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Your Inner Voice: Friend or Foe?

Your Inner Voice: Friend or Foe?Who is the person you speak to most frequently?

Why, it’s yourself, of course.

And what is the nature of those conversations? Do you tend to be harsh, nasty and punitive about who you are and what you’ve done (or haven’t done?) Do you frequently expect too much of yourself? Are you your own worst enemy? Does your self-judgment pierce your heart, deflate your energy?

If so, it’s time to take two paths to change your inner voice from foe to friend.

The first path is to develop another voice in your head, one that is not harsh and mean, but is kind and reassuring. It needs to remind you that “it’s okay; we all make mistakes.” It needs to assure you that what you did (or didn’t do) isn’t so bad. This voice accepts your faults, acknowledges your weaknesses and gently encourages you to do better tomorrow.

This is no easy task. If your inner voice is accustomed to being discouraging and demoralizing, developing a caring and reassuring voice will be difficult. Yet, it is not as hard as the second task.

The second task requires you to eradicate that old voice from childhood that tells you you’re not good enough. No matter what you do, you could have done it better. No matter who you are, you don’t measure up. No matter how you look, you don’t look good enough. It doesn’t matter what others say; you know the truth.

Archaic thoughts are tough to eradicate because you come to believe whatever you repeat to yourself. It doesn’t matter if it’s true, has an iota of truth to it, or is patently false.

Lots of people don’t pay attention to their inner voice. Hence, they don’t recognize how much it may be holding them back. You can’t fix what you’re not aware of. So, make it a point to notice what you say to yourself. And label it: friend or foe.

Each time your inner voice is a friend, give yourself a well-deserved fist pump.

Each time your inner voice is a foe, change your harsh judgment to a kinder assessment. An example: Instead of referring to yourself as a naive fool, notice how you messed up. Then create a strategy for doing better next time.

Old habits die hard, so it may take a while to notice a significant change. But be assured that each small step in the right direction brings you closer to what you want to do and who you want to be.

© 2014

Your Inner Voice: Friend or Foe?

Linda Sapadin, Ph.D

Dr. Linda Sapadin, psychologist, success coach and author is proud to announce the publication of her new book, Overcoming Your Procrastination: College Student Edition – Advice for 6 Personality Styles available on Amazon. Now more than ever with remote learning, this book is a must-have. If you’re a perfectionist, dreamer, worrier, crisis-maker, defier or please, grab your copy. No longer a student? Get my book How to Beat Procrastination in the Digital Age – 6 Change Programs for 6 Personality Styles. Visit to subscribe to my free e-newsletter. Contact her at

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APA Reference
Sapadin, L. (2018). Your Inner Voice: Friend or Foe?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 24, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 26 Nov 2014)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.