This is a theme that has entered the treatment room with practically every patient I have seen. It is the voice of self-sabotage, the voice of doubt, the voice of self-deprecation, the voice of fear . . . we ALL have it.
This voice is especially interesting to me because I see it manifesting in so many different kinds of people in my clinic. I see people of different economic backgrounds, ethnicity, gender, etc. and they all have the voice. My question is - why? When I figure out the answer to that, I will let you all know. For now, let’s look at how we can manage this voice more effectively.
Some people call this voice the ego. I personally like this label but have talked with people that don’t appreciate labeling the ego as a “negative” thing so I have also heard other names such as “the adversary”. Call it whatever you want, humans have a part of their consciousness that is solely set on self-destruction. This is the voice that says, “go on, have that second serving of dessert”, or “don’t worry about getting out of bed to go exercise this morning, this bed is warm and cozy, you should just sleep in”, or “don’t even try that, you’re not good enough to do that”, etc. It is the same voice that allows people to settle into jobs/relationships that are toxic or depleting to their health and well being.
We all have the voice somewhere in our consciousness and it is the volume of the voice that differs from human to human. Does your voice take center stage or is it the backstage manager? Is it just a part of the chorus line or is it directing the show? Think about how your adversary voice is playing a role in your life. Is it contributing to you settling for a draining job or a toxic relationship? Finding the awareness of where this voice shows up in your day to day life is the first step to turning the volume down.
The second step to managing the voice is acceptance. Do not berate yourself for having the voice or even berate the voice itself by saying things like “ oh neva, there you go again!” or “geze, why is my voice so loud?!” or “i hate you voice!”. This only amplifies the volume because this is actually the voice taking the stage again. Accept it as a part of the human condition. “I am human, therefore I have a voice of self-sabotage. That is ok today because I know how to move forward with this voice. For today, this voice can sit in the audience while the voice of self-love and self-acceptance is at center stage.”
We all have the voice. Becoming aware of how it plays a role in your life today is the most difficult and important part. If you find that the voice is attached to a specific emotion such as fear or grief, take 1 minute to feel the feeling attached to it. It feels scary and inconvenient but as these feelings come up and are validated, they move out. They do not possess you, they want to move up and out. As you start to become aware of the voice and perhaps the emotions that are attached to it, accept them, and then let the voice go take a seat in the audience. Your higher-self will thank you for it and be able to take center stage.