It might sound woo-woo (which is I phrase I picked up somewhere in the last 6 months from who know’s where but I like it) but it’s true.
Relational living is unavoidable because your inner dialogue exists. Inner dialogue is not when you talk to yourself out loud, or even when you consciously choose talk to your self inside your head, or make a silent sassy comment. An inner dialogue is instinctive and immediate and out of your control. An inner dialogue is reactive tied to your sense of self (and self worth).
It’s that self-critic that tears you apart without permission, the anxiety you get when a silence goes on for too long in a group, the fear that someone doesn’t like you.
It can also be the a positive voice – immediate sense of gratification, feeling validated and connected, etc.
And you can backtalk your inner voice which relates back to how you cannot avoid relationships in life because you will always be in a relationship to yourself. Bummer, I know.
There can be a little bit of an element of CBT and ACT (disclaimer: I’m not massive fan of the models in my work) in the conversation if you want to “get rid” of anxious thoughts and build your self-compassion.
FYI: Self-esteem is built on a value based in comparison to others. Self-compassion is a feeling of warmth and kindness to yourself simply because you exist.
One question I ask clients (which some people may think is unprofessional) is that if they feel comfortable telling that self-critical voice to f*ck off. I know, I know. It’s a little (a lot) strong but it’s good gauge on how people see themselves and how much their concious mind vs subconcious mind are aligned in their motivations to change.
I tell myself to f*ck off all the time (sometimes). Less so now then a year ago. It brings humour into a shitty situation and it’s empowering. It brings energy with it’s aggression, it brings a sense of power and strength, it makes me think that I’m a badass, and it’s silly enough that it makes me smile.
I also swear heaps in my personal life (and some times in my professional life. Oops.) so it fits my personality. It may not fit everyone! And that’s a-ok!
You might prefer to gently say to that inner dialogue – “Hey, it’s okay. I’m okay. You’re okay.” You can also add a thought or fact that challenges the negative dialogue but you don’t have to like – “Bosslady sent you an email after the last meeting about how she really appreciated your input in the group discussion and brainstorm. No reason why that’d be different now”. Sometimes with both people and your Self, a little compassion without confrontation can go a long way in quietening aggression and fear. That’s also a whole other blog – so many blog ideas and so little time (and energy let’s be honest).