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Transforming our self-critical voice in our head into becoming a support


Guest articles > Transforming our self-critical voice in our head into becoming a support


by: Toby Jensen


For most of us there is a little voice in our heads that tells us what to do all day long and how to live our lives. It is the voice that usually comes across as critical and depressing due to the negative nature of the message. This is more an impression or feeling that you get from within yourself. This is your brain performing its regular function to guide you in life. This is not the schizophrenic voices that the mentally ill hear. The good news is that this voice can easily be reprogrammed to support us in our lives. This is a part of ourselves that we want to bring it into serving us.

Although we can obtain silence from this voice for intermittent periods of time while experiencing peace during such times as meditation (Zen), it is impossible to remove this voice from within for any long period of time. You can also experience quieter times during such strenuous physical activities in which you are at one with your sport and activity. But for most of life, the voice just keeps belting out all the things we are doing wrong in life. It is time to change this.

Although there is a time and a place for the screaming and yelling of personal growth this is not it. The screaming and the yelling can work to express our anger in power and strength. It can help to get out the frustration. It can be a way to tap into the power and strength one may need to cross a severe amount of abuse or pain. Anger does have its place in life but not here – not now. We can express ourselves through this power and anger. Once we do, we only need to visit this place. We no longer need to live there. We can visit less and less. This expression of anger is not needed as strongly nor as often. We have found a better place, a softer place of power to speak from to rule our lives. This place is the place of reason and skill. So, visit the place of anger and unfettered power as often as you need to. Then return here and become soft spoken and skilled. Become real strength and gain true control.

A good friend of mine, Gary Acevedo, named this voice in our heads ‘Wilbur’. Since this voice comes from our brain I will refer to this voice in our heads as Wilbur throughout this article. Surrendering to Wilbur does not work because he will eat you alive. So the logical response then is to fight back with all you have to destroy him. Some have even gone to such extremes as yelling and screaming back at ourselves or yelling and screaming out into the world to overpower this voice. Wilbur is a part of you and you are trying to destroy part of who you are. Now some parts of us are worth destroying but Wilbur need not be destroyed. Wilbur is only the expression of the computer/logical parts of ourselves. Do we want to destroy our ability to reason? No, of course not, but if we don’t learn how Wilbur works and more importantly how to get Wilbur on our side we will be driven to our own destruction.

We win Wilbur over by learning to negotiate with him. We negotiate by asking questions. As I learned from Tony Robbins, years ago, a lot of people go through life asking poor quality questions. They ask themselves why they are such a loser. And your brain then perks up and says, “Hey, he just asked me a question so I’m going to answer him with all I’ve got because that is what I was created for.” Then your brain proceeds to tell you in numerous and detailed ways all the hundreds of reason why you are a loser. This is what happens when you ask negative questions of yourself.

If we direct constructive questions into Wilbur instead of asking negative based questions of ourselves we transform Wilbur. We can ask positively focused questions of ourselves that are based in reality. We can acknowledge how bad things are while also not giving in to the negativity. We can be in the world but not of the world. An example of a question that is not quite dealing with a difficult reality is this: let’s assume we’ve been asking ourselves why we are such losers. We realize this and redirect a positive based question back at ourselves instead. We ask ourselves, “Well, then, why am I such a winner?” Your brain of course will tell you hundreds of wonderful things about why you are such a winner. We grow in mental and emotional health, we believe in ourselves more, and begin to get past the pain of why we were feeling miserable to begin with.

The problem here is that we jumped over the growing part of what we needed to do to get out of being a loser. This is illustrated better by asking a question more directed at what we need to do to get out of trouble and grow more into success. Instead of asking why I am such a loser ask, “What can I do to get through this and be able to put it behind me forever?” Or, “How can I do what I need to do to overcome being a loser and turn into a winner?” This is an example of how we can acknowledge the current reality of a bad situation and begin to turn it into what we need to do to come closer to our dreams. We can be a realist, admitting the difficulty we are currently facing without giving in to the negativity and becoming a doomsday prophet.

Winning Wilbur over.

Persuading him to assist us with his great analytical skills through the power of questions. Stop letting this part of you work against you. This part of your psyche is still a valuable part of you and needs to be brought back into serving you – not destroyed nor overcome. How much stronger will we be working in harmony with ourselves instead of warring inside of ourselves?

Ask positive directed questions instead of a negative directed question.

The replies come instantly. Instantly see the answer. The replies come as soon as you have put the picture up in your head. The replies come even before you have finished asking your question. As soon as we say, “How can I . . . “. Our mind has already formed answer pictures. Are you seeing the pictures?

Take what we don’t like in the answer, form it in a positive directed question, put this back into your original question if necessary and ask again.

Repeat until we feel good AND are making real progress.

Repeat until you are fully satisfied that what you have will work and is what you want, and/or until you need to take action. Taking action will take up most of your time.

Example: You look to see what is producing your current state of negative questions. What is Wilbur currently saying (the loudest) that you don’t like? You realize you’re being told all the wonderful reasons why you are such a loser. You realize you are asking yourself, “Why am I such a loser?”. You have to start with that you are a loser. You cannot have your first question be, “Why am I such a winner?”. This question jumps over getting you out of being a loser. What you want to ask first is, “How can I get out of being a loser?”. And you instantly start getting answers. Answers like: go back to school, be nice to people, earn more money, and on and on the answers keep coming.

Now we are at stage 2. At stage two we want to incorporate our new nice answers back into our original question. We do this for two reasons. One is to keep our momentum going. And, two, the main reason is to refine our momentum.

It is important to redirect our questions directly at Wilbur. Direct your question to exactly where Wilbur is coming from within yourselves. This let’s Wilbur know that you are talking to him and it also holds him accountable because he knows you are changing the nature of his answers with your positive enforcement questions.

We now look at the positive self talk answers we are getting and see what we don’t like about the answers. And put that back into the question. Let’s say we don’t like that we need to go back to school. So we ask, “How can I be less of a loser, go back to school, and enjoy it?” Or ,”How can I be more of a winner, go back to school and enjoy it?” Or, ”How can I become more of a winner by going back to school and enjoying life?” Yes, at this point we are more into the positive directed questions. We have already acknowledged where we we’re at and started the progress to go in the positive direction that we want to move more into.

Now to stage three: At this stage we begin to pour into our question everything we want to happen. We shoot for the stars knowing that if we fall short (and we almost always do fall short) we will hit the moon. Our question can now contain such things as, “How can I be an incredible winner who enjoys life, makes $1,000,000 a month after taxes, have many close friends who are also healthy and successful, while I go back to school, and have this all happen by next week?”

Now we have a very powerful question.

What are your answers? Continue to put your answers – positive and negative, back into your next question.

A word of warning. The usual reason someone wouldn’t do this is because it is too much work. They are already being eaten alive by life and Wilbur combined. They have no room at all to work any harder. To these people I cry, “Create room!” The truth is that they do have room to do this but the room to do it is so small they believe they don’t have any more energy to work harder. To this I answer that this work is only harder at first. This starts the process to gain more energy to be able to work even harder down the road because you have more energy.

Look. Either you can do this (ask effective questions) or you can go back to being eaten alive. This work brings immediate relief and in time will get you where you want to go in life.

You are already working like a mad dog. You are already working hard. You are already working. Don’t you want to work smart?

? Toby Jensen

Contributor: Toby Jensen

Published here on: 23-Jan-11

Classification: Development


MSWord: Transforming the self-critical voice in our heads.doc

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