As I continue to make my way through Andre Agassi’s autobiography, Open, I’m surprised to see how much stress and anxiety comes from his inner voice. He describes it as someone constantly yelling in his ear, pressuring him, filling him with self-doubt and harping on his imperfections. In many ways it’s debilitating to Agassi as a person and a professional tennis player. Eventually, he befriends a pastor who helps him realize that the inner voice he’s hearing isn’t the voice of God or the voice of truth, but the voice of his father. After years of being demorilized, humiliated and emotionally abused, Andre adopted his father’s negative words as his own.
Everyone has some variation of this pesky little voice inside of them. Some people call it their “inner critic” or the “voice of negativity,” but my all-time favorite is ” interior supreme judge.” Whatever you call it, it’s that curmudgeon that lives in your brain and tells you poisonous things like You can’t do that! or makes you wonder What if I’m not good enough? If you’ve ever chased a dream – or tried something outside your comfort zone – you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Kicking your interior supreme judge to the curb is critical because when you overcome self-doubt, you are free to create the life of your dreams. In the article, 5 Ways to Overcome Self-Doubt, Spiritual Coach, Fia Crandall, offers five tip for silencing that naysayer in your head:
1. Let go of the need to know HOW you will create your vision of what you want…you have within you what it takes to create it…trust that you will be given what you need to make it a reality, when you need it.
2. Remind yourself of how important your dream is to you…and how you will feel when you have created your dream.
3. Be a witness to the voice of self-doubt…watch the thoughts that come up rather than participating in them.
4. Get the doubts and fears down on paper and out of your mind…write down positive statements around why you CAN create your vision.
5. Repeat a personalized affirmation to yourself. The better you feel when you repeat it, the faster it can become your reality.
“We are what we think about all day long.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Read along! This month we’re reading Open: An Autobiography by Andre Agassi.