You’re Never Going to Get What You Want
I’m Never Going to Get What I Want
I was out for a run the other day. My breath was a bit heavy, but my body still felt strong. And I was going at my normal slow pace. I’m a very slow runner, I’ve always been hard on myself about that. I have two sides of my brain saying, “It doesn’t matter how slow you go as long as you get there.” And the other side saying, “You are wasting your time. This is going to take forever. Think of all you could be doing instead.”
I run for about a mile with these two sides of my brain arguing. Back and forth. Back and forth. It’s more exhausting than the run itself. My brain can’t handle that conflict. Thankfully I realize I haven’t been listening to my book (oh my god, it’s so good. Go pick up Michael Gruber’s Tropic of Night), so I shift my focus back there. Suddenly, the run doesn’t feel so hard. It’s just one foot in front of the other, like always. The voices seem to fade away.
We all have multiple voices in our heads. You’re not crazy. It is like your car radio. Sometimes we have one station playing and it is blasting at full volume. We have the power to choose what to listen to and what volume.
Some of the voices in my head sound like this:
One voice is afraid of everything and sends me into feeling terror and desperation. It’s afraid I am going to live in a refrigerator box with stray cats as my only friends.
One constantly points out my flaws and failings and wails that I will forever be a failure so why try to be anything else?
One voice is trying really hard to get down to business. She is all work, no play. She hustles hard because all that matters are work and financial security.
Another voice is quiet, still and calm. She knows everything will be ok.
There’s a voice that is constantly cheerful, almost to a point of denial.
I could probably go on, I bet I have another half dozen characters. Can you relate?
Each voice has its own radio station on my personal dial, and a volume setting. The ones of fear, failure, and getting down to business are really loud, and sometimes spend a lot more time on the rotation of what I’m currently listening to. When that happens, my mood completely shifts. Even if I try to override a negative voice with the overly cheerful one, I feel like I am in constant conflict with myself and it feels even more exhausting. I wear myself out and then choose from some numbing behaviors, like watching Netflix or having an extra glass of wine.
How can we use our inner voices to actually help us, instead of wear us out?
There is no one-size-fits-all solution. I encourage you to play with the options I offer and see what works best for you and in what situations. You don’t have to just believe me, I want you to test me.
One of your options is to play with the volume on your radio dial. Literally turn the volume down on the current station you are listening to. This often lets me shift my focus more to the present moment, like when I was running. The voices are often stuck in the future or replaying something from my past. The voices are usually anywhere BUT the present moment. If I can turn the volume down on the voice, I can shift my focus to right now. What do I have to deal with right now? Am I safe? Do I have an immediate action to take?
Another way to deal with the voices will take a little bit of time and a journal. Instead of trying to resist the voice, let it say what it needs to say. While journaling, ask what it’s purpose is and engage it in a conversation. Get curious. Why is it here, and why right now?
What I have found as a coach is that what we resist will persist, so maybe it’s best to just give in and surrender to the moment. These voices in our heads are usually appearing with good intentions and they are becoming present for a specific reason.
I usually spend a little time on this and I like to journal it out because the writing process helps me to work through the different ideas that will swirl in my brain. Sometimes the journal also helps me retain what I’m learning from the voice so I can use it next time.
The most useful thing is clear away the voices so that I can get in touch with the one that is the quietest. The quietest voice is usually the one that is in touch with my intuition and has the best insights for me. The quiet voice is confident and comes from a place of peace. It’s my highest good, and this is the place where I like to take my motivated action. If I take action that is inspired by the other voices the results are usually less favorable.
Take this week to notice your voices. What are their different personalities and what are they saying to you? How does each voice make you feel?
Noticing is the first step. We must first notice before we can make any kind of change. Without noticing, we keep doing the same thing over and over and wonder why we’re feeling stuck and producing the same results that we don’t like.
Comment below and tell me about one of your voices. What is it saying and why is it here? What does that voice want for you?
Sending love your way,