How to Quiet the Voice in Your Head that Tells You “You Can’t”


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Image Courtesy of Colleen Eversman of 2nd Truth Photography

As previously seen on Wit & Delight

Have you ever noticed that (often) cruel little voice inside your head? It’s there second-guessing you, wondering if you said the wrong thing, did the wrong thing, were the wrong person. It can be loud. It can be hard to ignore. But we don’t have to listen to it. September’s theme is all about personal freedom—letting go of the limiting stories we’ve told ourselves that have historically held us back; allowing ourselves to change, to grow into the people we’re becoming. What if we learned to disregard the voice in our heads, the one that says “You are _____, so you can/can’t do _____.”

Today we’re sharing an essay contributor Liz Welle wrote in 2018, all about quieting that very unhelpful voice. We hope you’ll find some solace in her words. We hope you’ll pay attention to that voice as you go about your day, and then disregard it, just as readily.

I will preface this by giving my routine “I don’t have all the answers” schpeel, BUT! I have learned a few key things since I was recently booted out of the nest (fired from my job) and have had to re-work the way my brain has lived for twenty-seven years and although it’s a massive work in progress, I’m getting there, and I want to assist you if I can, should you be in a similar mental state as me which is usually some derivative of, “YOU CAN’T DO THAT THING YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE because of X, Y, and also Z.”

You don’t come into this world immediately assuming you’re not capable of achieving your dreams. No, instead you’re pummeled with messages that manifest into these little pathways in our brain that control the way you think! They’re extremely messed up little bugs just forging brain roads without your consent! You begin to assume you can’t accomplish what you want, well, partially because of someone else’s beliefs about how life works, about how YOUR life should work. But it’s all bullshit and let me explain why.

You start as a little kid assuming anything in the entire world is possible. That’s why it’s so fun to ask kids what they want to be when they grow up. They’re just like, “Well I’m going to be president of the United States or an astronaut?” like with this “I haven’t decided yet among every single option in the world please give me some time?” attitude. The speed in which we lose that confidence in ourselves (*cough* women *cough*) is absolutely devastating. You were born thinking you could achieve anything and somehow you taught your subconscious the opposite. But it’s merely a state of thought.

So, don’t believe your thoughts. I’m not trying to be all coffee table self-help book on you and tell you what to do and I know this is a very, very hard thing, but it’s something I repeat to myself all day every day and it *does* help. You have to realize that this voice in your head is not real. It *seems* real. You can hear it crystal clear. It’s not. It’s as fake as my eyebrows. It’s this imaginary little implant you’ve built inside of your head (the pathway bugs built it, remember?). You’ve built it purely with the help of other people’s negativity and a combination of your own self-doubt.

You have to realize that this voice in your head is not real. It *seems* real. You can hear it crystal clear. It’s not. . . . You’ve built it purely with the help of other people’s negativity and a combination of your own self-doubt.

Liz in my head is not nice at all. But she’s only a major b*tch to me which is soul-destroyingly and extremely exhausting. I’m guessing you’re the same way? You’d never in 8 million years talk to or treat another human the way you internally address yourself?

However, I’m recently starting this really odd thing where I force myself to believe ALL THE GOOD THINGS people say about me. Instead of brushing it off as just their way of making conversation or being nice. And it’s actually starting to work. I write down every single thing that someone says about me that makes me feel good. I screenshot every text and email. Put it all into a folder, or a corresponding journal. Put it on post-its and tape them to my mirror. Seeing these affirmations about yourself multiple times a day/week *will* definitely have an overall effect on the thoughts you have. They can be pretty powerful. (Note: It’s okay to ask your friends what you’re good at/what they love about you. I do this frequently and because they’re the best people in the world, they always answer. On a similar wave: Cleanse your life of people who don’t make you feel good. Are we still wasting time on negative relationships in 2018?)

So, to recap, here are my top 6 tips for quieting that voice inside your head that tells you “you can’t,” because we both know, you can.

  1. First, tell yourself that the voice inside your head TRULY is not real—it’s something you’ve made up over time with the help of other people or by compiling past negative experiences.
  2. Next, believe that your thoughts are your reality. The more you think positively about yourself the more your life will become more healthy and positive. Remember the law of attraction: You attract what you are and the energy you give off to yourself and others is very important.
  3. If you are having trouble with no. 2, talk to someone you trust. Start to integrate other people’s reality of you into your new thoughts, until they become YOUR reality.
  4. Make a list of all the things you’ve accomplished in your life thus far that you are proud of, both big and small.
  5. Next, make a list of why you cannot accomplish your future goals and ask yourself, “Is my self-doubt fear-based?” If it is, ask yourself, “What am I really afraid of?”
  6. Talk to yourself. Tell yourself every day, I believe in you. Tell yourself in the mirror, tell yourself with post-its in your bathroom, bedroom, and office. Words of affirmation really work.

You got this.