Monday, 20 June 2022

The meh meh meh voice

We all get that voice in our heads from time to time: you know, the "Meh meh meh" voice with a nasally whine which tells us we 'shouldn't', 'don't deserve', are 'over-reaching', or are 'getting above ourselves'. This voice has theoretical construct; "self-talk",  defined as a “dialogue [through which we interpret] feelings and perceptions, regulates and changes evaluations and convictions, and [give ourselves] instructions and reinforcement” (Hackfort & Schwenkmezger, 1993, p. 355).

A friend of mine thinks of the meh meh meh voice as a little goblin that sits on his shoulder. He is allowed out for a major complain from 8am. Then at 8.05am he has to go back in his box. That's control! 

However, for we mere mortals who find ourselves unable to wrestle the meh meh meh goblin back into his box, I have another idea to try.

This particular solution is for when things have gone pear-shaped. This is when the meh meh meh goblin is usually in full cry, wailing that "we should have known', we 'are a fool', we 'knew it wouldn't work'. Instead of beating ourselves up, we could imagine that we are debriefing a client who has done what we have done. We ask them a couple of questions, aiming to lower our internal voice of self-criticism (Billan, 2022):

  • How could you have improved the result?
  • What could you have improved?

We answer them as if we are our own client. As we get practiced, we can ask them of ourselves:

  • What could I have done better?
  • How could I have improved the result?

And hopefully this helps us, over time, to quieten our meh meh meh voice.



  • Billan, R. (2022). Keynote Address | Allocution: Redefining Resilience [video]. CANNEXUS22 Virtual Conference 25 January - 5 February.
  • Hackfort, D., & Schwenkmezger, P. (1993). Chapter 14: Anxiety. In R. N. Singer, M. Murphey, & L. K. Tennant (Eds.) Handbook of Research on Sport Psychology (pp. 328–364). Macmillan Publishing Company.

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