When you go about your daily activities what does the voice in the back of your head tell you? Does it tell you how beautiful you are, how wonderful an organizer you are or that you really know how to communicate with people?
Our little voices with the harsh words can actually be down right vindictive. “You’re fat. You’ll never amount to anything. Why don’t you just give up and save yourself the grief. You’ll never be good at or get it right or be appreciated.” And don’t forget all the hateful things that voice says about other people, even before we’ve met them. Don Miguel Ruiz calls this voice “the Prince of Lies” because that all it tells us…lies.
The little voice weaves so many lies it’s hard to sift through to the real us, real voice, real heart. Feeling good about one’s self has to begin on the inside. Even the most secure and beautiful people have negative voices talking to them. We all react differently to the voice. Some drink, some get angry, some get very sad, some do drugs, and some eat in an attempt to drown the voice or at least the feelings the voice creates. At best it’s a temporary sedation.
The relief is minor, short-lived and the voice actually comes back to punish with a vengeance using the very techniques we used against us. “You drunk. Fat cow. Coke head”.
So what are we to do?
Don’t give up. I know some days this is easier said than done. Regardless, here are a few more tips to battle the voice within.
Having someone to talk to who won’t judge the words coming out of your mouth, find a solution to fix you or tell you what you’re doing wrong is a blessing. Sometimes even therapists make the same mistake as friends do. Venting is important. If you can’t find someone to vent to then…
Get the words and thoughts out and on the paper. Release them from the inside of your head. People use journals and diaries for a reason. They are cathartic and they are excellent at not talking back. Vent your little heart out. Write about whatever comes into your head. NOTHING is nonsense. Julia Cameron author of “The Artist’s Way” recommends at least three pages every morning. Even if it’s a bunch of mumbo jumbo write it and when you’re finished the third page you stop and get on with your day. Set the alarm a half an hour earlier if you must.
Take a class so you’re doing it properly. Learn how to quiet your mind under guidance so you can quiet when you want to on your own. Give yourself a break from thinking.
Just be more aware of when the voice is taking over residence in your mind. Develop a phrase to battle it when you take note. Mine is “STOP!” either in my mind or out loud if I happen to be alone. Make a point of doing this for two weeks and you’ll notice a reduction both in the voice and in the way you handle stress.
Spend time with the green and quiet of nature. Watch the butterflies, wasps and other insects dancing around flowers. Take a walk next to a body of water. For some reason, nature confuses the voice or maybe it just distracts it for a time.
Take a break from music with lyrics you understand. Often we hear a song and for the next few days one line sticks with us and plays over and over and over. It’s like a really bad chant. How many songs out there actually have positive thoughts? If you notice this be sure to use your “STOP!” phrase to break the cycle.
Feeling good on the inside has to start on the inside. No amount of physical activity, dieting or plastic surgery is going to change how the voice with the heavy words talks to you. You have to decide to control it instead of allowing it to control you. Give the above methods a shot. Don’t let the voice of negativity tell you otherwise. You are worth the time and the effort.
Reference: Don Miguel Ruiz, The Voice of Knowledge: A Practical Guide to Inner Peace; Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity (Inner Workbook)
Originally published 8/14/2004 at Large & Lovely, BellaOnline.