In many cases, it’s crucial. When we’re children, our world is so small and, therefore, the words of our parents are so impactful. We believe what they say is true without question and their statements about us become our inner voice. If their words are critical and hurtful, they damage our self-esteem and can stay with us long into adulthood.
If we misspeak at an office meeting or cocktail party, for example, we may automatically hear our parents in our heads. We may be listening to a tape that says: That was so stupid! How could you say such a thing? You really put your foot in your mouth this time!
Becoming conscious of these destructive thoughts is important to finally getting rid of them. When they start playing in my head, I use the mantra: “We are not our thoughts; we are the awareness of our thoughts.” This helps me snap back into the present and reclaim my power from my father.
Working with a cognitive therapist can also be extremely helpful. Clients learn strategies to make their thinking work for them, not against us. Thanks for the question!