Your inner voice is the most powerful voice you will ever hear!

You're familiar with being encouraging and supportive to others, you can give constructive feedback and kind words to others, yet that inner voice that directs criticism, put-downs and is generally unkind can be the undoing of us.

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You spend a lot of time in your head. Is it a nice place to be? If it were a garden, would it be a garden of Eden, flourishing, cared for, nurtured and beautiful or would it be Chernobyl, desolate, toxic, harmful?

If you said the things that you say to yourself to your friends, would you have any? Would you even dare say some of the things you say to yourself to your friends? Would you say them to your children or loved ones?

In a world where achievement is valued more than effort, expectations are unbelievably high, the compare and despair of social media that creates unrealistic idealisms, it can be easy to become a harsh critic of all the things you fall short of and forget that were are merely humans, beautiful in all of our flaws.

Did you know that in many cultures, flaws and imperfections are celebrated? In Persia, rugs are made with intentional flaws. In Japan, broken pottery is put back together with gold and Wabi-Sabi is the art of embracing imperfections. Whilst in Macedonia, if a person looks too perfectly dressed they may take steps to intentionally create an imperfection.

With so many references to imperfections, why then do some of us wield a fist of frustration and anger at ourselves when we fall short of our own self-imposed perfections?

As a coach, I have seen the devastating effects on one's health both mental and physical as a result of having a harsh and critical inner voice. A coach that coaches us to destruction. Creating anxiety, depression and often chronic illnesses such as fatigue and pain. As a human, I am that person that used to have such a harsh, critical, inflexible and dissatisfied coach as my inner voice, that did indeed create chronic illnesses. Thankfully, that inner coach got the sack some 12 years ago and my health and happiness flourished.

I was working with two clients recently, both of whom have that harsh and critical inner voice. Neither knew how to change it, both lacked the 'how'. So how do you become your own best coach when all you have known is the criticism, the put-downs the unkindness, that powerful inner voice? The first step is to understand what you value in a coach or a mentor.

1. Think about a person, either current or in your past that has inspired you to feel good about yourself.

2. Write down what it is about them, and their qualities. These can be qualities such as encouraging, kind, supportive, honest, constructive, truthful, direct, gentle, compassionate, empathetic, respectful, or accountable. Find what is important to you.

3. Take a plain piece of paper and begin to write down the all too familiar critical inner voice, what does it often say to you?

4. Now take another piece of paper and begin to change each of those statements. Re-write them using the values of what makes a great coach for you.

For example:

Why am I even doing this, I'm clearly rubbish.

You are doing your best, recognise how far you have come and see what needs to be improved.

You stupid idiot, why did you do that.

What is done is done, nobody is perfect, what could you do/say differently next time?

5. Now take the two pieces of paper, the one with the negative and harsh statements on it, the other with the statements that would come from a great coach. Now make a decision, which one do you want to keep and which one do you want to get rid of? I'm guessing that you'll want to keep the great coach? Phew! Now you can rip up the negative harsh and critical statements, which is surprisingly cathartic. 

6. Make a poster with all the qualities that make a great coach for you, put it somewhere that you will see regularly and each day check in with yourself - am I being a great coach to myself today?

7. Each week, reflect on your achievements, write down 3 things that you are proud of yourself for, then write down 3 things that you will improve upon (make sure they are a mixture of personal, lifestyle, health, relationships and professional if applicable).

And remember, neuroplasticity (how our brain rewires itself) is constantly switched on and listening, given practice and time, things will change.

Life Coach Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP5 3BN
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Written by Nikki Emerton
Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP5 3BN

Having spent the majority of my life not really knowing how to be resilient to life's ups and downs, I discovered NLP, hypnotherapy and coaching. I've found this invaluable in my own life and now use the skills I have learnt and the experiences I have had to help others change their thoughts and behaviours to achieve health and happiness.

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