Empower Your Inner Voice: Embrace Personal Strengths for Positive Self-Talk
Most of us have a pretty active inner voice that’s willing to jump in at any moment with a running commentary about what’s happening in our lives.
Sometimes our inner voice spurs us on with positive encouragement like “yes, you can” or “it’s time to try” or even “nice job!” But many times, that same voice offers criticism about what we should have done – “you messed that up” – or what we can’t do – “why bother? You’ll fail.”
Psychology tells us that our inner voice (aka self-talk or internal dialogue) is the combination of conscious thoughts and unconscious beliefs and biases. It’s one aspect of how our brains interpret and process daily experiences.
Recently, I’ve been thinking about the correlation between inner voice and personal strengths.
When you are aware of your personal strengths, you feed your inner voice with a diet of capabilities and possibilities. Your awareness forms a strong foundation for confidence and personal growth.
But what happens when you undervalue or ignore your personal strengths?
When you aren’t aware that something is a personal strength of yours, it’s more than likely you assume everyone can do what you do. And that assumption feeds your inner voice a diet of unrealistic expectations that lead to hurt feelings and disappointments.
It seems a bit of a dichotomy that a natural strength can be the catalyst for hurt feelings and negative inner voice comments. But that’s exactly what happens.
I have a dear friend who is Flow and, like you might imagine, she’s amazing at doing little things that make other people feel included and heard. Yet she doesn’t see it as the super strength it is. To her, it’s just part of being a human being.
I can’t tell you the number of times over the years she and I have been talking, been interrupted for some reason, and then later on she’ll pick up the conversation thread right where we left off to ensure I have the opportunity to close the loop on the topic. It feels great to be on the receiving side of her thoughtfulness.
A few days ago she shared the disappointment she felt when she was in the middle of sharing a story with a family member, a distraction happened, and then the topic was just dropped. She was left hanging. That’s not something she would ever do to someone else and yet it happened to her. She wondered out loud what she had done wrong.
The factual answer was “nothing”. It was a classic example of assuming everyone can do what she does, when in fact, most people can’t. Her inner voice jumped on an unrealistic expectation.
The thing is, we're wired to find the negatives more quickly because they have to do with survival… but that doesn't mean we need to absorb self-judgment without question.
If you don't know what your strengths are, you can't put what your inner voices tell you into perspective. So, what happens is that those voices stop you instead of helping you to move forward, and that sucks the joy out of life.
When you take your own strengths for granted, you can mistakenly assume that you’ve done something wrong, or are lacking something when other people don’t respond the way you would.
So, when your inner voice starts to sound like a Negative Nelly, give yourself a moment to think about what you do well and put the negative criticism into perspective!
Please share your thoughts on this topic in the comment section below.
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About Dr. Gary M. Jordan, Ph.D.
Lynda-Ross Vega is a partner at Vega Behavioral Consulting, Ltd. She specializes in helping corporate leaders, entrepreneurs, and individuals with interpersonal communications, team dynamics, personal development, and navigating change. Lynda-Ross is co-creator of Perceptual Style Theory, a revolutionary behavioral psychology theory and assessment system that teaches people how to unleash their natural strengths and build the life and career they dream of. For free information on how to succeed in business and in life doing more of what you do best, visit https://www.YourTalentAdvantage.com.
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