“If we treated our friends like we treat ourselves, we’d all go to jail.” -Unknown
We all have that nagging inner voice in our head. That inner critic that tells us horrible lies, yet there is a hint of truth, such that we follow along and make up dialogue and “what if’s” that pull us further and further away from what we truly desire.
Most of the time, this chatter is happening and we’re not even really aware, until we may realize that we have low energy, are grumpy, tired, and just feel like crap.
This moment of realization or awareness is THE MOMENT when you can do something positive to shift or transform that inner critic in to our greatest ally.
3S – that’s how!
Step #1 Stop
Step #2 Spot
Step #3 Swap
The 3S is a quick and easy process, and armed with the above fun image, it’s an effective way to help you remember that YOU can transform that crappy feeling in to happy.
Here’s how it works:
Step #1 Stop Notice the negative message. Awareness. Stop it in its tracks.
Step #2 Spot Spot the lie.
Step #2.a. Get Curious You’re already having inner dialogue with yourself-just let it be fun.
Step #2.b. Question Question the thought for its truth.
Step #2.c. Correct Correct the inner critic by telling it the belief/statement is untrue…
”That’s a lie.”
Step #3 Swap Reframe the negative “you” thought/belief to a positive “I” statement.
(Yes, most always our inner critic talks to us in 3rd person “you” statements.)
Cutting Ties With The Lies And Tethering To The Truth
Negative thoughts are like weeds and any gardener will tell you, if you don’t tend the weeds your garden will soon be overrun with them. The other truth about weeds is, regardless of how diligently you pull them, you can never fully eradicate them. Think of any paved parking lot with even a solitary weed poking its head up. The weeds will find a way.
So the goal is not to eliminate the inner critic. The real trick is to give that inner critic a voice. Acknowledge the negative. Give it oxygen. Only then can its statements be examined and dealt with (i.e. transformed, shifted or reframed).
The next time you are faced with that nagging inner critic try this 3S, 3-step process – you may even get to know, like and trust your inner critic.
Step #1 Notice the negative message
Our negative self-talk can be so commonplace that we don’t even consciously notice when we’re doing it.
To become more aware of your inner critic’s voice notice when your mood or energy takes you into negative thinking when there hasn’t been an incident to cause such a shift. If you notice a change, go back and ask yourself what you were just thinking about. You will often find that you have been engaging in negative self-talk without even realizing it.
Step #2 Stop it in its tracks
Even if the negative thoughts are true, they are not healthy. And honestly, most often when really examined, the thoughts are distortions of truth and thus, not true. So stop them immediately. You can use this simple technique from Prentice Mulford, a prominent thought pioneer from the 1800’s. He said that we must deny access to those thoughts we don’t want. He created a “thought refusal” tool in which he says,
“I refuse this thought and the mental condition it has brought on me which affects my body.”
If you are really brave and decisive, you can simply say “delete” or “cancel” to remove the unwanted/negative thought.
Say “delete” or “cancel” aloud, if appropriate, or in your inner voice if others are around.
Step #2.a. Get Curious.
Ask yourself empowering questions and reflect back to discover or uncover your thoughts. I’ve found that “Why” questions keep us stuck in the past. More empowering questions, ones that allow you to ask and answer from the viewpoint of the observer, typically begin with “What” and “How.”
Step #2.b. Question the thought for its truth.
We often accept our negative self-criticisms as truth without questioning their validity. The next time you become aware of a negative thought, challenge it. Ask yourself if it’s true or not. Pitting our negative thoughts against what is actually true can be a simple yet powerful exercise and a step towards shattering our negative and usually untrue belief.
Step #2.c. Correct the inner critic by telling it the statement is untrue.
Now that you’ve acknowledged and challenged your inner critic, it’s time to replace the inaccurate assessments and lies with the more accurate, empathetic, and powerful truth. Instead of, “You’re a loser and you’ll never succeed,” try, “I may not be perfect, but I tried my best and I got a pretty good result.” Reframe the negative thoughts so they more accurately reflect the truth.
Step #3 Reframe the negative “you” thought to a positive “I” statement.
“I” statements help us assert what we really believe by connecting us to what we’re feeling. For example, the internal dialogue would shift from, “You never do anything right,” to, “I feel frustrated and angry when the results don’t reflect my efforts.” Replacing “you statements” with “I statements” takes the negative charge out of our inner dialogue.
The nagging chatter call of the inner critic serves as an opportunity to challenge inaccurate thoughts and replace them with positive, helpful ones.
This 3S – 3 Step process can help…
What does your inner critic tell you?
What can you learn from it?
How can you use that inner dialogue to help you improve your life?
Because our inner critic has been with us for a long, long time, it is often quite challenging to recognize it, and even more challenging to get beyond its distortions and lies so that you can discover and uncover the truth.
This process is powerful in and of itself and if you would like one-on-one support and help noticing, disrupting, healing, and integrating those old patterns that block or hold you back from dreaming, creating, and living the life of your dreams, please do not delay. Email me at Karen@LifeCoachingwithkp.com or better still, book Your Free Needs Analysis Coaching Session now.
Have fun with this new tool in your proverbial tool belt of life.
Blessings and Abound in Grace,