It’s theorized that our inner voice, otherwise known as inner critic, develops as young as 12 months old; around the same time a child is first learning to walk and is told “NO” for the first time. The purpose of our inner voice is to act as a sense of right and wrong, and is a process that continues throughout our lifetime. However, our inner voice is often a negative voice and usually chimes to the tune of our parent’s voice. The more a parent acts in a negative manner towards their child, the more negative that child’s inner voice can become.
Parents play an integral part in the development of their child’s inner voice and self worth. Since a child’s survival is 100% dependent on their parent’s care-taking and love, children are innately inclined to please their parents and gain their approval. Everything a parent says or does acts as a message for their child to decode when they are developing their sense of worth and are figuring out who they are. When challenged with negativity and criticism, children have the choice to either listen to it or ignore it. The more we tune in to the negativity that surrounds us, the louder and more severe our inner critic becomes. However, children, more often than not, choose to listen to any negativity coming from their parents because to them they feel that they have to in order to survive. The more a child is treated negatively, the more they adapt and eventually even learn to tune out positive feedback that may come their way.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that a child’s inner voice has a definite impact on a child’s self esteem. When our inner voice is more criticizing than loving, it starts to damage our sense of self worth and who we feel we are. When an inner voice is filled with more negativity than positivity, it leaves us feeling worthless and undeserving. This is why it is so crucial that parents think heavily when deciding how to speak and act towards their children. A child trusts their parent more than anyone else in this world, so when a parent tells their child they are beautiful or ugly, stupid or dumb, bad or good, whichever it may be, the child will believe it and eventually start telling themselves the same thing—it eventually becomes apart of their inner critic.
The inner voice carries on throughout adulthood and as an adult if you find yourself not being able to properly care for your mental and physical health, your inner voice may be the reason. If you find yourself feeling depressed, talking down to yourself often, feeling unimportant, hopeless, or worthless, being embarrassed by genuine compliments, feeling burdensome, and worrying about others more than yourself, then it may be time to take a look at how your inner voice is dominating your life. It may be time for you to have a heart to heart with your inner voice and do some self-reflection.
Everyone has worth, and everyone has a purpose; it is the decisions you make and the voices you listen to that will get you to your happy destination. If you struggle with your inner voice, it’s nothing to be ashamed of; it just means that you might not have been given the positive regard, unconditional love, or attention that you deserved and are worthy of. Now might be the perfect time for you to discover how to get that. If you’re ready to shut that negative inner voice up and start leading the life you deserve then reach out for a helping hand because there’s one waiting for you to grab it. (This article was contributed by Ashley Campo, UCF psychology and counseling major)
Orlando Thrive Therapy, Coaching & Counseling has trained clinicians waiting to help you reach your true potential by focusing on obstacles that have been creating conflict in your life. Our counselors specialize in techniques that will help you develop a healthier and kinder inner voice. Letting someone who has the added expertise and experience in the mental health field assist you will help you move through this process more swiftly and get you back on track to a happier, healthier, and more positive life.