Why it’s important to know who’s on your Inner Council

Inside our heads can get busy and noisy. Have you ever noticed that the same voices turn up and start directing you, and more than often, it is they that make you emotional? Each voice will be connected to a specific pattern of talking to you and has probably been with you for a long time. This strategy helps you to lessen the grip from this demanding group of directors, and connects you with your wise and intuitive board of directors.

In adult life you can become the director of your own mind and determine who is making the decisions. For most of us, we are unconsciously aligning with the conversations going on in our heads.

Change maker and author, Gary Yardley has identified three default communication styles that can happen when we face conflict situations. These habitual styles area activated when we are not feeling safe, and move to protect ourselves. They are the Persecutor, Rescuer and Victim. Each is designed to help us cope with feelings of fear, stress, shame, guilt and other uncomfortable emotions. The Persecutor goes on the attack, looking to put the blame external and often uses anger and criticism. The Rescuer seeks to smooth over and avoid the conflict, wanting to appease others and gain their approval. The Victim takes a passive stance, feeling helpless and shrinking away to cope with feelings of loneliness and inadequacy. While these three patterns can be triggered to cope with an external situation, they can equally happen in our internal minds over a perceived slight.

Typically, we tend to have one of these patterns as a dominant default in times of stress and uncertainty. First step is to notice. Pay attention to how are the voices in your head showing up. Recognise who is on your inner council or board of directors. You may notice they are behaving like a bunch of kindergarten kids who are running amuck in your head, rather than a wise council. The Persecutor is the critic, pusher, controller or perfectionist who is telling you everything that is going wrong with you and criticises your decisions, and blaming you. The Rescuer is the fixer who feels useful by focusing on sorting out others’ problems, while self-sacrificing and appeasing to avoid facing what is really going on the inside. The Victim is self-absorbed in making comparisons with others, leaving you feeling a failure, inferior, isolated and a complete loser.

An alternate approach is creating a functional board of directors and turning to them when you are feeling uncertain. It is a more resourceful option and gives some breathing space, creates positive momentum. The alternate styles are called the Explorer, Builder and Encourager.

The Explorer looks for options and possibilities, and asks you “What if?” The Builder finds ways to make things happen, and places attention on “What are the next steps?”. The Encourager puts positive supportive energy behind my ideas. When I’m feeling uncertain, the Encourager asks, “What do I need right now, to do this well?”

The Explorer fires up a sense of discovery, “What are my options right now?” This immediately gives me a sense of choice, and space. Or I might think about what the Builder wants to know, “What can I do right now, what resources do I have available?” Or I gently place my hand on my heart and the Encourager says, “You’re safe, you’re ok, right here, right now. I’ve got your back.”

If you want to discover more about taking charge of your self-talk, Reform Your Inner Mean Girl – 7 Steps to Stop Bullying Yourself and Start Loving Yourself, by Amy Ahlers and Christine Arylo puts the spot light on the patterns of our inner mean girls. They introduce a seven-step program to help women transform their relationships with themselves from self-sabotage to self-love and getting in touch with a much more powerful voice— Inner Wisdom.

If you would like to find out more about your pattern, there is an online self-assessment called the “Inner Mean Girl Quiz”.

When you learn to listen to the voice inside of you that truly knows what’s best for you, that loves you unconditionally and that is always on your side – your Inner Wisdom — you finally start to FEEL all the success, happiness and love you’ve been working so hard for.

Amy Ahlers & Christine Arylo, Transformational Teachers