In today’s blog, Lauri explores the two voices that compete in our heads for attention. One voice is destructive, harmful and keeps us small. The other voice is loving, kind, empowering and helps us to grow. Which voice do you listen to?
Voices in Our Heads
I can’t tell you how many individuals sit in my office and in a very shy, tentative, almost penitent sort of way confess to me that they have a voice in their head. Then, it seems they are waiting for me to look astonished, panic at the fact that they must be crazy or tell them that they are crazy. Guess what???? HARDLY!!!! Each and EVERY ONE of us has that voice in our head. And just because you have that voice does not make you insane, schizophrenic or a psychopath. While a small minority, who can only be diagnosed by a trained professional, do have voices that are not of the norm, the vast majority of us who hear this voice (or voices) are really just hearing the interior battle between our truest self and our ego. The truest self speaks to us about our gifts, our talents, it speaks to us through our intuition, dreams, daydreamings and it only speaks the truth. The ego….speaks ONLY lies! The ego is the part of us that DOES NOT want us to live as our most authentic self. The ego wants us to stay fearful and small. The ego does not want us to know our giftedness, neither does it want us to know how amazing we are as peaceful, loving, joyful beings.
Does the Voice in My Head Bother You?
Offering credit again to my muse, Steven Tyler, who writes at length about the voices in his head in his autobiography as titled above, I have to say that no, it is not the voice in another’s head that bothers us, it is the voice in our own head. That being said, sometimes the hated voice in our head did originate in an outside source – parents, teachers, preachers, spouses, siblings, friends, etc. The problem is not the origin itself, but what we decide to do with it. When we embrace the unsupportive, harmful, fearful, hurtful messages that come from outside us (most likely coming out of somebody else’s fear or insecurity), then we are giving strength to the fears and insecurities that already exist within us. Blech…right? Regardless of the origin of this negative and harmful voice, it speaks to us in loud and obvious ways and in ways that are subtle and insidious. Here are some of the louder versions of this voice:
- You are fat, stupid, ugly, insignificant, worthless, lazy, etc.
- Who could possibly love you?
- Who or what made you think you could do that?
- What were you thinking?
- You charge too much, what makes you think you deserve a professional fee/living wage for sharing your gifts?
- You’re such a goodie-goodie (or alternatively, you’re a slut, party girl/boy, etc. etc. etc.)
- Your words are too big, you intimidate people with your words
- I hate you
- You do not deserve to be loved or treated with kindness
- It is all your fault
- Ok here’s one from my own life: “What the Hell is a Spiritual Director (or Reiki Practitioner)? Why would anyone pay you to do that????”
It is pretty obvious the harmful nature of these words. What is sadder still is the way it hurts us when we accept these statements as truth and make them part of who we think we are. Our hearts are broken piece by piece until it feels there is nothing left of who we once hoped we could be.
Not so obvious
Then there is the not so obvious nature of this negative voice. This is the smooth, subtle, insidious side of this voice that reaches deep into the most tender and vulnerable parts of ourselves and seeks to rip out our soul. This is the voice that is cloaked in the “shoulds” of our society and in the tribal rules that have been handed down to us. Here is what this voice sounds like:
- If you only did XYZ….he/she would be happy, peaceful, safe, kind, loving, non-violent
- It is your fault that he/she is unhappy and you have the power to make it better
- You don’t have needs and if you do, everyone else’s needs are more important
- If you give enough, then maybe they will finally act in a loving, kind way toward you
- It is your fault that he/she is angry, depressed, raging, acting in a violent manner, and it is your job to go fix it
- Writers, artists, (any creative endeavor) are a dime a dozen, you can’t do that for a living, why don’t you get a real job?
- You’re just dreaming!
- You can’t (sing, write, dance, paint, etc. etc. etc.)
- A woman’s place is…
- A man’s place is…
Got it? YUK YUK YUK That feels like a good place to start. So, for the next day, I invite you to pay attention. Pay attention to the voices in your head. Are you able to recognize the negative, harmful, destructive voice? Simply recognizing this voice is the first step toward healing and letting it go. More on this tomorrow.
Authentic Freedom Ministries