Swaziland
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FINE-TUNING YOUR INNER VOICE

Of the many very interesting facets that the human being is psychologically equipped with for communication, adaptation and survival, perhaps the most spectacular (of them all) is the fact that we are constantly in reciprocal communication with ourselves.

Quite literally, there is not a single point in time where we are not in an internal ‘back and forth’ conversation with ourselves. Of course this has a lot to do with us interpreting, understanding and keeping up with our external environment, however, all of it sort of revolves around us as individuals, how we see ourselves in the environment, our strengths and weaknesses and also how we perceive how others see us.

Cheerleader

To maybe put it on the ‘relatable’ table, think of it as that persistent, little voice in your head that is sometimes your biggest ‘cheerleader’ or your harshest critic; the little voice that is most times more judgemental than constructive pointing out your rights and wrongs, whilst other times it is your greatest source of confidence and esteem booster. Its subconscious nature - meaning sometimes you are not even aware you are doing it- is one of the reasons its credibility soars and like most things, people have given it different names something which is rather not unusual for as universal a feature such as this.

Reason

The reason I felt it worth putting on the spotlight on something as minute as this is because of the very significant role it plays in the maintenance of a clean, non-toxic mental and psychological environment in the everyday life of an individual. To others, it may sound far-fetched but when you are in a consistent (sub) conscious conversation with yourself, it only makes sense that whatever you think, act on and pronounce on yourself works together positively. People who grew up in harsh socio-emotional and psychologically threatening backgrounds, for instance, may have been subject to numerous times they had their intelligence, physical bodies and appearance spoken down upon or belittled which became engrained into their psychological makeup and as a result, they struggle to ‘break free’ from that perception of themselves even as they grow older. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that that person (assuming, with no professional help) would be able to breed constructive self-affirmation conversations within themselves about themselves; and this, unfortunately is the case with many of our friends and family.

For others, it is occurrences of tragically, traumatising events in their lives that sway that little voice against their favour. Losing a job, for instance, losing a long-term relationship and assuming the blame for it, or maybe experiencing a significant failure in your life. All these (amongst many others) can aggressively knock one’s self-belief and self-assurance, in the process, altering how they begin to see themselves in the aftermath of it all. The affirming and optimistic statements you previously had about yourself and the life you are living begin to fade and transform into consistent reassurances of self-hate, belittlement and disgust.

Also, because ‘who you are is who you are when you are alone’, the road to mental illness and disorders begins when all you do is keep playing back these opinions about yourself in your head over and over again until you begin to believe. This is how our brothers and sisters end up deciding to take their own lives because they struggle to cope and deal with these emotions. Inasmuch as our self-perception, confidence and esteem frequently get ‘knocked off their perch’, it is important to remain firm and consistently work on re-establishing what is good about yourself. Like a computer, programme yourself with statements that reaffirm your potential, delete the ones that don’t and importantly, keeps tabs on your everyday mental health. Send comments to runsford0505@gmail.com.