How about those voices inside our heads? The voices that say we are not good enough, we are not thin enough, we are not smart enough, we are not outgoing enough, we are not…well basically up to the task and we are imposters. We all have those voices and they seem to come out in force at any new challenge.
A client once asked me how to get rid of these debilitating, unhelpful voices. Yes, we are of the fix-it culture. We want to throw out the old and automatically live the new. But real and healthy change rarely happens in a moment. If we’ve had those voices for a lifetime, they have developed their own neurological routes and have established a presence in our being. They will always be whispering to us. The challenge is what we do when they surface.
- Say hello! “Oh, you’re a voice from the past letting me know I’m feeling a little vulnerable in this situation. But you are really going too far. And you are reflecting only one part of the truth of me.”
- Affirm the other part of the truth of you, the part of the truth that is more useful to your goals for effective interactions. “Hmmm. Despite some nagging fears, I am up to the task, I’ve done it before, problems come with the territory, and I’m able to deal with them. I’m willing to offer my best.”
- Build a regular habit of installing a new “voice of choice” each time to hear one of those old whispers, or a tightening in your gut. Remember that at any moment you can choose the voice to which you’d rather listen. Become masterful in the moment at giving yourself a new and more useful truth about you – a new choice. The voice to which you give regular attention will get stronger and more powerful.
- Finally reflect on your process each time. Perhaps you missed the opportunity to install the voice of choice on some specific occasion. Just notice. “Oh I missed it. I might have said…..” (As opposed to adding fuel to the wrong fire, and beating yourself up.) You’ll find that with this new habit, you’ll often notice the opportunities first after the fact.Then as you get better, you’ll notice them in preparation for challenging tasks. Then as you get even better you’ll notice them in the moment of an interaction. So be sure to give yourself credit for any small or large success: “Hey, I got it in there. I chose something more useful and even more true about me. And I feel better.”