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The War in Your Head...

Positive Psychology and Internal Dialogue

Have you ever had days when your negative voices in your head outweigh the positive about everything? You think that you aren’t deserving of anything, your body is the most poorly designed shape known to mankind and you think you’re not good at anything.

Where do these internal messages come from? And why do we let this internal dialogue be so influential that it sabotages our feelings, thoughts and actions?

The grandparents of psychological research, practice and experience, Aristotle, Freud and Jung, all suggest a similar theme – that our childhood shapes our life. They claim that by the time we are seven years old we have made a million decisions about how we are going to live our life. You often hear this being called having a life story, a life script or a life plan. This plan comes from these early decisions which are based on how we interpret and experience childhood events. It is thought that what grown-ups tell us in our childhood greatly influences how we perceive ourselves. If we were told often enough that we were stupid, would amount to nothing, were beautiful, a good helper, or like a particular relative, it is likely we accepted this labelling and decided how we would live this out. This may sound outlandish however, but think what it’s like for a child. They have a lack of power relative to grown-ups, they are physiologically unable to handle stress, they have an immature thinking ability and capacity, they lack information and options; no matter how bad the circumstances, children cannot leave.

When I was a child the decisions I made and messages I received were in the context of being a child. Then how come I still pay so much attention to these messages now I am a ‘rational’ adult and can supposedly see them for what they really are?

As adults (sometimes in early adulthood or as adolescents) we begin to realise that some (if not many) of the messages of our inner dialogue are quite unfounded. Sometimes people wake-up to this and change the message. Others encounter a life crisis in the form of health, financial, relationship or loss that forces a re-evaluation of life purpose and attitudes. You have probably experienced this yourself to some extent or at least come across someone w