first step. Once I realized just how much I hated myself, I was honestly repelled. How can you function hating the body you live in, the mind you think with, the hands you create with? You can’t. You cannot function to your ultimate potential if you are constantly criticising and hating yourself. So we must learn to love ourselves. This shouldn’t be too difficult. We were born loving ourselves but somewhere along the line, for whatever reason, we stopped.

To love yourself again you must accept yourself. You must embrace all the shortcomings, failures, and mistakes you have made. You need to turn inward now and find those things about yourself that make you special, different, and worthwhile. When your negative voice rears up, name it, put it in its place, and start to battle its control of your mind. You are in control now, it's scary, but you are the boss and you call the shots.

Our mind is a complex and powerful thing. It has more control over our lives than we ever give it credit for. We can eliminate our negative inner voices. We can learn to love ourselves. Once we are willing to let go of the hate, let go of our fear, anger, and resentment, we can then begin to heal and love again. It saddens me to remember how much I hated myself, but I did and I hurt myself everyday because of it. Live to love yourself and your life will love you back.

Editor's Note: Leah is my daughter-in-law and an award-winning quilter. She shares insights almost daily about quilting and art and life on her very popular blog, The Free Motion Quilting Project. To see Leah's gallery of beautiful quilts that she's created, click here. If you're a quilter, both of these sites require a visit right now!





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