Your inner voice: friend or foe?

Inner voice​Our inner voice is more active than we may realise. How often do you feel hurt or rejected by words from friends or colleagues? How many times, even in a single day, do people say ‘things’ to you that leave a sting? At a deeper level do we say things to ourselves which leave us paralysed?

However well intentioned, and whether invited or not, we all offer comments or feel the need to express our thoughts. Should we ignore these comments and thoughts, or is there is a better way?

Our own inner voice​

There are several things to consider. Firstly, we all have an inner voice, our internal dialogue, which filters what we hear and think. It can be like a guardian seeking to protect us, or like a gremlin, telling us what we should and shouldn’t do. But, by stopping to ask yourself what’s going on for you in any given situation, you take a proactive step towards becoming a master of your own thoughts, and thereby life.

Positive voice

Just maybe your internal reaction, your inner voice, is acting as a positive silent witness. Is it warning you regarding a course of action? To try something in a new way? Maybe it’s reminding you of ‘what happened the last time you tried.’

A positive voice asks us relevant questions and serves as the mouthpiece of what we could call our ‘compassionate internal witness’ – a positive part of us (let’s call it Self 2) that is observing our real self (let’s call this part Self 1) while we are doing whatever it is that we are doing. Listening to this positive voice requires reflection and time out – and can lead to great insights about our past, present and future.

Critical voice

On the other hand, this voice can be a critical negative influence. ‘Who gives you the right to think you can do that?’ or ‘I told you that would happen if you tried’. A critical inner voice undermines our confidence, acting more like a critical parent making us shrink and feel insecure.

It robs us of the confidence to do whatever it was we were about to do.  Such a critical voice builds on negative or limiting beliefs – creating the environment for self-sabotaging beliefs. Often these thoughts are deeply ingrained and difficult to shift. Does this sound all too familiar?

Here’s a ‘trick’ learnt whilst studying NLP – try turning the voice in to something that will make you laugh. The next time you recognise that voice, dub it over with Mickey Mouse (every time). As we learn more about Positive Psychology, laughter and happiness are key to life’s riches. Another way is to imagine the voice coming from a radio – and deliberately turning the volume down. Like learning any new habit, learning new ways of thinking takes time – so keep at it.


Reflect back on how you listen to, and consider your inner reaction to others, your inner voice. What is it saying? Perhaps it can be your friend and ally, acting as your early warning system.  What business situations have you been in when you have made assumptions that later proved to be false.  Whose inner voice were you heeding, yours or a critical parent’s? Is there a pattern and if so, what is it?  What can we learn from this?  Do we need to change any beliefs or behaviours?  Are we postponing  action because of our inner critical parent?


We work with with our clients to help them understand more of themselves in order to facilitate achievement of personal and professional goals. Very often seeing something in a new and profound way can have remarkable affects on our lives. Exploring your own inner voice (whether friend or foe) raises awareness and understanding. It is only by going through such a process we gain fresh insight facilitating new confidence and the ability to move ahead. Get in touch today if you are interested in exploring more.

If you are interested in learning more about how the mind works – have a look at Edward de Bono’s book ‘How to Have a Beautiful Mind’ ISBN 009189460-3 – it is an interesting approach to sharpening the mind and the way we communicate.

Author: Kay Weijers and Mark Bateman March 2013. Image HikingArtist.