So, here’s a confession: I have a nasty voice in my head. On a good day, the voice is just a bit picky and pushy, pointing out my mistakes and generally taking a pessimistic view of life. At its worst the voice is an out and out bully! And gosh, is she loud whenever something important is happening. She knows that what matters most, hurts most! And nothing matters more than my child so does she ever go on about my parenting…
You know what I’m talking about don’t you? Because I’ll bet that you’ve got a nasty voice too. Course you do. We all do. It is part of being human.
I’ve tried fighting with my nasty voice, countering her arguments, throwing insults back, telling her to shut up already. Sometimes she quietens but usually fighting back just seems to make the voice louder and nastier than ever. And it never eradicates her for good. She always returns! Have you tried fighting your nasty voice? Doesn’t really work, does it? Not fully.
Other times, I find myself becoming her slave, doing everything she tells me do. Maybe if I complete her unrelenting to do list, she’ll give me a break? Tell me I’m doing alright after all? But, no. The demands don’t cease and pretty soon my life itself feels like a prison. And, you know what? I don’t want to give my life to her. Do you?
So, here’s the thing. You can’t eliminate the nasty voice inside your head. But you can learn to live with it. Because that nasty voice has a secret: it is all a trick. The threat isn’t real. Your nasty voice is just a part of you, just a collection of thoughts, feelings and memories given voice. A nasty voice cannot choose what you do, and it cannot reach out can physically hurt you or your children. Sure, it says horrible things but it cannot do horrible things. It is all smoke and mirrors.
Once you know the trick, you can befriend your nasty voice, not as the bully it pretends to be, but as the hurt, vulnerable part of you it really is. You can learn to view your nasty voice like a radio playing in the background. You can’t turn the radio off. But you don’t have to argue with it, to do what it tells you to do, or to listen to it with devotion all day long.
And that’s really good to know. Because that nasty voice, that bad news radio, is guaranteed to be loud and nasty at exactly those moments in life that matter most. When you are right in the middle of one of those incredible, wondrous, important and yet messy parenting moments, you aren’t going to want to battle with a nasty inner voice or be preoccupied with silencing your internal bad news radio. Trust me. There will be something much more important to do.
Apply it in your life: Next time your nasty voice shows up, see if you can view your nasty voice as a radio playing in the background, keeping your focus on doing what matters.