Mindset Recognizing and revising self-talk patterns

Part 1: Identifying three different inner voices.

Inner Critic "I'm not good at it, that's why I can't do it"

The Inner Critic judges self, blames self, complains about self, and demeans self. I can identify with this because I just 'finished' my calculus homework. I say it like this because I didn't actually finish it. I got to a problem that I didn't know how to solve and I got really frustrated and decided to quit. I thought to myself, "I'm too tired to try to work this out. And I since I can't do it, I might as well quit now and just take the bad grade" and this reminded me of what we had discussed in class about my inner critic. Telling myself that it is okay to not finish an assignment because I'm not smart enough to do it, is an example of my inner critic. Reflecting on this, I realize that there are a few ways that instead of demeaning myself, I can channel that energy toward my inner guide. For example, I should have taken a step back and instead of putting myself down and allowing justification of unfinished work, I should have thought to myself "Hey, its okay that you don't know how to do this right now. Why don't you schedule a tutoring appointment so that you know it for the test and next time start your homework well before its due that way you will have plenty of time to get the help you need!". This makes for a much less stressful situation and also makes it more appealing and motivating to start my work before its due so that I can use the resources I need to complete the work.

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

The Inner Defender judges others, then blames them before self-assessment takes place. I can identify with this because of my calculus class. My calculus professor is a Japanese man and although he speaks perfect English, his thick accent makes it hard for me to understand him. I recently got back an assignment that I did poorly on. My first thought was "Well maybe if my professor could actually speak English I would actually learn something and would do well on these assignments". This would be my Inner Defender speaking because I am blaming someone else for my own poor performance. Reflecting on this, I realize that there are many ways that I can channel this towards my inner guide. For example, when I get an assignment back my first thought should be "OK, how can I correct this?", and I should ask my professor for clarity or take it to a tutor and have them explain it to me.

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

The Inner Guide offers guidance and doesn't demean or attack self, or blame others. I can identify with this because today I got a parking ticket and where I would usually be really bummed out and probably blame the officer that issued the citation, I instead took it in and decided to pursue a more positive outlook. As soon as I got the ticket I called the university parking services and asked what my next steps should be. I then filed an appeal online and received a chance to get my ticket dropped. I was told I had to take a quiz on the parking rules and if I got a 100% on the quiz the ticket would be dropped. Because I used my inner guide and though "OK, this happened, its not the end of the world. How can I fix this", it not only taught me more about the parking rules and regulations but it also saved my money! Reflecting on this experience, I can honestly say that using my inner guide rather than my inner critic or defender really helped me to stay positive and learn from my mistake rather than refusing responsibility and blaming other.

Part II: Reflection

Before this assignment, my default "setting" was definitely inner defender. I am guilty, like I am sure most people are, of blaming other people first when something bad happens to me. My next reaction would be the inner critic voice. After I take responsibility for my actions, I try to justify myself. Like if I did poorly on a test I will tell myself "it's OK, it's just one test" instead of learning from that and studying earlier and more efficiently. After performing this experiment on myself I really want to change how I think. I think that everyone should have the inner guide as their default setting. Thinking in the inner guide voice helped me to learn from my mistakes and grow form the consequences in a positive way rather than a demeaning way. It allowed me to take a breath, take a step back, and self-correct. This is something that I think everyone should make a habit of. Now that I know how much better it feels to think in the inner guide voice, I plan to adjust my way of thinking by not being so harsh on myself or blaming others, but instead by taking full responsibility and learning from it.

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