Like many women, I have a voice in my head that lends a constant narrative to my daily activities. The voice is judge-y, and negative, and generally unkind. The voice scolds me for not making it to the gym, and not replacing my coffee with green tea, and leaving laundry in the washing machine overnight.
The voice writes my accomplishments in chalk and hovers over the blackboard with a huge eraser in her hand. But my mistakes are written in red Sharpie on a huge white wall that runs as far as the eye can see.
If my life were being made into a movie, the casting director would be seeking a “Joan-Rivers-type” to play my inner voice. Personally, I was never a Joan Rivers fan. Always saw her as a woman-hater, pecking at the self-confidence of her mostly female victims. So, of course, it troubles me that she might be the personification of my inner voice.
I would prefer an Oprah, soothing me with constant reassurances. Or maybe an Ellen, still pointing out my problems but in a kinder tone. Or even a Tina Fey, with a bit more sarcasm but still ultimately supporting my right to ‘be a bitch’ sometimes.
I have come to see that I simply must fire my inner voice. There is no point continuing to keep her on staff. I have spent years trying to improve her attitude but nothing has really changed. My inner voice has created a toxic environment in which other parts of the Me-machine are suffering.
She interrupts my sleep. She zaps my energy. She makes me crave the comfort of a cookie even while she berates me for eating it.
I am not entirely certain of the protocol to follow in this situation. It is one thing to recognize that something must be done, but quite another to actually do something.
Can I simply shove her things into a box and send her packing?
What would the inside of my head be like without her? Would her endless squawking be replaced with the spa-like sounds of ocean waves or just a creepy silence? Would I want to re-cast immediately or leave the position vacant for a while and see what happens?
Wait… who am I talking to? Who is asking these rather thought-provoking questions? Could it be that there is already an Oprah in my head? Or an Ellen? Or a Tina Fey?
Maybe I don’t have a single inner voice but instead a whole department filled with voices; hard-working, diligent voices that help me get things done on a daily basis. I bet they are as tired as I am of having the Joan-Rivers-type amongst them, hollering over them and basically sucking the positivity out of their universe.
If I am right… and I strongly suspect that I am… re-casting my inner voice will not be as hard as she might like me to believe. Somewhere in my head there is a voice that tells me I’m doing okay. I think it’s time to give that gal a promotion!
Kim, that inner voice is not gender specific. She is a prodding nudge in all of us. Of course, I don’t think my inner voice would be as colorful as Joan Rivers. Mine might be Wayne Dyer who would be that conscious I should be heeding more. Keith
I think we should all just have Adele playing in our heads instead of all this narrative! So much more inspiring!
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Too often those inner voices have us saying things to ourselves that we would never say to anyone else, much less a friend. FWIW I’m currently reading a book on mindfulness, that I think will probably get around to addressing some of those nags. “The Mindful Way Through Depression” by Mark Williams. You don’t need to be depressed to use the tools (and they are probably more effective if you AREN’T currently depressed).
Adele all the time? Too loud! And her lyrics are often kinda depressing. 🙂 Not sure who I’d pick though. That’s a good project for wasting some time. What music would I rather have than the stupid voices?
Will check out the book. I literally read anything and everything so this sounds cool to me!! Thanks for the recommendation.
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