A couple of weeks ago, Sophie Grégoire had a chat with award-winning singer and composer Chantal Kreviazuk about healing our inner voice in her mental wellbeing video series, It’s OK not to be OK. Kreviazuk talks about her marriage to Our Lady Peace’s Raine Maida, and how she molded her voice to be compassionate and non-judging throughout their union. Singing an original song, “I Love You,” Kreviazuk adds that the song not only depicts her journey to her inner voice but has also taught her some valuable lessons along the way.

Hilary Freeman is an expert counsellor of couples and families. For the past 46 years of her career, she’s worked with her clients to help them on coping with loneliness, attitudes toward change, and stress management. We chat with her to find out more ways of healing our inner voice.

What is an inner voice?

I think it’s different things for different people. It’s also what we say to ourselves, both negative and positive. It’s looking at things from the right perspective and having a clear sense of who you are. The voice you form usually has to do with who you surround yourself with most of the time, like your friends family, and your environment.

What kind of experiences do you think contribute to our inner voice?

The things we go through with our families, our environment, schools, friends, and the country we live in. All of those experiences are able to contribute to our inner voices.

What is a negative inner voice?

That kind of voice believes nobody likes them, they’re not good enough, or even attractive. It’s in someone who sees themselves very negatively. They have trouble looking at things in a positive light. In some ways, it’s connected to unhealed trauma. That could either be their relationship with their family or the outside world. It’s the way they look at themselves as related to their environment.

How does one develop a negative inner voice over time?

It’s really hard if you come from a broken family filled with instability. It’s hard when that’s your perception of the world when you’re little. You start having a perspective that everything is negative. You look at everything in a negative way and don’t see any more positives in your life.

What is a positive inner voice?

When you’re able to look at yourself from a healthy perspective. You have resiliency and are able to see yourself in a positive and negative light in a mindful way.

How does one develop a positive inner voice?

Do as much positive stuff as you can. Whether it’s through your school or your community. Always be open to learning, as you’re able to gain wisdom through it all.

Why is it important for us to have an inner voice that’s optimistic?

If you don’t have an optimistic inner voice, you’re not going to try anything new. You’ve got to stretch yourself. It’s pretty important to be your own cheerleader. We need to try new things in life because we’ll remain stagnant and not take any risks if we don’t.

How do we stop negative self-talk?

Firstly, you have to become aware of it. Try new things and expose yourself to new environments. If you’re really stuck in it, maybe you need to talk to a counselor for a bit.

What is the best way to console our inner voice in its time of need?

I think you need to recognize it and remind yourself of its perspective. And maybe even make a list of the positives of the things you’ve done right. This will push you to be your own cheerleader. It will give you more confidence to take risks and try new things.

What type of self-care activities can help us heal our inner voice?

Volunteer work gives you a better perspective of what’s happening in life. But lots of other activities like exercising, reading a book, or just talking to others also help heal our inner voices. Be aware that you’re not alone because you can always get support from other people.