The Voices in Your Head

About those voices in your head, you know the ones I mean. There's the one that gets an idea, has a dream, a vision, or sets a goal... 😇 ...and instantly the other one, the one who chimes in with all the reasons it won't work, why you shouldn't do it, all the ways you suck and why you shouldn't even bother trying. 😈 Wanna know a secret? I have them too. We ALL do, to some degree. Some of us just have them louder than others. Mine used to be LOUD and paralyzing but then I got good at using what I called my f*ck it method of ignoring them. It's a super technical, highly scientific method of crushing doubts that I spent years developing whereby, in response to the voice who tells me why I can't do something and shouldn't even try, a third voice (or perhaps the first voice) pipes up and after taking a deep breath, utters: "f*ck it, what's the worst that can happen?" and goes for the thing anyway. See, super technical. ;) I've really been exploring those voices lately though, specifically their origins. I suppose it's my natural curiosity -- I always want to understand how and why things are the way they are. Sure, sometimes I can drown out the bully but why is that voice really there in the first place? Why is Negative Nelly always crapping on me and telling me I can't, I shouldn't, it won't work, I'll fail, etc, etc, etc... ?

I used to think that it was my "voice of reason", the rational side of me, keeping me safe, making sure I knew my place and reminding me of who I really was -- a stupid loser who managed to fake her way into some success but failed at the really important things in life.

But thanks to some really intense self-exploration and work on my thoughts I've been learning to see those messages for what they are... that is, NOT at all part of who I really am.

One day during one of the more intense (mental) exercises I was doing I really saw that second voice for what it really was -- a big mouthed bully, who wasn't rational or protecting me or even being truthful, at all. And I started realizing that it wasn't even really me or my own voice at all. It was the voice of old stories I had made up when I was too young to fully understand how to make sense of the world, the outside messages I was receiving and painful experiences I was having. And it was the voice of other people who had all done the same thing their whole lives.

So, if that second voice has been lying to me my whole life, who am I really? And what am I really capable of?

That's a scary place to arrive at because it comes with so many questions and potential expectations.

I no longer felt like I had the right to keep playing small because of my own insecurities and the bully in my head -- and the value I had to offer the world had nothing to do with building rounder shoulders or the perfect ass, or helping other people do that either. Those things are so completely irrelevant in the grand scheme of life.

And that's what I believe of all of us now. Every living thing on this planet has a purpose and adds value simply by virtue of its being here and I believe that you are no different. You have something remarkable in you that the world needs and I believe that somewhere, deep in your heart, under that big bully's voice, you know that too.

All you have to do is start recognizing that voice for what it is and what it isn't. It's stories you made up trying to make sense of the world around you. It's not protecting you, it's not who you really are, or what you're really capable of, it's not true, and in many cases, it's not even really your own voice -- it's the left over echoes of things you've heard other people say and you've just come to believe.

So, what's one thing you've wanted to do but didn't because of the bully in your head? That first voice, the one with the ideas and dreams and the goals, that's who you really are and those ideas are reflections of what you're actually capable of -- the voice that tells you no, is just a school yard bully. You get to decide who you listen to -- your authentic self, or the school yard bully. It's not always an easy choice, but it is a choice you have the power to make, nonetheless. And the bully gets less powerful the more you learn to ignore him.

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NOTE: While counselors or therapists often use CBT to deal with mental illness or a patient’s mental/emotional conditions and/or processing trauma, MBCT & cognitive eating does not. My roll as a coach, in its most simple form, is to encourage, coach and/or act as a facilitator of a client’s self-reflection, decision making, planning for the future, and creating life changes. As an MBCT & cognitive eating coach, I am obligated to refer clients in need of mental or physical health therapy to an appropriate licensed professional.  

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