Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Your inner voice

I was just talking to a friend who is studying health and fitness, and she said one of the exercises that they had to do was to listen to their inner voice for a day and write down what it said,

For a whole day.

She said her inner voice turns out to be a taskmaster, keeping her on schedule, laying out the day, making sure she moves from one activity to the next.

Have you ever done this? Stopped and really paid attention to your inner voice? What kinds of things does it say to you?

I don't know about yours, but my inner voice is an asshole.

I haven't spent an entire day focusing on it, but ever since I listened to Brene Brown's TED talk, which I have linked to before, I have thought about my inner voice.

I have paid attention to the voice that tells me I'm not good enough. Or asks me who the hell I think I am. Brown was so right about those voices of shame.

Some good things have been happening in my little world, and when they come out, I am going to tell you and the rest of the entire world. One is that I wrote a small piece about my miscarriage and mental health, and sent it off to The Mighty, and they want to publish it!

But! Even after they wrote to say they were interested, let me tell you what my voice said to me: It's not that great. It's kind of a dumb subject. They're said they'd publish it, but after reading it again, they're going to change their minds.

I heard the mean words, and I knew what was going on. I knew that it was the wretched, ugly little voice in my head working to tear me down. It wasn't real.

So I told it to shut the hell up. It sort of worked.

Then I told this to my friend Jessica, who said to most definitely tell that voice to shut the hell up. Because it is so completely wrong. (And then she told me lots of very nice things about my writing and storytelling, which I have reread like 50 times.)

I was raised to look for external validation. I didn't grow up feeling like I was good enough, or even just enough.

This is a process, something I work on every day.

But listen to this.

Here's one of the really interesting things my friend told me this morning. You can actually change your neural pathways. But interrupting your negative thoughts, you stop the cycle. And eventually, the recurring negative thought just stops.

What if we just went forward in our lives, feeling good about what we did, not second-guessing ourselves all the time, or worrying that we'd said the wrong thing? How good would that feel?

I intend to find out.


  1. My voice visited frequently. And while she is still around, I did get her to slow down. I made a deal with myself that every time my voice would say something mean, I would have to come up with 3 unique and good things I liked about me. After awhile, I would actually stop the inner voice from saying anything because I didn't want to come up with three more good things. It is kind of remarkable how that slowed the voice in her tracks.

    1. Oh, I like this idea very much! Three unique, good things for every mean thought. I am going to try it! Thanks!


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