Do you have a voice that tells you that you’re not good enough? You don’t deserve success. You’ll never amount to anything?
Perhaps its always been there.
Maybe you can even identify the source of this voice?
A parent whom you could never please. Or a teacher who told you that you’re just not very smart?
And no matter what you do… you always feel incomplete, inadequate and unworthy.
I know how you feel.
I’ve been there.
It was my life. All day, every day.
No escape… unless you count drinking – but the voices were always twice as loud the next day.
However, things changed for me when I discovered hypnotherapy… and not JUST because of the hypnosis.
The experience of hypnosis is amazing and I’d recommend it to almost anyone…
But there are some very powerful things you can do ON YOUR OWN to break out of a negative mindset.
#1 Be more specific
What is that voice actually saying? Don’t just accept it, challenge it.
I’m not good enough, for what?
Not good enough at tennis to be in Wimbledon this year? Maybe so.
But not good enough in general? Not good enough to be loved by someone decent? Not good enough to confidently claim my future?
Or like this:
I’m stupid, am I? According to what standard? Who decides? There’s surely plenty of people thicker than I am.
And no doubt plenty smarter too!
… BUT, let me say this:
If you’ve got a voice that always seems to drag you down then you’ve probably tried ignoring it. Maybe you’ve even tried reasoning with it.
What I’m telling you to do is something else.
Hold that voice to a higher standard of accountability. Make it justify its claims and take your successes into account before it makes such sweeping pronouncements.
Otherwise, I suggest that you pay it the same respect that you’d pay any other bully who swaggers around hurling obscenities at all-and-sundry.
#2 Incorporate evidence to the contrary
I am certain of one thing about you…
You have achieved something in your life. Whether it’s mustering up the confidence to apply for a job or winning a Nobel prize…
EVERYONE has had success in their life.
So, start like this:
DON’T compare yourself to the successes of other people.
If you’re swiping your way through Instagram fitness models or sizing-up your life against premiership footballers then I can guarantee you won’t find happiness there.
It’s not a fair comparison.
PLUS, these people are often terrifically depressed.
Compare yourself only to who YOU were yesterday/last week/last year.
And REMEMBER the successes you have had. Celebrate them. Re-live them and remind yourself how you did those things.
You can even try this exercise:
Think of a success you’ve had in your life. Something that brought you the pure joy of achievement.
Allow your mind to take you back there. Float down into your body, see what you saw and hear what you heard.
Get in touch with the feelings too.
Then pay attention to the way you were talking to yourself. Is there a voice you used to hear which has been quiet for a while?
Is it your voice or the voice of someone else in your head?
Start speaking to that voice again.
Ask it what you need to do to overcome the challenges you are facing now.
Rekindle that relationship with yourself.
#3 Practice compassion
There’s a secret key to unlocking a lifetime of peace and prosperity.
It’s totally counter-intuitive.
You’ve heard people talking about it… but maybe it never made sense to you as a strategy.
So, I’m going to explain exactly how it works:
Firstly – It’s not all about you.
Maybe you’ve gotten so used to replaying your mistakes over and over again.
You beat yourself up over every little slip-up; every minuscule faux-pas.
You forget that other people are conscious too… THEY are beating themselves up too.
They’re not thinking about YOUR mistakes.
Why would they!
Do you spend all day re-living the slip-ups that everyone else is making?
No! Of course you don’t.
I hate to say it but no-one really cares if you might have said something foolish, stupid or inconsiderate. Everyone else is too busy worrying if THEY have said something like that.
So be kind to people. Understand that other people are putting themselves through hell just like you.
And maybe, just maybe, you’ll find yourself becoming a lot kinder to yourself too.
#4 Think in terms of evolution
Who are you?
When your job, your possessions and your social media is taken out of the equation… who are you at the core level of your identity?
It’s an important question.
In fact, it’s vital.
The material circumstances of your life and the manicured social appearance we ALL present are NOT you.
Of course, you already knew this.
But how often do you remind yourself of this very important fact?
And equally important:
Who were you yesterday? Last week? Last year?
Even if it feels like you are going backwards in life, the breadth of your experience is always growing.
YOU are always progressing… AND you can always make small incremental improvements.
So, ask yourself this question:
“Where can I get to if I make the smallest possible improvement every day for the next year?”
365 improvements. Each one building slightly on the last.
What can I achieve?
That voice might tell you that it’s not enough.
Don’t listen to it – it obviously doesn’t see the big picture.
Other people may even tell you that you need to take massive action to affect real change.
Maybe you shouldn’t listen to them either.
One small improvement every day for 365 days.
Give it a go.
#5 Visualise yourself the way you want to be.
Words are powerful…
And a picture paints a thousand words.
Perhaps that’s why great works of art sell for such eye-watering sums!
Now, you can use the exact same strategy that great artists use to move their audience to demolish negative thinking.
Decide where you want to get to in life (you don’t need to know how to get there).
Next, imagine yourself right there, at the moment when you are achieving your goal.
Maybe it’s getting married, making friends or owning a company.
Make the picture DETAILED.
Imagine it at the front of your head and then gently tilt your head back and feel the picture slipping back through your brain and into the top of the brain stem.
This moves the picture into an area of the brain called the Reticular Activating System (RAS).
The RAS is like your autopilot – it gets you what you want in life.
Or at least, it gets you what you TELL it you want.
If you’re sitting around all day planning for disaster then your RAS will start looking for that.
AND, it’ll find it too.
So, don’t do that!
Plan and prepare for success. Rehearse it in your mind. Rehearse it so frequently that you forget it’s just in your mind.
It’s a core principle of hypnotherapy and you can implement it for yourself just by putting in the effort.
So, what’s stopping you?
#6 Practice gratitude
Alright, this one might be different than you think…
Gratitude is not just about being thankful for what you have. It’s not just focussing on the good and excluding the bad.
It’s not even reminding yourself that you have it so much better than others.
There’s more to gratitude that all that.
Practising gratitude will give you CLOSURE.
Being grateful is the act of saying to yourself:
Even though I still want X, Y and Z… I already have A, B and C. Now it’s time to focus on what I do have.
It STOPS your mind from racing away trying to solve the problems you have identified.
It literally IS peace-of-mind.
Here’s an exercise that will not just improve your levels of stress and anxiety – it will massively IMPROVE YOUR SLEEP too:
Every night, spend 3 minutes writing down 5 things you are grateful for.
5 things that have happened to you that day which were good.
They can be small things…
- I had an easy drive to work today
- I felt a little bit more comfortable over dinner tonight
- I enjoyed watching the latest episode of a TV show today.
Shift your mindset from problem to solution before you go to bed and see how much better you sleep.
And how much more positive you feel in the morning!
#7 Craft affirmations
So, you have a voice in your head that nags you, puts you down and belittles your success?
Maybe it’s time to add a new voice to the choir.
Remember, even if you have a voice that you can identify as someone else (parent/teacher/partner…) it’s still YOUR voice.
You created it by listening and repeating those words on the inside.
Over and over.
And, if you can make such a powerful negative voice then it stands to reason that you can create an empowering one.
Well, here’s how to go about it:
Figure out what a kind, encouraging and empowering person might say to you. Give it some real thought.
Don’t worry – you’ll never have to admit the kind of encouragement you crave to anyone.
You know what it is.
Go back over #1 to #6 and incorporate all of those ideas into what you want this voice to say.
Design simple, punchy and powerful self-affirmations that are meaningful to you.
Only you know what would be most powerful, but here are some ideas:
- “Even though I struggle with anxiety I am still worthwhile and deserving of respect”
- “Every day I am becoming a little bit more confident and outgoing”
- “I have been successful in work and I can have success in relationships too”
Above all, be positive, be kind and be YOURSELF.
Repeat these affirmations until they become an automatic part of you. Don’t listen to any negative voices that tell you what you’re doing is stupid.
They would say that.
They want to be heard and they don’t want you to replace them.
But it’s your head and YOU get to decide.
About the Author
Matt Cullen is a Clinical Hypnotist, Speaker, Author and the Founder of Unchain Your Mind. His techniques and philosophy of personal development form the backbone of all the change work that happens here.