Do you know how to shut down your negative self? That inner voice that tries to belittle and crush your dreams?
Whenever we try and do something that challenges us or is outside of our normal comfort zone, it can get a little scary. Initially when we first come up with a thought or an idea it is undoubtedly exciting and we cannot wait to get started. This initial buzz when we embrace a new challenge is our true feeling. It is unfiltered and comes naturally, without any conscious thought to get in the way.
So why is it then that as time goes by, as we countdown toward the day when we wish to put this idea into action, that we start coming up with reasons why we shouldn’t do it and allow our negative self to take control?
Self-doubt to a certain extent is a natural and normal emotion. I suppose it is there to protect us from doing anything that is a little too crazy or too dangerous for us. A survival mechanism instilled deep in our primal brain. Which is all very well and good, I mean it serves a purpose and I would rather have it than not. Without it, I’m sure we would all be riding motorbikes without helmets or engaging in crazy activities such as bungee jumping. (I cannot fathom how any sane person does this)
The problem here is that this primal emotion filters through to our conscious thoughts and enables us to feel fear and apprehension in the most trivial of circumstances.
Breaking the cycle
For example, I have a habit of always second guessing my decisions and I pick at everything I do. Is it the right decision? What will happen if I do this? How will it affect x person? My negative self and I constantly bicker and argue – I don’t always win.
I remember that when I wanted to quit my job I actually dithered for what seemed like an eternity. After making the initial decision, it took me a further 4 months before I handed in my notice.
Why did it take me so long?
So many different thoughts raced through my mind. The great kind, such as the excitement of what I would do next and the positive emotions associated with leaving behind the place that I detested so much. Of course then came the opposite thoughts and emotions regarding possible failure and the fear of what people would think of me.
You see the problem here is that many of my negative thoughts actually stemmed from external sources and not from inside my own head. It’s one thing if you are genuinely cautious about your plans but it is another totally different (and unhealthy) matter when you’re deciding your future based on the fear of being judged.
The ‘aha’ moment
This crucial moment for me is when I realised that my fear and negativity was purely the result of this. I knew what I really wanted, and I knew what I had to do and I actually felt guilty that I was denying myself this great opportunity to change my life.
Literally as soon as this realisation hit me, I opened up my laptop, wrote a rather short and blunt resignation letter, folded it up, placed it in a blank envelope and handed it in to my manager the very next morning.
The relief was immense. I had silenced my own doubts and fears and launched a pre-emptive strike on anyone that would dare to criticise me. I was bulletproof.
Confronting the beast
Just because you made that leap doesn’t mean you have silenced that voice forever. You have won the battle but the war is ready to be fought.
Now that you are finally focusing on a new challenge, these voices will surface from time to time and they may even grow stronger in line with any difficulties you may face. There will be times where you doubt that you have made the right decision. There will be times when friends and family will question you. You may even take a hit financially and the temptation to postpone your plans will be strong.
It really doesn’t matter what your goals are. Quitting your job or finally deciding to go travelling. Maybe starting a new business or even ending a relationship. Anytime that you begin to question yourself, just embrace these feelings for a moment and understand that they are natural and that every successful person goes through the same process.
If you stop fearing these thoughts, they soon lose their power
So get out there, trust your instinct and shut down your negative self!