When we fall out of self-awareness or out of our knowing-ness it can be like a small tremor or ghastly earthquake. We all react differently to the insistent, persistent inner voices.
We can certainly ignore them at least for a time but ego is very good at eventually getting our attention. And then there will be a reaction of some sort on our part. It may simply be a fleeting emotional response like sadness or annoyance or something physical such as a queasy stomach or a twinge in the neck or lower back.
And again we can ignore these signs or dismiss them as insignificant or unimportant because they usually go away….. at least that’s what we tell ourselves. But then our mental chatter can become louder, or the emotion of sadness or anger begins to grow deeper or the body hurts more or becomes ill.
IS THIS TRUE?
When the voices are there (and we all have them) they tell us things that we don’t like to hear. Then our experiences begin to confirm what the voices are saying.
- One of the voices may say, “I’m so ugly. Nobody likes me.” You may see your reflection and you see your “ugliness” and begin to never look again. You walk with your head down, your body sags and people begin to avoid you.
- Another voice may say, “I’m so stupid. I can’t get anything right.” Your marks in school are low and whatever you try to succeed at you can’t get quite right. People begin to tell you to try something easier or they even tell you to give up.
You have just confirmed the lies the voice tells you. The more we listen, the more we confirm through our experience what we are telling ourselves, the deeper we fall into our personal pain and the farther out of alignment we go.
HOW TO AVOID THIS CYCLE OF PAIN
How do we stop that mental chatter, all those hurtful lies we hear in our head? How do we stop feeling so sad or angry with the people in our lives or at the world in general? How do we turn things around so our experience does not confirm the lies that now seem to be truth?
Start by listening to that voice. Let it pour out all its pain, frustration and anger to you. When we refuse to listen to and comfort someone who is hurting his pain grows larger.
- Be patient and kind to yourself and start by listening.
- Do not judge the voice or yourself.
- Do not get caught up in it by agreeing with it or feeling like it is right or wrong. Just listen and hold a space of loving acceptance for yourself.
The voice will begin to quiet, your emotions calm and your body relax.
CHANGE IT UP
Next it is important to start telling a new story. In truth these voices (often referred to as negative self talk) are lying. We lie to ourselves so much we will be shocked when we really start listening to what we’re telling ourselves.
- Begin to tell the truth of who you are. You can start with “Thank you for your input but this is not Who I am.”
- Describe Who you really are:
beautiful, loving, kind, compassionate, capable, honest, caring, helpful, smart, organized, competent, friendly, gentle, strong, energetic, deserving, worthy, loveable, wise, creative….
whatever fits the bill for the current negative talk.
We must catch ourselves in the act of lying to ourselves and consciously, continuously tell the story of Who we really are.
- Keep listening to and observing yourself.
- Notice how often you hurt yourself with negative self talk.
- Notice how this talk leaves you feeling.
- When you notice yourself engaging in hurtful thoughts turn it around with a new story.
Tell yourself the truth of how wonderful you really are.
There is one voice that we often find more difficult to deal with because it couches itself in “logic” and “reality”. This is a voice that if you believe what it says might seem to be keeping you safe but it is really keeping you very small. If you need to you can start with baby steps.
- Identify one thing about yourself that you really like:
- a talent you have always had
- a skill you have developed
- a personal quality or characteristic
- something you achieved that you may have thought you couldn’t
- When you are being told “you can’t!” remind yourself that you can.
- When you are being told “be realistic” remind yourself how quickly reality shifts and changes. At one time the world was flat!
SHIFT YOUR FOCUS
What we focus on whether we see it in our mind as thoughts or mental chatter or what we see in our surroundings or interactions with others is what we will continue to see and hear. Practise seeing and hearing something else. See the potential that is there in you and in life.