Self-Narrative (Those Voices In Your Head)

by Lori Dwyer on March 28, 2012 · 11 comments

There’s a lot to be said for changing your own self narrative.

Most people have an internal voice. A conscious, a narrator, ‘The Thinker’ as Charlie the shrink likes to say. Writers– bloggers in particular– we’re good at what we do because we have a rich, loud, vocal self–narrative.

We tell stories to ourselves, all day.

It’s that inner story that is the voice that’s predominant in your thoughts most of the time– because that voice is your thoughts. It’s a speaker for your emotions, your subconscious, and pretty much all the other stuff that clutters up people’s brains, minds and psyches. It’s got a lot of crap to sort through. It’s no wonder that what’s it saying isn’t always correct.

Thoughts can be wrong.

It took me years to get this– just because the voice was saying it, didn’t mean it was truth. Some days the Voice was just as scared or pissed off or tired as it was. It wasn’t all of me. What it said didn’t always define me. It was just a part of me, and sometimes it told lies.

Lately, it’s been telling more.

You can slip to place, without even realizing it, where the voice in your head tells you so many lies that you begin to internalize them. You begin to believe them– it’s no longer just a voice that’s speaking your thoughts. Those negative phrases become part of your own core belief system.

Phrases like “I killed my husband.” Or “No one will ever love me again”. Or “I’m worthless and useless and nothing except a mother to my children, not a real person at all.”

That’s the kind of thing the voice in my head has been telling me lately. I know that’s not true. And I know how to fix this, how to shut the voice up. I’ve done it before. I think a lot of us have had to, when our self esteem slips.

It’s just a matter of speaking to yourself in a voice that’s louder, clearer. It feels hollow and fake, a fallacy at first– it is a fallacy at first, simple hollow words with nothing behind them. But you have to be your own cheersquad.

I’m replacing “I’m fucked” with “I’m awesome”. I’m replacing “I’m unlovable” with “There are a stack of people who love me, and there was a man who thought I was amazing.”

Replacing “I’m worthless” with “I’m Lori.”

It’s not easy (who ever said it would be easy…?) and it takes time– but only a matter of weeks, compared to living with a voice in my head that hates me for the rest of my life.

It took me most of my early twenties to learn to separate that voice in my head from who I actually am. I think it’s harder when you are a natural story teller– you narrate stories about yourself… and you believe them. But I also believe in self fulfilling prophecies. If those internal stories are negative enough… life will follow suit.

I am not my self narrative. It’s part of me, not all of me– it’s a product of me. It is the product of my core, my experiences, my past, my future. And it feeds back into all of those things as well.

But it’s malleable and changeable. And it has to start being… just kinder to me. I need to be kinder to myself.

I need to speak softly, nicely to myself. There’s no one else here who can.

post signature

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

In Real Life March 30, 2012 at 3:22 pm

This is so true! One of my daughter's teachers used to say, "Be careful with your self-talk" whenever she heard someone say something negative about themselves, like exclaiming that they can't do math, or that they were clumsy. She would go on to explain that you start to believe what you tell yourself, and that you need to be nice to yourself. It really stuck with me, and I still try to follow her advice, when I catch my inner voice being negative or hard on myself.


E. March 29, 2012 at 8:33 am

Great post. I know i find it so much harder to watch that inner self talk when I'm tired, stressed etc. But if we are able to be nice to ourselves who will be?

I know I often blog just to empty my head. In some ways the comments I get are better than that inner dialogue I have. I hope that the positive comments you get here help you with your self narration.


Melissa March 28, 2012 at 9:42 pm

YES! I felt like I had been struck by lightning when I had this realization. The voice in my head was definitely saying things that weren't true, and I had to train myself from going back down those same paths time and time again. It really is true how our inner dialogue changes our perspective.


Miss Pink March 28, 2012 at 8:55 pm

Oh gosh I love this post. I needed to read this.


Helen March 28, 2012 at 8:55 pm

Hi Lori. I read something about how to deal with the inner stories that really helped me when my marriage fell apart unexpectedly last year. Basically every one has these inner stories that play over and over, built up over the years. The technique was to name or label the stories almost like they are a movie and when they start to play in your head, use the label. It can be a bit silly like "the I'm not good enough" story or the "the woe is me story" or what ever suits you. And then every time they start to play use the label to identify it, so in your head you say "oh here we go, the woe is me story". It sounds weird when I write it but it really helped, it detaches you from the story and it stops it in its tracks.


Lizabella March 28, 2012 at 8:00 pm

The best advice my mother ever gave me was "change the conversation in your head".


A Daft Scots Lass March 28, 2012 at 7:04 pm

My inner voice is rather harsh and a hard task-master


Anonymous March 28, 2012 at 11:37 am

I am still my own worst enemy. My judgment is sometimes very weird and in direct opposition to what I think or seem to know I want to do. Why else would a mom leave her only daughter to bear her 17-week fetus with just her husband who knows no medical at all…. I am trying hard to rationalize why I did that and then why is she so accepting of my need to take care of myself. I am a jumbled emotional mess.


Veronica Foale March 28, 2012 at 10:32 am

My internal voice isn't quite as loud anymore, but I had to work on it. Now my internal voice says "Everything will be okay" because that's better than "nothing will ever be okay again".



Sharon @ Funken Wagnel March 28, 2012 at 10:31 am

You're so right. I remember ages ago, I heard someone say, 'listen to how you speak to yourself in your head. If you heard someone speak like that to a child, it would be unacceptable and that person would be asked to stop!'

That's what I try to aim for. If I wouldn't say it to a child, or even to another adult, what makes it ok to say such horrible things to myself?

I still have a lot of negative self-talk, but it's good to have something to aim for


Carly Findlay March 28, 2012 at 5:12 pm

My blog post today is a bit about coming to a sense of happiness. Encouraging people to tell themselves they're worth it. You are.


Previous post:

Next post: