Do you hear a constant inner voice
saying things like, "Don't try that.
You won't succeed." Many
people struggle against this "inner voice" while others don't even
recognize it. This inner voice often
develops as a result of childhood trauma (both physical and emotional). The authors state:
The characteristic that most
distinguishes the inner voice from a conscience is its degrading, punishing
quality. Its demeaning tone tends to
increase our feelings of self-hatred instead of motivating us to change undesirable
actions in a constructive manner. These
destructive thoughts are contradictory; first they influence us to act in
self-defeating ways, and then they condemn us for those very actions. In addition, the voice often turns our
natural desires, wants, and goals—the things we would like to accomplish in
life-into "shoulds"—that is, we "should" do this or that in
order to be a good person. When we fail
to live up to these "shoulds," the voice ridicules and berates us for
Organization of Book. There are three parts to this book. The first part, consisting of Chapters 1-2,
help you learn to recognize this critical inner voice and the resulting shame
and low self-esteem it may cause for you.
As the quote above indicates, the first thing is to learn to distinguish
between your conscience and the critical inner voice.
Part two (Chapters 3-8) discusses
the effects this inner voice has on your life.
It is important to recognize that self-criticism (inner voice) may limit
your career choices, influence your relationships with your own children and
with other adults. It affects your
attitudes towards sex, may lead you into addictive behaviors such as eating
disorders, drug abuse and alcoholism, and can cause depression. The last chapter in this section discusses
how to select a therapist to help you overcome the problems caused by this
critical inner voice. Many exercises
are presented throughout the book to help you overcome problems caused by this
critical inner voice.
I had to smile a bit at the contents of Part three because it tries to
tell you how to live the "good life." The activities included in this section help parents deal in a
more positive way to their child's misbehavior.
Book. I have a very mixed reaction
to this book. It was easy to
understand. The authors explained their
points carefully and provided exercises to help the reader solve problems
caused by the critical inner voice. It
is an outstanding workbook to be used in combination with a therapist. On the surface, it looks like a program that
would help many people who are extremely self-critical.
I have strong negative reactions to
this book because it doesn't acknowledge the spiritual aspect of our
lives. For me, this is missing
something extremely important in how people perceive themselves and relate to
people and the world around them.
Therefore, I believe this "… Revolutionary Program to Counter
Negative Thoughts and Live Free from Imagined Limitations" is destined to
failure. I am not convinced people can
talk themselves into feeling a different way about past events.
© 2003 Diana Pederson
Diana Pederson lives
in Lansing, Michigan.