It’s common knowledge that you have a montage, even Rocky had a montage after all.
Whether you know it or not everyone has a montage. The tune we go through life to. The words we say to ourselves and the songs we sing in our heads (or out loud) create the mood and tone for our lives. Is your film a positive, thrilling romp or is it considerably darker?
We all have an inner critic, the one who berates us. The one who reminds us we are silly for forgetting our keys, or tells us we couldn’t possibly step up on stage in front of all those people because we will embarrass ourselves.
When we tell children they are stupid, they stop trying. When we tell them they are useless, that no one wants to hear what they have to say, they retreat into themselves and become quiet and withdrawn. Knowing this, why is it that this is what we tell ourselves each day. We make a small mistake learning something and we tell ourselves we are useless and we stop trying. We don’t take the steps to move forward, we don’t push the boundaries. Depression is caused by the hurtful words we say to ourselves.
This is the voice that thinks it’s keeping us safe. Our ancestors needed to be accepted by the tribe, anything that put that acceptance at risk could threaten our survival. We would die without the protection of the tribe. Back then it really did keep us safe, but although we are grateful for that, that voice is not what we need now. Now we need, more than ever, a cheerleader!
We need our inner voice to encourage us to go for our dreams. To cheer us on when we are winning and to push us forward when it feels like we have stalled. We need our voice to heard and to be an individual to stand out. We need to stand out to get the job, to bag the promotion, it now benefits us to be seen.
The good news is, this inner critic still wants to help us, we just need to teach it how to help us in a modern world where to succeed we need to show our vulnerability, our personality and our opinions. We need to teach it to help us by being our cheerleader and changing the montage.
It’s time to give that critic a new role, to teach that voice how to cheer us on, how to encourage us to be ourselves and reach our goals, even when they are scary.
Take a moment to write a list of everything you say to yourself when you have made a mistake, gotten something wrong or not lived up to your own expectations. My list used to look something like this:
- I’m not smart enough to do that
- of course I couldn’t do it, I’m useless
- Everyone will laugh at me if I make a mistake
- I’m pathetic, who wants to listen to me
When you have written your list, go through it again. Picture your child or your best friend saying that about themselves. Next to the critic phrase, write what you would say to support them, to encourage them and lift them up.
- I might not have the knowledge right now, but I will learn
- I can do anything if I want it enough
- I don’ have to be perfect, I just have to show up
- My opinion and knowledge is valuable and people do want to hear what I have to say
Use this positive reframing every time you catch yourself saying something negative. Make positive words and pictures familiar to you. Installing the cheerleader is about making negativity unfamiliar and encouragement familiar, each and every time. Change the music you listen to when you need a boost. I love REM, but sometimes singing “it’s been a bad day, please don’t take my picture” just isn’t the right tune for me. Rather I reach for The Script and remind myself that “[I] can be a hero, [I] can be the best, [I] can be the king king banging on [my] chest”
with this new montage, this cheerleader coaching you and encouraging you, you’re changing the score, the backdrop to your life. You are creating the best version of you.