There is nothing wrong with you. Do you believe me? I bet the voice in your head is saying, maybe there’s nothing wrong with you, but there is definitely something that needs fixing in me!
Let’s talk about that voice in your head, it’s been called “ego” “inner critic” “shadow voice” “survival mechanism” even “obnoxious roommate living in your head.”
Whatever you choose to call it, it is a collection of thoughts, fears, negative beliefs and stories that you made up as a child. Yup, it’s like having a little kid living inside your head.
I keep a photo of myself as a little girl just to remind me that the voice in my head is just a scared little girl. In my case, a little kid with a potty mouth because it says things to me and about me that I would never say to another human being.
The inner critics job is to keep us safe and protected inside our comfort zone.
I remember, years ago, how scared I was when I was supposed to go to a party or gathering, it didn’t matter whether I knew the people there or not. Thinking about walking into a room full of people made me sweat, my heart would beat out of my chest and panic would set in, just by thinking about it.
This was definitely outside my comfort zone and something that was effecting my relationships and my career. I needed to do something about it because there were many times I could not bring myself to walk into a room full of people, without a glass of wine or two.
My shadow voice would shut me down and I would hide.
Even though we develop our ego or survival mechanism to help us cope and survive childhood, as adults we don’t really need it anymore.
And, just by thinking about what we want and the action we need to take to get there can be enough to trigger our ego or inner critic.
I knew that there was nothing to fear from going to that networking but that voice was running the show and shutting me down. Kinda hard to make progress with that going on.
And, that’s where we normally stop. We get stuck in the thoughts, the fear of stepping into the unknown.
The hard truth is, to keep growing and reach our goals, we must feel the fear and keep going.
So what do we do about that obnoxious roommate (or scared child) that lives in our head?
1. Realize that that voice is not who you are. It’s just something you made up as a kid.
2. Understand that the inner critic will likely speak first and speak loudest.
3. When you notice your ego is triggered, do not react, as this will likely lead to all sorts of bad choices. Stop, take a breath and allow the thoughts to move through without sticking. Let them flow on down like a sparkling stream.
4. Once you have space, you’re able to connect with your intuition (instinct, higher self) and then choose from there.
5. Don’t try and push it down or get rid of it, it will only come back stronger. What we resist persists, as the late Debbie Ford said.
6. Take away its power by NOT giving it what it wants, your attention. I recently had an email in my inbox with the subject, ‘Your ego is the enemy.’ Personally I don’t think we should give our ego that much power. What do we do with an enemy? We normally try and fight it. Stop fighting and go back to step 3.
7. If you notice that you are stuck in a hole of negative thinking, check on your well being. Are you tired, hungry, been working way too much? When our well being is off, we are ripe for being triggered.
The bad news is that your ego is not going away, it is yours to keep. The good news is that with practice you can learn to tame, or least lower the volume on that obnoxious roommate living in your head.
With practice, and, there will always be ample opportunity to practice, you will begin to create a more joyful, calm and peaceful life. Life won’t be so heavy. It’s worked for me and for my clients so give it a try and let me know how it goes.