Word Count: 1052
Estimated Reading Time: 5.3 minutes
“The voices you believe will determine the future you experience.” – Pastor Steven Furtick
Voices in my head
Who do you think you are? No one wants to read what you write. You should just quit writing. Someone else could have written it better. What makes you think this time will be different if you failed before? This is just a snapshot of the voices I hear in my mind. Does this ever happen to you? For many, all looks calm on the outside but our minds are battlefields. The missiles of lies tirelessly working to destroy the truth of who we really are. In our minds, our identity is either affirmed or questioned. The thoughts we think are influenced by the voices we choose to believe.
The strongest voices seem to come from within us. Charles Spurgeon once said, “…we carry our worst enemies within us.” The strength of the inner critic is not in its volume but in the effect it has in our lives. The battle of negative voices and self-defeating thoughts is real. They stagnate us as they fill our minds with an endless list of toxins like fear, doubt, panic, worry, comparison, insecurity, discouragement, condemnation, guilt, regret, anxiety, hopelessness, and even depression. Voices lead to choices. And choices lead to lifestyles. Constructive or destructive. How then, can we silence our inner critic that constantly works to undermine our true identity?
The Right Diet
I believe that it first depends on the voices we choose to entertain, feed, or respond to. The right diet of affirmative words, architectural thoughts, and authentic actions are instrumental in starving the lies from the inner critic and feeding truth to build us up. I have used this diet to remain consistent in writing as well as in life and discovered it works to defy the inner critic and win the war.
1. Speak affirmatively
Part of proper vehicle maintenance is alignment. When a vehicle is out of alignment, it begins to pull in one direction. Vehicle performance suffers. The tires wear prematurely and unevenly. Our inner critic causes misalignment between our present and future. We begin to pull toward wrong directions or futile distractions. Our energy is drained. Our productivity suffers. But this doesn’t have to be the running script of our lives.
I have learned that feeding my thoughts with healthy words silences my inner critic. Just like taking my car to an authorized mechanic to fix the alignment issue, I take my mind to an authorized source to keep it aligned. For me, this source is the Bible. There I find the affirmations that I speak daily to feed my mind and stay in alignment. I also drink deeply from books that are nutritional in truth. Affirmations break negative thought cycles and strengthen or steady our minds when the inner critic or chatterbox speaks. The way to break destructive thoughts is with constructive words. Here are a few of my affirmations:
- I am a child of God.
- I am a person of excellence.
- I was created with and for a purpose.
- I serve others.
- I am an encourager and builder of other people’s lives.
A constant memory of these affirmations keeps my thought life pure and healthy. What affirmations do you tell yourself daily? Your self-talk is more often than not a reflection of your self-worth.
2. Think architecturally
The phrase, you are what you think carries plenty of weight in our lives. As we speak affirmatively, we must learn to think architecturally. Before architects draw on paper, they begin with a purpose. They understand that the purpose of the building dictates the details of the drawing.
In the same manner, we must learn to think purposefully not aimlessly. There are thoughts that we should embrace while there are others that we should evict from our minds. Next time a thought comes, first ask yourself, “Why am I thinking this way?” This digs into the origin of the thought. It’s a question of intervention that ensures we do not become mental hoarders of thoughts that clutter our minds and limit our vision.
The second question to ask is, “What purpose does this thought serve?” This is a reflective question that sifts out the negative thoughts that empower our inner critic. Eventually, thinking architecturally moves us to act in a manner that aligns with our identity, hopes, dreams, values, purpose, and passion instead of keeping us tethered to our fears, insecurities, worries, or regrets.
3. Act authentically
Actions are the signature to our thoughts and words. Without action, words and thoughts remain empty. The best of intentions are weightless until action is tied to them.
By taking action even when I don’t feel like it, I have repeatedly confirmed this observation by Norman Vincent Peale, “Action is the great restorer and builder of confidence. Inaction is not only the result but the cause of fear.”
Our ideas, hopes, dreams, and goals remain buried in the cemetery of inaction until we decide to act on them. Author Steve Maraboli encourages, “Take action! An inch of movement will bring you closer to your goals than a mile of intention.”
But any action taken should be authentic. It starts with being you. Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself, everyone else is taken.” Acting authentically means walking your talk. This means applying integrity and sincerity to everything we do. Every day I do my best to live out my affirmations. I have found that this congruent posture of words, thoughts, and actions mutes my inner critic.
Don’t sabotage your life with actions that are inconsistent with your values, identity, or purpose. This misalignment only provides ammunition for your inner critic to use later to devastating effect. But authentic action in the right direction leads to desired results.
Final Thought: We rise above our inner critic by having proper alignment with our words, thoughts, and actions. We starve it and stave off its onslaughts. We limit its ability to keep us stuck in negative thought cycles. Furtick poses this question in his book, Crash the Chatterbox, “What great deeds are in danger of remaining undone in your life because of lies that were planted in your past or fears that are looming in your future?” Silencing your inner critic is a big part to answering this question.
Keep on keeping on!