I don’t remember the first time that I spoke to myself. I suspect it was a gradual transition. I mean I’ve seen children babbling to themselves seemingly incoherent, a bit like my writing I suppose. But now that I’m 50, that incessant inner-voice has set up house and made himself quite comfortable.
The thoughts in your head are quite often cynical. It’s a voice that forms an opinion before anything happens. And because of that, you listen to others with a preconceived notion of what they really mean.
In other words, you are constantly reading between the lines and adding meaning to what others say. And you do this by filtering what you want to hear so that it fits your beliefs.
That inner voice was probably developing before you could even speak your first word. It’s the means through which you interpret and understand your reality. It’s the mouth of a sub-conscious. It’s always acting as a secondary reflector of thoughts and feelings.
It gives reasons for what’s perceived as right and wrong. And in your mind, which is embraced as the center of all that you know – is the essence of your identity – the creator of your thoughts, the voice of reason, and the emboldened valor that gives you the rights that you believe are yours. And much to your chagrin, it spends all of its time and assets rationalizing and justifying the impulses of an animal body.
For most of your life you considered that inner voice to be you. Of course, you thought, ‘that’s me’. You never considered any other way of looking at it.
Well, I would like to ask you to consider who’s listening to that voice.
Is that not an interesting concept? What I’m asking of you is to separate yourself from childhood issues, because that’s where that voice comes from.
I myself made a life altering decision when an angry teacher yelled at me in kindergarten. Somewhere around the age of five, you did too. It was the first time you were truly aware of being threatened.
So, in order to further separate yourself from that five year old’s decision, put that emotion into the words of a five year old, ‘If I talk, they get mad’. Whenever I say that, I picture myself as a five years old pouting in shyness. Whatever your decision was, say it like a five year old would.
I’m asking you to look at what has become an automatic response mechanism, as something other than you – something other than your awareness.
At any given moment, you can choose to look at that fear as a decision made by a child. And as such, you can choose to overcome that habitual emotion. One could even argue that such childhood decisions have become a brainwashing of sorts – simply because of a lifetime of recurrence.
When someone gets upset with me, I can sense that empty pocket of fear that rises in my chest. But in spite of that, I can choose to look at that reflex as something separate. Even when it turns into anger and wants to strike back, I have a choice. I can be flirtatious, fun-loving, or whatever way of being actually thrills me. I don’t have to be an emotional reflex.
I’m not always successful of course, but I can replace that reflex emotion with excitement about who I get to be when I have that realization.
Inside of your inner voice are categories. You categorize everything, even yourself. And this labeling of everything has a tremendous effect on your perception. Inadvertently you’ve lived and believed everything that you’ve labeled yourself. Like, “I’m not very witty”, or “I’m smarter than them”.
Yet, when you share that inner voice and check it against your friends and say, “I’m smarter than you.” They laugh hysterically and that sentiment is seen for the egotistical sham that it is. Most friends do a wonderful job of keeping you in check. Psychologically speaking, being fully self-expressed is a way of keeping the inner dialogue healthy and it’s a way of expanding your self-awareness.
I don’t get upset very easily, I eat too fast, and I don’t have the energy to make good friends. By living labels, they become rules that you obey. And if you repeat them long enough, the labels become facts as you brainwash yourself with them.
The reality of the situation is this; self-prescribed rules are merely declarations that you actually and unknowingly believe in. Some of these beliefs have become so deeply ingrained they’ve become automatic in your response system, and they influence your behavior in such a way that you think of yourself as being that label (that’s just who I am) and as such it becomes a reactive impulse.
Thru daily repetition and reinforcement they become more than just a label, I’m not very witty. They become rules to live by, People don’t want to hangout with me, because I’m not very witty. So why put any effort into making friends?
I don’t want to go out, because it’s too hard – trying to always say the right thing – so that I don’t upset anyone.
It’s better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and upset someone.
I’m a good listener. That’s how I learn. By being quiet I can learn without upsetting anyone.
Habitual dialogues are neurotic and potentially undermining because they have the power to set you up for a specific outcome. And if you’re truly honest with yourself, you’ll see that outcome is not what you want.
Over time, these thoughts become your program and you become their predictable machine. But after anxiously straining in them, being aware of these rules can free you of their commands. In that illuminated moment of awareness, collectively a thousand aging psycho-archives that otherwise, with an addict’s stamina, pass as ‘you’ –– all come to a moment’s end. And your awareness shows the real you, momentarily free of its programmable ego.
Your sense of self is constantly searching for something to attach an identity. (Even this writing, it’s mine!) When you describe yourself, you’ll find the descriptions are like protective boxes that you’ve placed yourself. Like a cat hiding in a discarded Christmas box, it keeps you small and safe. It becomes a cherished method of operation and you carry it everywhere.
The reasons, which you make about yourself, started in childhood. As you’ve aged, they’ve developed in a mature fashion, but always limit your potential. They limit your flexibility and they’re not who you are. There are so many rules that you unknowingly follow.
These ever developing rules are used to define and rationalize impulsive behavior. As the rules pile up and combine to form complexity in your persona, you’ll find that they can always be traced to a deeper underlying cause.