Taming our Inner Monologues
21 February 2020
Everyone has that little voice in their head, something we often call an inner monologue, narrating our life. Maybe it doesn’t sound like Morgan Freeman, but it is always there – an ever-present commentator who knows our innermost thoughts and feelings.
This can be exceptionally useful – our inner monologue can help us find coherence within our thoughts, bounce ideas without fear of embarrassment and entertain ourselves when our phones run out of battery.
But our inner monologues can also be debilitating. They are generally the primary drivers of our own anxieties, and often tend to question our choices:
What if I fail?
What if people hate my idea?
What if everyone laughs at me?
It is up to us to answer these types of ‘what if’ questions. If we take a negative approach – believe that failure is the end, that everyone will hate the idea and laugh at the concept of you speaking up – then we have already lost. What is the point of trying when things look so pessimistic? We make excuses, and put in less effort – at least then we’ll be able to absolve ourselves of blame if (and in our minds when) things don’t pan out.
Thankfully, many people don’t think this way. When asked such questions – by either their inner monologue or other people – many answer positively, and present an optimistic view of the world. ‘Maybe I will fail, but that’s okay, I’ll just give it another shot’. Or ‘maybe people will hate the idea and have a good laugh, but that doesn’t matter, I believe in it’.
This perspective is what confidence looks like. An unshakeable belief in one’s own abilities, and the knowledge that whatever happens we will still succeed. It’s an optimistic take that we can handle whatever the world throws at us.
Confident people are generally less anxious about their place in the world, show much greater motivation to succeed and more resilience when things go wrong, and often have stronger relationships. They also aren’t necessary extroverted – plenty of people are quietly self-assured of their capabilities without outwardly expressing it to the world at large
But what makes a confident person? It is widely accepted in modern psychology that whilst confidence is partially innate, at least half (and likely more) of an individual’s confidence is the result of how they are raised. No one is truly born confident – although some are more likely to grow up self-assured than others, there is plenty we can do to push the process along.
How we can help
Taming our inner monologues can be hard, but we know which tools work – check out our programs to learn more about how our public speaking and debating programs can help kids change the narrative and build self-confidence.