Give Your Negative Inner Voice a Name

Our inner critics can be downright nasty to us. They tell us we’re not smart enough or talented enough or attractive enough. And even if, deep down, we don’t believe that’s true, the inner critic can be hard to ignore. After all, it’s our own voice and our voice should be trustworthy.

Reddit user u/telarpita4me has a suggestion: To distance yourself from your negative inner voice, give it a name:

Give the negative voice a name in your head and any time you think something negative, tell that name to stop it.

When you associate a name with it, it’s no longer you saying it, it’s them. We don’t typically have a defense mechanism for ourselves against ourselves but we do against external comments.

“But what if external comments are right?” That’s the negative voice. You are doing the best you can with what you are dealing with.

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This is a method backed by mental health professionals, including psychologist Christa Smith, who writes for Psychology Today that naming your inner critic allows you to see it for what it is.

When you name your critic it loses some of its power because you are acknowledging that you are not the problem. You don’t need to be fixed. The real problem is that you believe everything the critic is telling you.

Once you’ve decided to name your inner negative voice, you’ve got to pick the right fit. Commenters on the Reddit post came up with a few suggestions, including Bartholomew, Kevin, Jane or Chad (because “no one likes a Chad”—sorry, Chads).

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But the best suggestion comes from u/DixonReuel:

I call mine Wesley. As in Wesley Crusher.

“Oh, shut up, Wesley!”

Works every time.

Your negative inner voice doesn’t stand a chance against Captain Picard.


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