Voices in your Head

There are probably some good ones, and maybe some old leftovers

Sue Sullivan has left a new comment on your post "Enough or not; too much or not":

I used to read your comments of "if you think you're not doing enough then you're not" and have a completely unhelpful reaction -- a sudden seizure of guilt and anxiety. I'd spiral off into thinking about how I hadn't been doing enough and what opportunities had I lost and was I making a mess of raising my kids and on and on.

Thankfully, I now understand your comment and my reaction differently -- if I think I'm not doing enough, that's just my inner voice, letting me know it's now time to do something different. It's not too late, I haven't failed, it's simply the right signal, at the best time that I could manage to respond to it. And I never let my thinking spiral off into guilt and fearfulness any longer -- I cut that off swiftly and calmly and completely.

If it took me a while to really notice or be willing to face that feeling of "I don't think I'm doing enough," well, that's because I was raised to listen for instruction from outside, from others, and to feel a lot of shame and guilt, and I was still learning to notice and believe my own inner voice. And that's okay. Each time I did finally listen, I learned to recognize what it sounded and felt like more quickly, and I heard it more quickly the next time.

Thank you for reminding me of how I used to feel and helping me notice how much that has shifted. :)

It is possible that Sue's "seizure of guilt and anxiety" came from messages in her subconscious, too. That's okay—everyone has those. It's possible to more consciously hear them and say "Wait, though..."

Voices in your head

In your head, you have some repeating-loop messages. Some are telling you you're doing a good job, but I bet some of them are not. Some are telling you that you have no choice, but you do.

Scanner image by Sandra Dodd

Volume Control!

"hahamommy" is Diana Jenner.

hahamommy:   that's a mantra of one of my voices "This mess is my issue"

SandraDodd:    How many voices do you have?

hahamommy:    I put the mormon tabernacle choir to shame!

Gil (Guest5):    I know I have at least 3 ..:-)

hahamommy:   thanks to you, sandra, at least I can use the Volume Control!!

Schuyler:    It's a dial not a switch...

hahamommy:   and it's like a mixer board: some I louden and some I quiet

From a 2009 chat called Ideas, Quotes and Affirmations

The people I respect most have become little voices in my head, and I "consult" them when I'm making decisions in their specialty areas. I have friends who are more patient than I am, more generous with time, and I think of them clearly and try to emulate them when I am making choices in those areas. Some cook better and are more organized, and I think back to things they have said, or to things I have seen them do, or I try to induce in myself the presence and mood they have when they're cooking or straightening. I don't want to be them, but I want to be more like them in the ways they have that earned my respect.
—Sandra Dodd
from longer writing here

Past voices
Let the past inform your decisions. Let the past be a little angel on your shoulder, but don't let the voices in your head tell you what to do. It might be time to tell the voices in your head "enough."
Voices in your head
photo by Karen James

Use your words Someone once wrote:

"In the past my kids have tended to expect to be waited on hand and foot."

I responded:

If you use phrases like "to be waited on hand and foot," you're quoting other people. That usually means the other person's voice is in your head, shaming you. Or it means you've adopted some anti-kid attitudes without really examining them. If you're having a feeling, translate it into your own words. It's a little freaky how people can channel their parents and grandparents by going on automatic and letting those archaic phrases flow through us. Anything you haven't personally examined in the light of your current beliefs shouldn't be uttered, in my opinion. Anything I can't say in my own words hasn't really been internalized by me. As long as I'm simply quoting others, I can bypass conscious, careful thought.

photo by Sandra Dodd

Every word
If you think of every word you use, you won't be able to berate yourself with the voices of others.... Everyone has those little loops of voice in their heads. You can "simply accept" that or you can decide on a case by case basis which ones to keep until you die and which ones to start talking back to.

If you use language without careful examination, you won't be speaking mindfully. School-style responses and reports involve parroting back, sounding confident, using the right buzzwords. But to be truly original and thoughtful, each word needs to be the one one really meant to use. It's a different kind of thinking.

photo by Sandra Dodd, of birds outside Schuyler's house

Recovery Deschooling (even though the voices aren't all from school, still...) Mental Health for Unschoolers