We all have one.
It’s that opinionated, super-critical voice in your head
The one who fills your mind with all those crazy thoughts like…
“You’re doing everything ALL wrong,”
“You’ll never achieve REAL success,”
“You’re not pretty, thin, smart, rich, fill in the blank enough,”
Who is it that is doing all that talking?
Who is that voice that is constantly in your head telling you you’re not doing enough?
I became aware years ago of the negative self- talk that went on in my head.
I tried all sorts of ways to deal with it or combat it.
I heard all kinds of cute sayings and instructions such as
“tell the committee to shut up”
“ The meeting is over”
and tell them to
“stop renting space in my head”.
I thought this was great advice and I didn’t realize that this was not a really effective solution to the problem of negative self- talk.
Maybe I thought it made sense to ignore the voices because like many of us I grew up with some of my needs going unnoticed.
So it was familiar and comfortable to ignore them myself.
I don’t think I ever saw those nagging critical voices as expressing a need but…
Maybe they were after all!
Maybe I thought it made sense to ignore them because I didn’t have any other solutions about what to do about negative self-talk.
I mentioned something in therapy once about this subject and my therapist asked me “whose voice is it?”
I was kind of taken aback.
I always assumed it was my voice.
I believed that it was my voice telling me that I couldn’t do something I wanted to do.
My voice demanding “who do you think you are”
And my voice telling me that I am an imposter, and that everyone who ever liked me would eventually find out that I am not lovable, worthy or even productive.
I am a phoney, depressed, “nobody” disguised as a happy and fun person.
So that night after therapy, I went home and got
quiet and thought about those negative affirmations
in my head and what the most common ones were.
I looked at each common statement one at a time.
My therapist had instructed me to ask some questions to the statements or voices, and to ask “them” what else they had to tell me.
What other judgments did “they” have related to the statements that “they” made.
At first I was pretty sure that the “voices” were my own voice,
but then after I asked a few clarifying questions,
I realized I could actually begin to hear the distinct voices of my mother,
and even a few “friends”.
The reason I heard my own voice is because
I had adopted those opinions as TRUE.
When I began to see the whole picture…
I realized that I had taken over where the abusive and controlling people in my life had left off.
I continued to feed negativity about myself to my own belief system.
Once I started to listen to the “voices”
and ask them questions,
all sorts of other mysteries became clearer to me.
I began to realize how when I moved out of the house when I was 18, that I had married a man who would also continue to affirm this negative belief system that I had about myself.
I don’t know if I was attracted to him because I was comfortable always trying harder.
Or, maybe it was just that I truly believed that love was something I could “earn” and eventually deserve once I earned it.
Or, was it simply that, I had gotten so used to beating myself up all the time that, that type of devaluing person was so familiar to me.
Or maybe it was a combination of both.
It was as though the negative beliefs I had about me,
actually made me feel safer.
Try talking to those negative self- thoughts
instead of yelling at them to shut up.
See what happens.
This single teaching opened many doors to healing for me and led down many paths that I might never have traveled down, had I kept telling the committee to shut up and go home.
By sitting down and INVITING them to have an adult conversation with me, instead of a child-like bullying session,
I was able to see and hear those conversations that I had been exposed to as a young child, through the eyes of an adult.
And with the experience of an adult.
And once I did that, I was able to see more clearly what the people in my childhood had actually meant when they had said those things to me all those years ago.
I could see how I had been a contributor to the anger that had led them to say the things that had hurt me so deeply.
By allowing the “voices” to speak to me, I was able to forgive them, and myself for all the years we had spent wasting time with a mis-understanding.
It was like I had been gifted with a “CLEAN SLATE”
and could start fresh.
So today, I would like to encourage everyone to find
a time when you can sit and really listen to your own
inner voices, and determine who it is that is really
Then see if you can re-arrange the hurtful memory by
seeing it through your adult eyes.
I would love to hear any stories about this subject.
I think it would be helpful for everyone if you could share you own experience with you own inner voice.