Though we think things will change by first altering our behaviors, this is like taking care of a plant by massaging the leaves, rather than looking at the soil and roots. Like the soil and roots, behavior redirection starts with an evaluation of mindset and beliefs and working to evaluate personal mindset before acting. In this self-study, we will be evaluating three inner voices that influence our attitudes and behaviors. Some of these voices are very positive and encouraging, others are negative and disparaging. By choosing which inner voice we follow more, we can alter who we listen to and ultimately start redirecting to more positive voices.
The three inner voices
"Sometimes your biggest critic is you"
Definition: The Inner Critic judges self, blames self, complains about self, and demeans self. Its positive intention is to protect self from failure, but the actual result is either a partial attempt or no attempt at all.
"Sometimes it feels like the problem is everyone but you"
Definition: The Inner Defender judges others, then blames them before self-assessment takes place. Once blaming an external takes place, complaining about the external and demeaning the external replaces problem-solving and escape occurs. Its positive intention seems to be fending off criticism and punishment from others.
"Honest self-reflection is key"
Definition: The Inner Guide offers an objective and wise perspective about ourselves and others. It doesn’t self-demean; it doesn’t attack. Our inner guide tells us the absolute truth and allows us to be more conscious of reality, other people, and ourselves.
If I were to summarize my default inner voices, I'd say it's two part tragedy starting with inner-defender followed by inner-critic. My folks once told me "A small minded individual blames other people, and average minded individual blames entropy of circumstance, and a high minded person asks what can be solved". To say the least, my mindset has always been a walking tour through the first two. When the world fails to deliver on my expectations, the first man I vilify is always myself, and over time, the only man to blame is myself. But instead of working through a solution, I typically fall into the trap of self-loathing. This is also a pretty bad trap to fall into; self-loathing in a sense, is just another way to rationalize why the only outcome was failure. If I can convince myself i'm incompetent, then I have no reason to believe there was ever a positive outcome
"I failed because my teacher is incompetent" or "I failed because I am incompetent"
The inner voice that always gets conveniently left out is inner-guide; or an honest evaluation of our failures and potential solutions. When I'd failed a test, I'd usually blame the curriculum, and then myself, and the then that would be the end. What I should be doing, is asking questions.
"Why did I fail"
"-and how can fix this?"
By asking and exploring these simple ideas, I can start to see positive growth through failure, and potentially increase odds of success.