We all have a negative voice that reminds us of our insecurities. It’s intrusive and says things to us like, “You’re not good enough”; “You can’t do it”; “Nobody likes me”, and so on. We all get these intrusive thoughts without exception and they add to our self doubt and diminish our self belief. In fact, that negative voice in our heads can twist our focus in life and can end up becoming a self fulfilling prophecy.
This inner voice (negative thoughts) affects our feelings and our behaviour. If we feel that nobody likes us, we are likely to feel sad and then may avoid social occasions as a result. When we listen to the negative voice and don’t challenge it, it can set us onto a negative path that isn’t helpful and ends up reinforcing negative feelings and behaviour.
Change the negative voice
Remind yourself that your inner voice is just that – an inner voice, or your ‘mental diet’, as I like to call it. Just because you have the thoughts does not mean they are correct or true or an accurate reflection on reality.
Notice the negative automatic thoughts
Get into the habit of being more aware of what you are telling yourself. When you catch yourself being critical, learn to challenge the negative voice. Some of our thinking is so automatic that we don’t even realise what we tells ourselves in a daily basis. Get into the habit of noticing your inner dialogue.
Look for evidence that supports your thinking/negative voice
What evidence exists that supports the idea that nobody likes you?
Look for evidence that doesn’t support your thinking/negative voice
What evidence exists that doesn’t support the idea that nobody likes you? You will always be able to find exceptions to your original negative thought. What would you say to a friend in a similar situation? There is no such thing as an absolute truth, no one is always stupid or always disliked. Look for examples to the contrary of what you are telling yourself.
Look for a rational alternative and reframe the negative thought
Instead of saying, “Nobody likes me”; try something less absolute such as: “Not everyone is going to like me but there are many people who do like me and have time for me”. This is far more rational and will leave you feeling less unhappy and stressed.
Keep on practising
The intrusive negative voice is going to keep coming. Imagine someone giving you a parrot as a gift. Every time you enter the room it tells you are uselss, no good, unpopuler etc (all the things you usually tell yourself). What would you do with that parrot? You would no doubt get rid of it or pay it no attention. Think of your inner negative voice in the same way. Thoughts are just thoughts, learn to detach and not focus on the nonsense negative ones.