5 Steps to Change the Story the Voice in Your Head is Telling You
We all have that voice in our head, the one that keeps reminding us that we’re NOT. NOT good enough, NOT smart enough, NOT pretty enough, NOT whatever. That voice, though it sounds like you, isn’t. It’s a voice that has developed over time, made up of phrases others have said, or feelings you have felt. It’s a voice that shapes your day and ultimately shapes your life. It influences your decisions and often leads you in directions you know you don’t really want to go. The good news, you can change the story the voice in your head keeps telling you. It takes some work, it takes some time, but when you change that story, you can change the direction of your life.
5 Steps to Change the Story the Voice in Your Head Is Telling You
#1 Realize when the voice starts talking
The first step is to realize that there is a voice and that it’s telling you a story. You can recognize when the voice starts talking by the negativity. It usually says something like “I’m not…” or asks questions like “Why do things like this always happen to me?” The problem is this voice isn’t very accurate. It has a very limited perspective and it’s usually focusing on something bad and can’t see anything else. It imagines the worse case scenario and plays that out in your mind as the only way this situation is going to turn out. When the voice continues to ask negative questions you’re never going to get positive answers. So the first step is to recognize when this voice starts to take over your thinking.
#2 Record what the voice says
After you realize the voice is talking, you need to listen to it and write down what it says and how you feel. Yes, that sounds weird, but stay with us. It’s important to write down what you are feeling and what the voice is saying so that later you can come back to it to review. Because if you’re like everyone else, you will convince yourself you weren’t really feeling that way as time passes. But you were and to change the story you need to remember what it was.
#3 Review the story
This builds on the second step. It’s why recording what the voice says and how you feel is so important. Often after a few hours or days you can look back on what the voice was saying and see how ridiculous it is. You recognize that the story it was telling you isn’t true. Sometimes you’ve been telling yourself that story for so long you may still believe it and you need to evaluate it more closely. There are a few questions you should ask:
- Does this story hold you back or does it empower you to accomplish your dreams?
- Is this story 100% true and can you prove it?
- Ask questions like, “When I hear this story, how does it make me feel?” “How do I treat myself and others because of it?” Or “Who am I when I have this thought in my head?”
- Who would you be without this thought? How would you feel and how would you treat yourself and others?
After reviewing the story and realizing that it is a story that isn’t true, you’re ready to take the next step.
#4 Rewrite the story
The story that voice is telling you is only one way of understanding what you have been through or are going through. It’s time to look at it from a different perspective and to rewrite the story. Look for any positives and use those to edit the story in a way that empowers you. Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t — you’re right.” Quit letting that voice in your head tell you that you can’t. If you keep telling yourself the same negative story, you’ll keep getting more and more of the things you don’t want in life. So write down the new story, the story about how what you have been through has empowered you, made you stronger, braver. Those things you thought were liabilities can be assets. Don’t let the old story become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
#5 Repeat the new story
Once you have that new story, a better way of looking at your circumstances, you have to repeat it. Every time that voice starts telling you the old story you have to interrupt it. Say, “That’s not true.” Then begin to tell yourself the new true story. This isn’t a quick fix. It’s something that takes time and practice. That old voice is familiar and has probably been around for a while so it won’t go quietly. But it will go over time.
The more we tell ourselves the new true story, the more it will become reality. If we don’t, we can be stuck as victims in a bad story, without control and often without hope. But you do have control. You have the power to edit and to author your story. So it’s time to kick that old voice out, pick up the pen and begin the story you want to live.