Ever had the experience where someone made a comment about you, and you heard it?
When I was 5 years old, something like that happened to me. (It happened again later in my life sure, but this instance I vividly remember). We were visiting friends of the family. There were a few kids there, and we were all hanging out in the television room. There was a plate of cookies on the table. They were delicious and I was hungry. So I tucked into them. One of the older kids, he was a teenager I guess, made a rude sideways remark about “somebody” and the cookies. I knew he was talking about me and I felt terribly embarrassed. I also stopped eating the cookies.
Most of us have a similar experience with the voice inside our own heads. Like when you are going along, doing your thing, minding your own business and then this voice pipes up. Sometimes it doesn’t even speak directly to you, it just makes some arbitrary sideways remark. But you pick up on it anyway, and it causes you to change your behavior.
You see, we all have this little voice inside our heads. The job of this little voice is simple. To keep us safe, and to stop us from engaging in dangerous, unhealthy and unwanted behavior.
But what happens when this little voice gets out of line? And how does it know what is dangerous, unhealthy and unwanted behavior?
Sometimes the little voice gets overzealous and just a little militant. It becomes totally critical. It shouts at us, says mean things about us and to us, makes us feel bad about ourselves. It scares us, convinces us that we are not good enough, tells us everyone will find out we’re imposters.
The thing is, our internal voice has good intentions but can still give us bad results.
It holds us back and keeps us stuck. It is the voice that causes the book that you wrote, to remain unpublished in your desk drawer. It is the voice that prevents you from finally using your talent and skill to start your own business. The voice makes you play small. It makes you give up on developing new habits that are good for you. It can even cause you to eat too much, erode your confidence and make you disregard yourself.
It is there to protect us at all costs.
Protect us from what, I hear you ask.
We are pretty confident about ourselves and our life when we are born. We believe we have a right to care, affection, food, attention (think about how demanding babies are). We never question our right to be here or our right to receive love.
But as we grow up, our experiences change this idea we have about ourselves and our rights. We start to draw conclusions based on what we see happening around us and to us, based on what our caregivers tell us and show us. And so we input programs into our mind about these lessons and observations.
Those programs are what gives the voice its voice, if you will.
It is my belief that most of us have a deep dark secret that we are keeping. We don’t know about this secret on a conscious level, but it’s there. And it is the job of the voice to make sure that no-one finds out what our secret is. Protecting that secret of being found out, at all costs, and so stopping us from living our life in full self-expression.
Today, I want to offer you a technique which you can use when the voice keeps you from full self-expression. It provides some relieve which allows you to get unstuck.
Understand first and foremost that the voice is there to protect you from harm. This “harm” could very well be unfounded, but the voice still does what it has to do.
Your first step is to isolate the voice. See if you can hear where it is coming from.
Does it come from the back of your head, in the middle of your head or in through your ears? Does it speak to you from the inside out, or the outside in. What does it sound like? Deep, shrill, angry, condescending, strict, scared?
Once you have isolated the voice you should be able to hear it when it speaks up.
Now you have 2 choices.
Thank it for showing up, tell it that you are grateful, and that you know it is there to protect you. Tell is that it is ok, and that you are going to go ahead and ________?
Turn down the volume of the voice so that it doesn’t shout so loud in your head. Note that this won’t make the voice go away. It will still continue to talk softly, and you will continue to respond to it.
I often find that by just realising that it is the voice speaking and not you, it gives you the courage to show up, and helps you feel more confident in the moment.
If you want to change the type of conversation that the voice is having with you, it requires deeper work.
Remember, its job is to keep us safe. What we want, is to get it to change what it is protecting, so that you can be released from the blocks which are holding you back from being your true authentic self and living an empowered life where you show up in full self-expression.
In order to work with it, you need to first know it. When we listen to it without paying any attention to it, that leaves us powerless.
Over to you:
Starting right now stretch your awareness so that you can isolate this voice.
Once you know it, depending on the situation, you can choose to either speak to it (option 1) or turn down the volume (option 2).
I’d love to know how it worked for you. And, do you have another way of dealing with the voice when it scares you?
Leave a comment below or head over to Facebook and chat to me there.