There is a voice inside all of our heads, and that voice has the ability to change the world.
We go around listening to this voice all day. It gives us a running commentary on our internal and external reality. We hear this voice when we do something stupid and chastise ourselves. We hear it when we are trying to make decisions. We also hear it when we are talking to other people. In fact, often our conversations with other people get derailed specifically because of this inner dialogue that we are having with ourselves. We become more engaged with the conversation in our own head and fail to listen and connect authentically with the person right in front of us.
Recognizing that this voice exists and that “IT IS NOT YOU” is a very good place to start. There is YOU and there is this voice. Sometimes your inner voice will serve as a helpful guide, but often it will lead you astray, or work against your own interests. It is essential to recognize this and to understand, therefore, that learning how to “manage” this voice can stop you from blindly following it down random, unhelpful paths. (I have some thoughts to share on the connection between the inner voice and addiction, but they will have to wait for another day.)
Many people have an inner voice that is relentlessly critical. It can be critical of themselves, and it can also be bitingly critical of others. People often think that there is nothing they can do about the judgy little critic inside them, but what if there was something you could do? Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we could shush up that voice and just let things be as they are? Wouldn’t we be better friends, partners, colleagues, and citizens of the world if we could rein in the heckling Muppets in our brains?
The first step in reckoning with one’s inner voice is recognizing when it has your attention. You are probably so used to this inner stream of babble that you don’t even notice it’s there most of the time, and you may not yet acknowledge it as something that has power over you, or that you could potentially learn to control.
If any of this resonates with you, and you want to engage in the process of taming your inner voice, I suggest starting by spending a few days trying to catch the moments in your day when your inner voice is speaking to you, and recording them in some way, as objectively as possible. Notice the tone of your inner voice. Notice the frequency with which it has your attention. Notice whether overall it is a force for good, or a force for something you wouldn’t quite label as good.
Noticing your inner voice is the first step towards recognizing the power that it has to change the world. Having a more rigorous understanding of the difference between your inner voice and YOU is the basis for transforming yourself. And if you can transform yourself, you can transform the world.
Hi! Remember me? I’m back, at least for today. I got into the habit of writing once a week earlier in the year, and then all of a sudden, my muse disappeared. Or rather, my inner voice started asking whether I should write less, or write about different things, or maybe just stop writing entirely. I grappled with that inner voice for a while, and then I gave up the fight and just stopped writing. Then the voice switched teams and started complaining about why I wasn’t writing anymore! So, I finally got up the – I don’t know what to call it – chutzpah (?) to just sit myself down and start writing this morning.
When I was writing earlier in the year, I used Robbie Swale’s 12 Minute Method to get myself to write. The method is: write for 12 minutes, proofread once, then publish. Today, I wrote for six minutes, just to get my head back in the game. I wasn’t able to get as far as I wanted to with the topic of the inner voice, but there’s always next time.
I hope you find something useful in my articles, and if you do, my inner voice and I would love it if you let us know!