Does the negative self-talk in your head ever feel like this? Scary isn’t it? It’s designed to get your “fight or flight” response activated. That response includes losing your peripheral vision, not being able to hear, and holding your breath. Pretty distracting, isn’t it.
We all have two voices in our heads; the Inner Critic pictured here, and the Inner Wisdom. It’s similar to the old cartoon representation of an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other.
Everyone, yes everyone, has this going on, all the time. One of the common themes I see is people being confused about which voice is which. Which one should I listen to? Which one has my best interest at heart? How do I know?
The negative voice is there to keep you “in line”, keep you safe. That sounds good, but the problem is that it defines “safe” as where you are right now. It does NOT want you to change. It does NOT want you to do something different. If what you are hearing is telling you to do what you’ve always done, or maybe what you’ve always done only do it harder, it’s that Inner Critic. Its job is to keep you where you are. It’s technique for doing that is to keep you worried, anxious, fretful…in other words: DISTRACTED…so you won’t try something different. It’s relentless.
The Inner Wisdom voice is more subtle. It doesn’t judge and doesn’t yell. The information it gives you just seems to “drop” into place. It’s the voice of intuition, inner knowing, wisdom. It’s those things you just somehow know to be true.
One of the problems here is that the Inner Wisdom needs relative calm and quiet to be heard. That might be why it shows up so often in the shower! It’s pretty peaceful in there in the hot water. You do want to listen to this voice. We want to create opportunities for it to communicate with us. Long walks, yoga, running: peace, calmness. We all know that when we don’t listen to this voice we regret it later, don’t we? We had an inkling, we had a feeling…we talked ourselves out of it, didn’t we? And we wish we hadn’t.
So there’s the distinction. It’s really simple, and yet oddly illusive. The Critic always delivers it’s message with a “tone”, and “attitude”. The Wisdom is always neutral in tone. It just is.
It’s really that simple. Wisdom may have a negative message to give us, but it will be delivered in a neutral tone. Critic voice is never neutral.
The only trick is for you to remember the guideline. Neutral vs charged tone. You’ll be surprised at how clever your Inner Critic is at getting you to listen to it!
Let me know if you’d like more untangling of this…