A well-integrated pattern of negative ideas against ourselves and others makes up the critical inner voice. Many of our self-destructive and unhelpful behaviors are caused by the persistent "voices," or ideas, that make up this internal conversation. It is experienced as ideas within your brain; the critical inner voice is not an audio hallucination. This constant stream of negative ideas creates an anti-self that prevents people from behaving in their own best interests.
People need to become conscious of what their critical inner voice is saying to them before they can counteract their negative attacks. To do this, individuals might choose a situation in which they are particularly harsh on themselves, and then pay close attention to the critiques that arise in that situation.
When people express their critical inner voices in this way, they frequently feel intensely and gain an understanding of the origin of their voice attacks. When they realize the tone and substance of their vocal attacks are conveying views directed at them as children, they have extraordinary clarity.
A person responds to vocal attacks in the third phase of voice treatment. People who believe remarks such as "You're such an imbecile." Nobody is interested in hearing your thoughts. You can reply, "I am not foolish! Just sit in the background and keep your mouth quiet! I've got something meaningful and valuable to say. Many people are curious about me and are concerned with what I believe."
People are naturally fascinated and eager to know how these patterns of self-defeating beliefs have shaped their history and affect their present-day behaviors after expressing and responding to their voices. Individuals who believe that they are foolish, for instance, may be able to recall instances in which they behaved less competently or confidently as a result of hearing that self-attack. When people desire to alter particular self-limiting behaviors, having an insight into how the critical inner voice has shaped their actions is useful.
People might start to change once they are aware of the areas in which they are limited. They can do this by refraining from the damaging activity the critical inner voice advises them to engage in and increasing the constructive behaviors that contradict it. For instance, a shy individual can stop avoiding social situations and start intentionally engaging in discussions with others.
Many individuals believe that if they stop paying attention to their critical inner voice, they will become disconnected from their conscience. But unlike a conscience, the critical inner voice is not a reliable moral compass. The critical inner voice, on the other hand, is humiliating and punitive and frequently influences us to make poor choices. Without encouraging us to adjust unfavorable traits or behave constructively, these critical voices frequently make us feel worse about ourselves.’’
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