Name that Negative Voice

Why you should name your negative alter ego (aka that negative voice in your head)

Your negative imposter syndrome voice If you follow me on Instagram you know I talk about Evila – that negative bitch voice that brings me down, that tends to get out of control, that catastrophizes, that says stuff to me that I would never ever, never ever say to my friends or loved ones. Throughout my life growing up, my negative voice has said some pretty messed up things:

“You are ugly AF.”

“You are fat. Why can’t you be skinny like your white girlfriends?” Yes, that my Evila talking to me in my preteen years – a time when my curves showed up early – hips, thighs, belly, boobs… you name it.

“You are behind in life. Everyone else is doing so well and kicking ass. What are you doing?”

“You don’t belong here. Everyone here is smarter than you.”

“You are not a podcaster. Stay in your lane, doc.”

“Why did you take that break? Now you’re behind and you’ll never get everything done.”

Don’t ignore that negative voice

When we say these things out loud, they sound silly, right? These negative voices aren’t you, but they do take up space in your brain. I grew up hearing, “Ignore those voices.” But my advice to you is – don’t ignore these voices. Because then those statements pile up in a huge pile of trash in your brain, and now you’re stuck with smelly trash in your beautiful brain. Instead, name it. Name that negative voice. Why? This is a useful psychological tool for managing and understanding them.

Giving it a name separates it from your sense of self

Naming your negative voice gives it a persona. The more you separate from it, the more you’ll realize that your negative voice is not an inherent part of who you are. You are your own identity, and you can change. By naming it, we can visualize it as a separate entity from ourselves, which makes it easier to identify and combat when it arises. Whether you give it a silly nickname like “Negative Nelly” or “Critic Cathy” or a more serious one, like “Self-Saboteur,” the key is to distinguish it from your true self. This separation helps you realize that your negative voice is not an inherent part of who you are (it’s NOT), but rather a learned behavior that can be unlearned. Acknowledge them, know why you’re triggered, and figure out how to combat them by starting a dialogue against them instead of listening to them. 

This dialogue now created empathy for yourself 

By naming and listening, we create an understanding of underlying emotional issues that make this negative voice arise. Instead of ignoring those negative thoughts, sit with them for a moment and ask yourself, “What’s really going on here?” This creates an open dialogue with yourself and allows you to better understand the underlying emotional issues that make this negative voice arise. By doing so, we create space and empathy towards ourselves. We regulate these voices instead of letting them take over. Seriously – try it. This is game-changing stuff here. 

Instead of being consumed by these shitty thoughts, we can distance ourselves from them 

When there is a name, acknowledgment, distance, and regulation, we can remind ourselves that the negative voices are just thoughts and not reality. As you start to recognize and regulate your negative voice, you empower yourself to actively challenge it. This is where the real magic happens – when you put a name to your negative voice, you feel more confident in challenging it. For example, the next time “Self-Saboteur” starts whispering in your ear that you’re not doing enough for your family or that you’re not a good enough mom, you can respond and say, “Hey, Self-Saboteur, I recognize that you’re here, but I’m not going to let you control me. I am enough.”

We take control 

Do you ever notice that your negative voice cycles into this crazy domino effect where the conclusion is that the world is ending or you are going nowhere ever? Naming empowers us to take control over our thoughts and responses. By actively engaging with our negative voice, we create an awareness of its triggers and patterns and how to counter them. The more we challenge it and come up against it – the more we notice that it’s just a nasty little voice and not a reality. We take control.

Naming your negative voice is a powerful tool for building resilience and fostering a positive mindset. It’s easy to get caught up in negative self-talk and feel like we’re not enough, but by giving our negative voice a name and acknowledging its presence, we can start to break free from its hold. Remember that these negative voices are not a reflection of who we are, but rather a learned behavior that can be unlearned. So, the next time “Negative Nelly” or “Critic Cathy” starts to chime in, challenge it and say, “I hear you, but I’m not going to let you control me. I am enough.” By doing so, you’ll cultivate a more positive and empowering mindset and achieve the peace you deserve.

This process will help you reprogram your thinking patterns, increasing self-confidence and improving mental well-being.

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