Recognizing and Revising Self-Talk Patterns


Inner Critic: “I’m not good at it; that’s why I can’t do it.”

Definition: The Inner Critic judge’s 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.

Identify: I had just gotten off the phone with my dad, I normally call my dad once a week just to let him know how things are going with me while I’m here at school. In the midst of our conversation I expressed to him that even though I am retaking the course I possibly failed my exam first exam; without noticing I say “No matter how hard study or try I feel like I’ll never improve.” In that moment I was selling myself short but realized I am at Clemson for a reason and have to believe in myself.

Revise: Instead of beating myself down I need to motivate myself from within. I need to reassure myself that I am smart enough, I can in fact achieve anything I choose to pursue and I am far from a failure. Instead of beating myself with “I can’t do it” and “It’s impossible” I need to start saying “Nothing is impossible.”

Inner Defender: “I would’ve made an A if my professor could speak English!”

Definition: The Inner Defender judge’s 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.

Identify: I was looking at my biology lab quiz from last semester, I started to realize that I didn’t pass not one quiz form last semester. In that brief moment I thought to myself “I would’ve done a lot better if I only had a better TA.” I thought that at times when I didn’t understand something it was her fault instead of mines, even when it came to our midterm having her say “I’m disappointed, I expected you all to do better”, in my mind I wanted to scream “We are a reflection of your work”; but in the end I just kept thinking it wasn’t my fault.

Revise: First off I need to stop blaming others for where I fall short as a student, even though a TA or professor’s job is to teach or instruct me it is in fact my job to make sure I fully understand the material at hand; I need to take the accurate responsibility that’s needed as a student.

Inner Guide: “I did this, so now I need to correct it.”

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.

Identify: It was Thursday the 16th , three days after my first chemistry exam and I had compared the answer key to my exam booklet. In the back of my mind I had some hope that I was going to at least pass, but unfortunately I didn't and in that moment I felt bad for myself, I felt like a failure.I thought that I was basically just night in the right field, as if I wasn't following the right path. But in the midst of all my feelings I had to understand that everything I am doing right now is for my dream; a dream that I have had since the tender age of 8 so I instead of breaking myself down I need to be my own cheerleader. Reassuring my self with encouraging words such as , "You can do this" , and "No matter what don't give up."

Part 2: Reflect

In all honesty I feel as though I have more than one inner voice, and not in a psychotic way but in a very constructive way in order to help better my self-improvement. The voices that I would say are my “default” setting have to be the inner critic as well as the inner guide. When reflecting on my past incidents of last semester when it came time to prepare for my chemistry exam, instead of giving myself positivity I’d constantly bury myself with criticism on how I failed my previous exam(s); going about things in that manner didn’t help anything but further worsen my anxiety and at that point I wanted to do nothing more other than change it. But even with changing my behavior I wanted to at least keep some form of constructive criticism, in order improve where I fall short when dealing with my academics. That’s when my inner guide comes into play I do in fact need some form of guidance, as well as criticism but in a broader spectrum. As opposed to continuously feeding myself negative comments I will have optimistic, thoughts as well as using phrases of encouragement such as “You can do this”, “Never give up” and “Fight for your dream, it’ll never be easy.” But I also need to be aware of where I am falling short with my responsibilities and tell myself to focus as well as be attentive so that I don’t fall behind like I did last semester.

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