Did you know that playing pretend can silence the inner critic?
By Lori Hammond
Coach and Professional Hypnotist. Giving you simple tools to stop overwhelm and harness joyful forward momentum.
Do you catch yourself saying negative or critical things to yourself?
Maybe you've heard so many negative things from others that you started believing them too.
Sometimes we turn other people's negativity into our own thoughts. We don't realize those thoughts aren't truly our own.
This exercise turns that inner critic into an inner cheerleader. (But only if you play along! Don't just read. Follow along right now.)
What was your favorite way to play pretend as a child?
Pretending to be a Superhero?
I invite you to bring the same childlike playfulness into this fun experiment.
This works even if you feel silly and make up the answers.
PLAY ALONG WITH ME NOW
You're good at daydreaming, right? When you see the word, "Imagine" below, just let yourself daydream to imagine.
What's going on in your life when you're the most critical of yourself?
Imagine that's happening now so you can feel that self-critical feeling. Feeling it now lets you fix it now.
If you could turn this feeling into words, what would you be saying to yourself?
Remember, it's ok to make this up.
Imagine hearing those words right now.
On a scale of 1-10, how negative do those words make you feel?
Now pretend you can point at where that voice is coming from.
Is it coming from inside you or outside? Go ahead and playfully point at it now.
Who's voice is it? You may be surprised to realize it’s someone else’s voice.
How loud is the voice?
How quickly/slowly is the voice speaking?
Now, imagine the voice dropping down to the floor and sliding waaaay across the room.
Imagine hearing the voice say that negative thing from way over there.
MAKE IT SILLY
Now, pretend Mickey Mouse's voice is saying that negative thing from way over there.
Now, turn down the volume so it's a very faint Mickey Mouse voice from across the room.
Listen to that faint Mickey Mouse voice say that thing from waaaay over there.
When you hear it that way, how did that negative feeling you had change on a scale of 1-10?
Pretty amazing, isn’t it?
Next, Create an Inner Cheerleader
Ok, now that you’ve turned negative self-talk way down, and maybe even off, let's install some positive self-talk?
I'll show you how
Who is a person with a trust-worthy voice?
It might be your own or that of a person you love and trust. Someone who has complete authority. It can be someone who is currently in your life or someone from the past.
It can even be an imaginary voice, like your favorite superhero. Or the voice of someone you've never met, like James Earl Jones.
Where do you want this voice to be?
Right next to your ear?
Inside your head, or your heart, or your gut?
Put it where it lets you believe it the most.
Now, what will that voice say that lets you feel absolutely amazing? It might be the complete opposite of the negative thing you said before.
For example, if a person used to say, "I feel out of control", now you can hear that authoritative voice say, "I AM IN CONTROL!"
Go ahead and test it out. Hear that voice of authority, saying that positive thing, from that place.
Take a deep breath, sit up a little straighter, and listen again as if you can actually hear that voice. Allow yourself to really believe this truth and receive it.
If you knew this positive thing was true, where would you feel that truth in your body?
Pretend to feel it there while you listen to the voice repeat this new belief over and over.
NOTICE THE DIFFERENCE
Now think about the time when you used to think negatively about yourself.
How are things different when you think about it now?
Did you play along with every step as you read?
If you did, then you have physically rewired your brain to release that old self-talk and install new, positive beliefs in it’s place.
If you didn't, please treat yourself by going back and doing it now.
It might just be a life-changing few minutes.
Use this anytime you notice yourself feeling negative. This works for limiting beliefs of any kind.
I'd love to hear how well this worked for you! I just did it again as I wrote this email and have goosebumps as I hear James Earl Jones' voice from inside my chest saying, "I AM IN CONTROL OF MY LIFE."
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