I took a long time getting to—and through—the Bojack Horseman episode “Stupid Piece of Shit,” S04E06. It’s a deep, devastating examination of the central character’s self-loathing as seen through his own internal dialogue. And it’s hard to watch.

We can be so hard on ourselves, so much of the time. It’s easy to forget we’re as much in charge of the voice that gently comforts as we are of the voice that berates and excoriates us from within. It’s better to keep countering that voice with the first.

It’s almost instinctual to listen harder to the negative voice. But neither inner voice is real. We can only control so much. If we are forthright, if we are even steady and habitual, the positive counteracting voice is there, as well, to tell us “good job!,” “well done,” and other helpful notes.

And if both voices exist within us, they aren’t both equally helpful, nor healthy. It’s better in the long run to give more weight to the voice that encourages, that supports, that’s delighted we did a thing. Things that keep hope alive and up lead us to make better and more things for the world. As you keep up the daily habit, you can acknowledge both sides of your inner self.

You are forced to listen to the voice telling you you’re a piece of shit. But you don’t have to accept its opinion of you and your worth any more than some random person on the street. You have an alternative. You have a voice that lifts you up and strengthens your resolve, too. Consider the other voice.