Talking to the Voices and Tackling the Monsters

Try talking to the people who live in your head and find out what they want. You don’t have to have a psychological disorder to have multiple voices in your head.  One voice says “go for it, have the ice cream.”  The other voice says, “you are too fat, eat a carrot.”  Since they are there anyway, you might want to get clear about who they are and what they want.  Generally, we try to ignore the voices in our heads or we take them way too seriously.  But they are people too,  :-)  and you will all get along much better if you give them some attention--without believing everything they say. As grown-ups, we are often so busy that we ignore any “weak” or “needy” voices.  My pro-ice cream voice is often a little sad and lonely and wants some comfort.  If I just ignore her, she gets more and more agitated, until she starts to interfere with all of my “productive” activities.  Have a little chat, find out what that voice wants and give it a cookie (not literally – just something to distract it or satisfy its needs).  Maybe it will take a bubble bath in lieu of a cookie, or maybe a conversation with a good friend.  So try it out.  Say hello to your needy voice, ask its name and find out what it wants.  Then you can negotiate rather than be blindsided later on.

Most of us give way too much credence to the mean voice – you know, the voice that criticizes you mercilessly and is never satisfied.  We get it confused with responsibility or think that we need the mean voice to keep us in line.  What does your mean voice look like?  Mine is a little old lady who screams constantly, has a rabid look in her eyes and sometimes carries a whip.  Once I started seeing her as a psycho little witch, it was easier to ignore her.  Of course, even she may have a valid point now and then; but I find that I am much more productive when I approach anything she says with a large grain of salt.

Some voices don’t speak as clearly and are harder to get a handle on.  Fear stops or slows down most of us to one degree or another, especially when we are trying or considering something completely new – changing jobs, careers, marital status, moving to a new country, etc.  Since fear is abstract and often doesn’t have a coherent message, it is scarier and often more difficult to manage than the other voices.  Try visualizing your fear and drawing a picture of it.  Maybe it will turn out to be a huge, black, tumultuous cyclone, or maybe it will be a big, fat demon with red horns and sharp claws.  Fear, like the other voices, often just wants some attention.  Plus, it’s hard to be intimidated by something that is posted on your wall.