The most important person you’ll ever ‘talk’ and ‘listen’ to is yourself! You can encourage yourself and be positive or you can criticism yourself, sometimes unnecessarily, and become negative. Constructive criticism is always good to listen to, whether it comes from yourself or someone else. I call the inner voice that criticisms you destructively the ‘negative gremlin’.

The negative gremlin is the persistent voice deep inside your subconscious mind that:
 makes you feel guilty about something;
 points out your faults, which are sometimes untrue;
 tells you that you can’t do ‘this’ or ‘that’;
 overlooks your strengths and good points;

 can make you feel powerless to change;
 when you have a set-back, says ‘I told you so’, ‘I knew that would happen’;
 reminds you of your weak points and previous failures;
 reinforces what other people may have told you in the past (which may not be true or be attempts to ‘put you down’ as sometimes jealousy may cause people to tell lies about you).

Parents tell children to be careful because they want to keep them safe. However, subconsciously this makes children worry about things and embeds fears into their subconscious minds. These can become limiting beliefs that can actually harm their self-confidence in later years at work and prevent them from succeeding and from taking calculated risks. We should encourage our children to challenge their fears, not reiterate them. Parents also tend to tell their children not to show off and that they should be modest. When they do this they are stopping young people from expressing themselves and from being creative. This can stifle their true personalities, which in turn affects the way they react when they grow up.

Our past experiences can influence our ability to handle the present. In order to change the way we think about ourselves and be able to increase our confidence and self-esteem, we need to bring these limiting self-beliefs into our conscious mind and work on making them into positive thoughts and positive beliefs about ourselves. Once you start to change your thoughts, your actions and reactions will change, and so will the way you are perceived.

The voice that we should listen to is our inner ‘positive coach’.
The positive coach is the voice that:
 looks at things with a positive frame of mind and dispels negativity;
 encourages you to improve;
 accepts you the way you are;
 encourages you to accept a challenge and enjoy it – ‘you’ll feel good when you’ve done it’;
 helps you to learn from mistakes and think about what you can do differently next time;
 helps you to get rid of the negative gremlins and focus on the future rather than be stuck in the past where you still acknowledge negative belief systems and habits.

Try to encourage the voice of the positive coach to talk to you more and dispel the negative gremlins. Then you will have a ‘sunnier’ outlook on life, you will enjoy your work and you will have self-esteem, self-belief and confidence.

The following are empowering questions to ask yourself in order to change the negative gremlins into positive actions:
 How can I turn this weakness into a strength – what steps do I need to take?
 How can I turn this problem into an opportunity?
 Who do I need to be to achieve my dream? Who could be my mentor?
 If I imagine what I would be like in one or two years’ time and look back, what lessons would I have learned? What steps would I have taken to get there? (This is a technique used in neuro-linguistic programming called timeline.)

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Sue France / Photo on Unsplash

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