Internalized Voices

Internalized voices are those voices in your head that started off outside, but now they are inside you. I’m not talking about psychosis; I am talking about normal people. Psychology has a concept called internalization. This means we incorporate attitudes, standards of conduct, opinions, ideas, etc. in our personalities. They speak to us. These are the internalized voices that say, “Call Meg back or she will be upset.” “You are being lazy, so get to work” “You are judgmental” “You are a good person” “You are smart” and “You are not smart enough.”

You know these voices – everyone has their own personal collection. Initially, we get them from our parents. That’s what I mean when I say that internalized voices originally come from the outside. This process continues throughout our lives; we unload some internalized voices and incorporate others.  The voices can be supportive, persecutory or anything in between. They help us achieve our goals and they hold us back.  We can fight them but I’m not happy with the aggressiveness in that decision. It is generally better to replace them.

Sometimes, I think that good therapy is a process of replacing the harsh, negative, haunting voices with those that are more compassionate.

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