Have you ever had the experience of going to pour yourself another glass of wine and an inner voice has tutted at you so that you felt told off? Or maybe you thought about having another slice of cake, only to hear a reprimanding voice telling you to remember that ‘a moment on the lips, is a lifetime on your hips!’
Now if there is a good diagnosed health reason why you shouldn’t have another glass of wine or a piece of cake, that could be called the Voice of Reason. Otherwise it is probably your Inner Critic.
Most people acknowledge that there is more than just their regular adult voice in their head. However, there are actually a lot more than just the voice of reason or the inner critic. In fact most people have a host of characters that move in, out and around depending on the circumstances.
There have of course been a number of cases over the years of people living out different characters at different times, with each one being unaware of the other. It used to be called multiple personality disorder (now DID ~ dissociative identity disorder). Generally though, unless we have mental health issues, what I’m referring to are different parts of ourselves that probably evolved from childhood onwards.
Let me ask. Do you know anyone who has a tendency to start rocking the boat just as life or a relationship is getting good. If so this will likely be the influence of The Saboteur, the part with a strong belief that it all ‘ends in tears’ rather than ‘happy ever after’. Of course it could be down to early life experiences and their unspoken inner agreement to make sure that ‘X, y or z isn’t going to happen to them’. Equally it could be the internalised voices of unhappy adults they grew up with.
Whatever the causes, the most important thing is to recognise that generally the negative voices are not who we are, they are an aspect of our early conditioning. Equally some of the inner voices can be joyful and encourage you in your endeavours. The good news is that if they aren’t, we can change them but only once we have become aware of them. Otherwise we just react and end up feeling rubbish, rather than responding and making different choices.
For example, three of my voices that pop up from time to time are a trio of best friends whom I’ve named Moaning Minnie, Miserable Madge and Morbid Maude. One tends to trigger the other and left to their own devices, they can lead me down a very slippery path. Luckily though, having identified and named them, I can also recognise when they are popping in for a visit.
As soon as that happens, I apply my 4 C’s Formula of Catch it, Challenge it, Chuck it or Change it. I bring in the logical, rational aspect of myself which questions whether there is a reason to listen to them or not. If not, I thank them for coming and show them the door.
The reality is that we all have a raft of different voices, parts and personalities within us. The danger is when we don’t recognise that and become like puppets on a string, dancing to the tune of the negative rather than embracing our lighter, brighter, more vibrant parts.
So next time if you are feeling a bit low, unless there is a good reason, stop and ask yourself whose voice you might be listening to. That way you can choose whether continuing to listen will help or hinder your life.
Tell us, do you have different voices or personalities in your head?