The problem with your inner voices is that they are usually lying. And not only do they lie, but they manipulate you, twist the truth, and even make you believe the lies. They’ll even tell you two opposing lies (both extremes)…and you’ll believe them both.

7 Keys to Overcoming Negative Voices

Two Voices – Both Lies

My inner voices are tricky. One voice tells me this:

You are where you are in life only because of dumb luck and because of others.

That is the first lie.

Another voice tells me:

You got where you are in life only because of hard work, determination, and because you are just that special.

That is the voice I actually like to listen to. This voice lifts my head up high, puffs my chest out, and makes me feel good about myself.

The problem is that both voices are lies.

The problem with extreme voices

The biggest problem with extreme voices like this is that they have a certain appeal. For example, if you are responsible for nothing, then nothing is your fault. If “dumb luck” is responsible for the good stuff, then “dumb luck” is to blame for the bad stuff, too. The same is true for the voice that says it all depends on you.

Both make you feel better about yourself, but the result is either a depressing weakling or an arrogant jerk. No one likes either of those.

That’s the dark side of your voices. They manipulate you, play on your emotions, and distort reality.

So, how do you overcome those voices? Here are 7 keys.

Overcoming the Negative Voices

1. Put them in writing.

When you write out what your voices are telling you, you quickly realize how ridiculous they are. One voice will say you are too old and the next day another will tell you that you are too young.

When you put them on paper, you see their tricks. You see the manipulation and distortion.

If you need a guide, grab this free worksheet to put your fears and negative voices on paper.

2. Review them regularly.

The only way to truly understand the tricks they play is to review them regularly. Writing them down is the first step, but when you go back and read what they’ve said in the past, it will expose the lies.

Negative voices hate when you share them with others. It exposes their lies.

You will see their tricks, which makes the next steps easier.

3. Share them.

Negative voices hate when you share them with others.

Your friends and family are more objective than you. They are also generally more positive about you than you are about yourself. The negative voices run and hide from the positive encouragement of others.

4. Eliminate the extremes.

As in my case, our voices like to operate in extremes, but the reality is that life is lived out in the gray areas. “You’ll never lose this weight” is not true. Neither is “I need to lose thirty pounds by next week.”

All or nothing thinking misses out on the gray areas of life. Our voices want us to see our lives only in terms of dramatic failures, catastrophes, and unchangeable negative traits.

When you write out the extreme voices, follow them up with three more reasonable realities. Most of your life is not built on headline-worthy extremes. It’s a lot less terrifying and extreme than that.

5. Root yourself in reality.

Your voices will often have some truth to them. In my case, I am where I am as a result of hard work and others helping me. Both are true.

When I am rooted in reality, I see how on their own both voices are extremes. They are only lies by themselves. The reality is that I must work hard and rely on others.

Find the hidden grain of truth in the lies, piece them together and you likely have a better picture of reality.

6. Drown them out with positive thoughts.

While our brains certainly have the ability to hold two opposing thoughts at the same time, it’s harder for the negative voices to be heard when your mind is full of positive thoughts.

Here are some helpful posts on being more positive:

How to Use Positive StereotypesPredictive Encoding and Positive Thinking |

6 Ways to Train Yourself to be PositiveWhat Limiting Beliefs are Holding You Back?

Learn how to set positive expectations with this free workbook

7. Strip away their power by taking action.

The best way to fight back against your negative voices is to take action anyway.

The best way to fight back against your negative voices is to take action anyway.

Your negative voices are not crippling. Yes, they distort reality, they lie to you, and they might even fill you with fear. But they do not prevent you from taking action anymore than chewing gum prevents you from walking.

We are born with the amazing capability to hold a thought and perform any behavior at the same time. Thoughts and words are powerful, but they all not all-powerful.

If you care enough about something, just let the negative thoughts be. You don’t have to listen to them. When I work with coaching clients, one of the most important lessons they learn is they can function in the face of their negative voices and anxieties.

When you take action despite (or perhaps in spite of) your negative voices, you wield control over them. You show them that they don’t control you. And, over time, their power is stripped.

What do your voices say? How can others help? Share yours below and allow others here to support you as you overcome your negative voices.

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6 thoughts on “7 Keys to Overcoming Negative Voices

  1. Rick Siderfin says:

    This is very interesting, thanks Matt. I had never thought to go so far as to write them down, even. I think I fairly automatically go into “drown them out with positive thoughts” mode but a bit of careful self-analysis may stop them coming up in the first place!

    For me, the biggest breakthrough came after I studied the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. [I still have the original CDs of Dr Covey and listen to them regularly. Listening to powerful, uplifting audio is another brilliant way to overcome stinkin’ thinkin’ to borrow a phrase from Ziglar….]

    The 7 Habits taught me not to allow external events over which I have no control to affect my thinking. Since that time, it has been rare that I have ever been defeatist or resigned to failure.

    I’d like help with training younger children about positive thinking. Any tips for this? [In particular, my eldest son is 6 and needs help with this, but it’s quite a different challenge with someone so young.]

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      Good stuff Rick. For me, the writing them down part kind of gets them out there and when I read them, I realize how stupid they are. Something about the written word for me. Same is true for sharing them with others.

  2. Zechariah Newman says:

    Great Matt! Love the article, I write mine down as well;)

  3. Stephanie Robbins says:

    Thanks for the tips Matt. I plan to use them!

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      Awesome Stephanie!

  4. Heidi Bender says:

    Thanks Matt! This is very useful information.

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