Naming your inner bitch has amazing mental health benefits - here’s why.
Yunno that voice inside your head, the one telling you you’re not capable enough, or thin enough or pretty enough? Yeh, that one. That’s your inner bitch.
I recently met with serial entrepreneur, Lise Cartwright, on Skype after we connected through an online course. We told the stories of how we got to the point we’re at now and what the plan is next and our conversation quickly reached a deeper level of detail about how we work.
Among all the useful tips and advice she gave me to conquer the world of entrepreneurship, something really stuck out. In passing, when going through her to-do list, she mentioned Bruce, the annoying voice in her head.
I stopped her for a moment.
‘Bruce? Who is this?’, I asked.
‘Oh yunno, that annoying voice in your head that likes to piss you off and tell you you’re not good enough. I call him Bruce, after this annoying guy in school. That way I can say “Shut up Bruce!” and it calms the voice down.’
I found this totally hilarious and started thinking about a name for my own. After normal conversation resumed and we finished up our call, I was still thinking about this. Naming that self-sabotaging voice in your head…genius!
After that chat I picked a name - Rachel (the only Rachel I know is from Friends so I was a little surprised when this came to mind) - and have been telling her where to go ever since. It may seem simple and also pretty stupid, but it’s actually got amazing mental health benefits because it touches on building awareness, mindfulness and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy - essential tools for improving the quality of your thoughts.
Here are three ways naming your inner bitch improves your mental health:
Firstly, in order to reduce these thoughts, we need to notice when they are happening. People who meditate on a regular basis will find identifying the thoughts and actively not listening to them more straight forward.
But for the majority of us this process will be much more challenging. By naming that voice, it brings awareness to the thoughts and a persona to what is otherwise an invisible, rambling thing in our own imagination. In other words, it makes our thoughts feel more tangible.
It helps us notice what, when, why these thoughts are happening.
Secondly, it detaches those thoughts from being our own. Of course, it is us thinking them but we don’t necessarily mean them and they are never helpful. By naming that voice we are giving those thoughts to someone else, and observing the thoughts happening instead of being the thoughts (the first rule of mindfulness). That level of detachment, albeit only slight, is hugely helpful in disassociating ourselves from what is being said.
You might not buy it at first, but the more you tell that voice to shut up, the more you’ll disassociate yourself from it and, by extension, stop embodying what’s being said.
Finally, it gives us a clear way of handling those thoughts (CBT). Knowing how to counter the comments once they have been identified is as difficult as noticing them in the first place. ’I’m not smart enough for this’, or ‘I can’t get away with wearing that dress’, are immediately tackled with, ‘Oh shut up Rachel!’. By telling your Caroline/Michael/Jenny to bugger off and treating it like an annoying sibling, you are actively pushing the thoughts away.
So whether the name is a boy or a girl, based on someone you know or someone you don’t, just name that voice. Start sticking up for yourself and over time, it's amazing how much it silences the self-sabotage. You are bloody brilliant and it's important your inner voice thinks it too.
Take THAT Rachel!!