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Updated 28 Sep 2020

Why our ‘inner voice’ might be our biggest stumbling block

While our ‘inner voice’ helps us make decisions, another voice lives in our heads – one that’s evaluating our performance. It determines our value. 

Mimi Rupp, 10 October 2017  Share  0 comments  Print

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According toPsychology Today, the critical inner voice is a point-of-view we internalise early in life based on childhood experiences.

It can represent the way we were seen by an influential parental figure, particularly in times of stress when that person was at their worst and was harsh toward us in some way. As we grow up, we take on these negative views as our own, and the inner voice starts to function like a disciplinary parent holding us back and keeping us in our place. 

By the time we reach adulthood, we perceive the negative views of ourselves and the critical inner voice as part of our self-perception. Often, the inner voice and past insecurities hold us back in life, not a lack of intellect, knowledge or skills. And it takes a certain amount of drive, determination and perseverance to reach beyond your circumstances and rid yourself of a critical inner voice.

Related: Why you should be sharing your (entrepreneur) hardships

My advice: 

Identify the voice in your head

Start listening for the voice. The next time you succeed or when you fail, ask yourself, “what does the voice inside me like right now?” When you’re nervous or hesitant to try something new, there’s an inner narrative happening. What is it saying? If we’re going to be able to forgive ourselves and understand why we do what we do, this is key.

Establish whether the voice is helping you or holding you back 

I believe the voice inside most of us is holding us back. 

Avoid shame 

I believe it is one of the biggest barriers to forgiving ourselves. But was is shame? According to Dr Brene Brown, “shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.”  

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When we believe we are unworthy of anything, we make dangerous choices. If we believe we are flawed and, therefore, unworthy, we will struggle to accept forgiveness for our own mistakes, and as entrepreneurs me make and always will make mistakes. 

Life should be a journey of continual improvement, discovery, and growth towards a more complete individual. Lack of growth in life and career is so often self-induced sabotage – that inner voice or thought pattern. The only person who can change it is you.

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About the author

Mimi Rupp

Highly active in the local community as well as within business, Mimi is recognised as one of South Africa and Port Elizabeth’s most well-known female entrepreneurs. Recently named CEO Magazine’s Most Influential Woman in Business in South Africa, and she is using her experience to empower young entrepreneurs through her work and role at the Business Women’s Association and the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber.

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