Updated: April 25, 2010 14:52 IST

Power of the inner voice

D. Murali
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The 'spoken word' is the focus of one of the chapters in 'Fifteen Mantras for the Empowered Woman' by Abha Sharma Rodrigues ( It is about 'an invisible friend, who goes around with you every day of your life, constantly whispering comments in your ear,' as the author begins.This invisible friend is no alien to us; and the ?spoken word? is our own inner voice, the self-talk, she adds.

Self-talk, explains Rodrigues, is the dialogue that goes on in our heads all the time. 'It can best be compared to a commentary that instructs us, and gives us its feedback on virtually everything. It never lets go of anything without some remark, observation or evaluation.'

While much of this self-talk is harmless and serves to complete our daily activities, it can directly or indirectly determine our motivation levels, influence our health, affect our well-being, create our thoughts, and impact every emotion that we experience, cautions the author.

"Depending upon how it is directed, it can make or mar us. It can boost our confidence or destroy it. It can push us up or pull us down? Quite unconsciously, our inner voice replaces every single person who has authority over us."

The amazing thing, says Rodrigues, is that once we decide to take action, it is possible to replace our self-talk. "At any stage of our lives, we can direct our minds? As adults, we can choose to instruct ourselves".

Begin with awareness

How is redirection done? By beginning with awareness, the author guides. The first step is to become aware of the inner dialogue within ourselves by keeping a constant vigil, and identifying when the mind shows up. "It is worthwhile not to respond to this inner voice, but to listen to it from a distance and to notice whether it appears as a thought, an opinion, an individual view, a command or a reality."

The next step, she says, is to create objectivity by putting in place a distance between our observing self and our inner thoughts, because the gap helps in deciphering the precise association our mind has made with people, things, and situations. We may then discover that our response towards an event or person is our individual, subjective way of thinking, rather than one based on objective reality. "We will also realise that this opinion can be changed, that is, if we are in control."

Finally, choose to do something different, exhorts Rodrigues. This is especially important, when the advice is adverse. The antidote, as she counsels, is to "introduce positive thoughts that will lift us, increase our self-esteem, happiness levels, aspirations, goals and desires."

What is empowerment?

Empowerment is all about breaking free from limiting beliefs that have diminished your spirit, the author concludes. When such beliefs are replaced with a constructive approach, the gain is in the form of "free-flowing positive energies," which in turn "help you to increase your courage, renew your self-esteem, create balance, and give you enhanced capacity for forgiving and taking appropriate action."

In the process, as Rodrigues reassures, the mind becomes more receptive, your speech reflects concreteness of thought and you take better control over situations. She avers that an empowered woman is a secure woman; secure in one?s own skills, talents and abilities. "Only a secure person can give security to others, place higher trust in the capacity and competence of others and inspire them to reach their best selves."

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