Very initial days of my property investment journey, builder walked away with £7000. Me and Sudheer (my friend and business partner) usually travel 200 miles to our investment area, listen to music and sing songs.
On this occasion, I was very quiet for almost an hour and was driving without a word or humming of the song.
My friend asked me is everything OK Ravi? I said no, everything is not OK. I shared all the voices that were going in my head.
Stories that I had in my head were “I am not good enough”.
I don’t know how to do property anymore.
I have let down all my family by losing hard earned money, these were only a few of them.
If I let them continue it would have pushed me into dark corners in my head and debilitate me.
Did You Know There Is An Inner Dialogue In All Of Us?
Some call it little voice, inner voice, inner dialogue, private talk, inner critic or even call it with a name that they don’t like or like based on how they see it.
This inner dialogue if not understood and resolved, it can push people into depression. We all have this inner dialogue whether we are aware of it or not.
I think, therefore I am – Rene DesCartes
How do you know that you have an inner voice?
For a moment if you sit quietly and don’t say a word (as I did in my experience), you will start hearing it from inside.
Try it now!!
You can come back to this post again shortly.
Did you hear something like “Not sure what this guy is talking about.”
“What is this inner voice?”
When you are about to post on social media, you hear something like
“Yes go ahead post that picture on social media, people will like it.”
If there are not many likes
“People don’t like me anymore. What is wrong with them?”
“Maybe your dress is not good or background is not good or even change the phone or camera as the quality of the picture is not good.”
There is a running commentary in our head all out time, passing judgements, making assumptions, questioning or criticising yourself.
By now I hope you got what I’m trying to share in this article.
It is not all just about what it is. There is more to it. This inner dialogue can be good or bad.
In this article apart from discussing what inner dialogue is, I will discuss what factors would shape up your inner dialogue, why should it matter to you? And what can we do about it?
How Did We Get This Inner Dialogue?
There are different theories around this. Some think that it is based on our childhood experiences.
As a child, we always speak our heart. As we grow up adults put thoughts in the kids, you should not say that, that’s not how you behave, you cannot share everything, don’t wear that dress and so on.
The child who keeps sharing openly will start suppressing their free will nature and push them into their heads. It would convert into voices in the head.
Psychologists also believe that inner voice comes from a small part of the brain called amygdala.
The amygdala is an almond-shaped set of neurons, very small in size when compared to the total brain.
Its sole purpose is to detect the fear and preserve the body. It was there since cavemen or even before inducing fear to save them from fierce animals.
These days we get our food to our table, but we still have the same inner dialogue inducing fear when people try to go out of their comfort zone.
What Starts This Inner Dialogue?
There are a few factors which can invoke inner dialogue. At this point, I would suggest you take some time to make a list of factors both internal and external for your benefit.
Self-worth: “Am I good enough?”
Self-confidence: “You don’t have the necessary skills, do you think you can do it?”
Guilt: “I always mess things up, I’m sorry.”
Self-esteem: “Nobody values you, you are not needed in the team, family or society..”
Trust: “I can’t believe them. They don’t believe me.”
There are a lot of other factors, you can list yours
Family & Friends: When I started with my investment journey, family and friends mentioned, you are not fit for having those tough discussions.
They are coming from space of love and saving me, but if I had listened to them, I wouldn’t have built the property portfolio and learnt the lessons that I learnt..
TV: News is well known to have 80% of bad news as people are glued to the fear factor. In that process, there is constant inner dialogue with assumptions and judgements making their life miserable and others as well.
Entertainment is thriving on inducing fear in people. We do have a choice of what we want to do.
Social media: Smartphones have made social media accessible to millions on their fingertips. People are glued to social media as if there is no tomorrow and they have to consume it all now.
The instant gratification of passing judgements on thousands in a day instead of just ten people they meet on that day. Many also experience all sorts of emotions jealousy, anger, greed just by looking at their phone.
Imagine if you leave it away for some time you get your life back. You have a choice of doing anything you want.
How Would Negative Inner Voice Affect You?
One of the biggest challenges that so many people face is sleeplessness. People stay awake but lying down on the whole night with eyes open.
How many of you experienced this based on what happened the previous day at work, your business or what some family member said?
Inner dialogue can affect us in some very dangerous ways. If people are not aware and do something about these inner voices, it can lead them to depression.
It can lead to long term illness.
Public speaking is a scary experience to people than death itself. Why is it so?
Nobody said anything to them. Reality is that their inner dialogue is going on in their head making their life miserable.
“Look that guy is laughing on you, there are so many people. You never did anything like this before”…
It can result in breathing problems, heart palpitations, sweaty palms and many other physical manifestations.
Negative Inner Dialogue Can Manifest In Many Different Ways:
Limiting beliefs: When you try anything out of your comfort zone, the inner voice will start the dialogue that you are not good enough.
Perfectionism: The is one other debilitating reality many people go through. Anything they do, their inner dialogue will always shoot them down. This leads to procrastination and losing on deals.
Victim Mentality: People will start playing victim all the time. Everything they do or everything people do it will always seem that they are ill-treated or people don’t support them or understand them.
It is not all bad:
How To Transform Your Inner Dialogue To Serve You?
Avoid or transform external factors: Big wins would be to check the external factors that you have listed earlier and see if you can cut down or replace them. E.g. instead of watching the news on TV which is 80% bad news, try listening to good music or audiobook that can help you focus on achieving your goals. If you have friends with victim internal dialogue, avoiding them will
“You have to be Selfish to be Selfless at times.”
Skills: Keep learning, training and enhancing your skill set so that your inner dialogue transforms from “Do you think you can do it?” to “Go for it, this is easy for you”.
Meditation: Meditation is a very powerful tool in creating awareness about yourself. There are thousands of thoughts that go through our head every day when we meditate we can focus our thoughts that will help us grow and create a fulfilled life.
Regular practice of meditation will help calm those thoughts giving clarity on the life that you are living, leading it to focus on the life you want to live or could live.
“Where focus goes energy flows.”
Feeling gratitude: When your inner dialogue is leading to space of anger or frustration, you can instantly transform that by feeling grateful for what you have. You can even feel grateful for what you are going to have in future. Being in a state of gratitude is much better than being in state anger or frustration leading to long term illness.
“Anger and Gratitude can’t stay in the same place.”
If what people say to you affect your emotional and mental state, think what effect it would have when you are affirming it to yourself?
“’I AM’ are two of the most powerful words, for what you put after them shapes your reality.” – Unknown
Many different people have mentioned affirmations in different formats, stick with something that works for you.
My favourite version of affirmation is to say something in lines of “I AM thankful for the excellent health that I have.”
In the above statement, I am affirming to myself and being thankful(gratitude) to receive a specific gift as if I already have it.
Language: what you think and the words you use can affect your emotional state, self-confidence and self-esteem. This is the basis of Neuro-Linguistic Programming(NLP).
We have one shot at this beautiful Life, How do you want to experience it?
The reality is that inner voice or inner dialogue will be with us for the rest of our conscious lives. What we do with it can massively transform our lives and help achieve our true potential when we can use it for our good and not let it distract us.
It takes time to master this little voice. Becoming aware, acknowledging it and taking action to change the negative inner voice to positive inner voice will transform your life and helps you achieve your true human potential.