I’ll be honest with you, I would never let anyone else talk to me the way I do. That voice in my head that narrates my life and keeps a running commentary on my successes and failures – that voice says things to me that are totally unacceptable, and yet I let it keep talking. I let it run like a television in another room providing the background static for my life. I am a firm believer in Goodness, a lover of beauty, trueness, love, and life-giving things, but in this area I have let my guard down.
Do you do that? Do you have a negative voice in your head that you listen to? I think most of us do. I hear my friends talk about that little voice in their head that whispers vile things to them and I think, “Geez, can’t you see what a lie that is! Why are you listening to that crap?” and yet, I listen too. And the crazy thing is that if anyone else made those same comments to us they would not last long as friends. We wouldn’t put up with it. So why do we tolerate this nagging negativity from ourselves?
I’ve been thinking about it and I’ve got a hunch. First of all, it seems to me that this voice begins in a subtle and insidious way, becoming so familiar to us that we don’t even realize it is there. It starts criticizing us so early in our lives that it is as familiar to us as our own voice – oh wait! It is our own voice. Try something with me. Sit for a moment and quiet your mind. Do not let it speak. Put the brakes on your brain and just feel what it feels like to be totally quiet. Do you have the urge to talk to yourself – to think – to distract yourself? I do, but it is good for me to settle my mind completely. Now, do you hear that negative voice? I don’t because it doesn’t dare come out of hiding that easily. It waits for me to get busy and then it threads itself into my inner conversation. It hijacks me when I am busy or distracted and jumps into what I am doing. If I heard it loud and clear – alone – I would certainly shut it down, but it leaks its way in. What about you?
My point is – we have to listen for it so that we can shut it down. This negative voice that undermines us is an enemy to our health and well-being. It is a negative force that causes a disruption in our energy, confidence, and peace. It does not build us up – it destroys. It speaks harmful lies and stirs up DOUBT. If it can make us doubt ourselves then it has harmed us. We don’t need that in our lives.
This voice is an accuser. Think about it. It accuses you of things – “you’re stupid,” “you’re never gonna finish that,” “you look like an idiot.” It also tells you that other people are judging you. It sounds like “you” and it says things that COULD be true but very seldom if ever are. It is undermining you but you are so used to it that you just let it carry on in your head. This is critical – you have to see it for what it is – your enemy.
There are lots of different opinions about the source of this voice. I have my own opinion and that is that not all of our thoughts come from us. There are forces of Good in the world and forces of darkness. The mind is the most important battlefield in life!!! If you can be taken down there, you are no threat to anyone. Regardless of the source, I think we can all agree that the result of this negative voice is that it ultimately steals from us. It bleeds our confidence and crushes our sense of well-being. We don’t need that in our lives.
Finally, I think that for me if I am being honest, I have developed some strange level of comfort with this negative image of me that the voice represents. Why else would I tolerate it? I have allowed myself to get so comfortable with it that I don’t want to fight it. I have given it permission to continue talking to me. If I fight it and win, what will my inner life feel like? I have been soothed by this lying voice for so long that even though it harms me – I kind of fear being without it. That’s just crazy – but when I look hard enough inside me I cannot see another reason why I would tolerate such a detrimental thing. Somehow I have to get angry enough about it to stand up to it and say ENOUGH!
It makes me think of this powerful quote from Marianne Williamson:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
― Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”
Am I afraid of my own power? My purpose? My light? Maybe so, but I am becoming more afraid to die without having fulfilled my destiny – and I cannot fulfill it with the nagging negative voice beating me down.
What about you? Does that negative voice threaten your ability to SHINE, to manifest the glory that is your birthright and is right now inside you? Let’s shut that mocking, accusing, undermining thing down! Let’s let Goodness win on the battlefield of our minds!
What kind of conversations do you have with yourself? Does that negative voice talk too much?