Cheerleader or Gloomleader: what does your inner monologue sound like?
We spend a lot of time thinking about what how we behave with other people. But what does your inner monologue sound like? My opening gambit might sound silly: cheerleader or gloomleader? But think about it. Are you a cheerleader, celebrating your successes and championing your efforts? Or are you more of a gloomleader, giving voice to negative self-talk. If you want to understand this better, read on. In this article (quoted in DailyOm.com) I look at the reasons why our inner monologue might be negative or critical, and offer some tips for coping with your inner gloomleader.
1/ Why do so many of us have a 'gloomleader', a negative or critical inner monologue?
Things we heard and experienced when we were growing up. This might be negative messages about ourself that we have now internalised. Or it might be a response to events that happened when we were young. A child’s brain interprets what is going on around them, and often believes that they are to blame for what they see. This all has an impact on self-esteem and our thought patterns.
More recent criticism. It’s not just childhood, there might be another critical voice that seeps into your mind. Maybe a friend, partner or colleague, whose critical voice becomes part of your self-talk.
Boundaries and vulnerability. When we are feeling strong then it’s likely that we can hold healthy boundaries, helping us to sift out the criticism that doesn’t belong in our minds. But if we’re feeling vulnerable then the gloomleader might hang around and latch onto us. This might happen if you’re already feeling vulnerable or anxious.
2/ How do you recognise when your inner monologue is becoming so negative and critical that it’s impacting on everyday life?
Notice how it makes you feel. Maybe it comes and goes but you’re able to overcome it and move on. It might even be helpful, stopping you from taking unnecessary risk or helping you to notice when you’re doing something wrong.
Things become more serious if gets in the way of everyday life. When a simple thought, event or decision leads to a downward spiral into feelings like anxiety, worry, fear or anger. This might manifest in physical sensations, affecting your sleep and mobility.
Ignoring feelings doesn’t mean that they just disappear. Instead, they can fester and sit inside us, making themselves heard in unpredictable ways. This could be outbursts of anger, feelings of anxiety, or episodes of numbness. Or it can come out in physical sensations.
Negative self-talk can also have a negative impact on our self-esteem. Or sometimes our low self-esteem compounds our negative self-talk. Whichever comes first, it can spiral and have an impact on our sense of self-worth.
3/ Top tips for coping with negative self-talk
Be open to exploring the root cause. This is where therapy can help, as we can take the time to really understand where your negative self talk comes from. Together, we can look at the role that your inner monologue plays, what it might be trying to protect you from. This might sound confusing, but look at it this way. If your inner monologue is criticising you and telling you not to do something or not to behave in a certain way, maybe it has developed in order to protect you from taking risks or from the fear of embarrassment. When we really get to grips with our inner monologue we can use our curiosity to learn more about ourselves.
Notice the spiral. Tune into how you’re feeling and see if you can ‘catch the catastrophe’ - before one negative thought leads to a downward pattern. Stop the gloomleader in its tracks.
Visualisation. Imagine yourself catching a thought, screwing it up into a ball and throwing it into the bin behind you. Or picture a dial marked from one to ten. Are you able to choose to turn down the volume on your inner monologue?
Keen to explore more?
I love working with people to help them to understand themselves. In counselling we build a relationship where we can look at what might be causing your health anxiety and how you can work to overcome it, so that you can feel more comfortable and confident in everyday life. If you’d like to learn more, please get in touch. Click here to contact me, or click here to book a free 30-minute introductory chat.