'The voice' and disappearing down the rabbit hole..........
You know the voice I’m talking about? The one that might:
Talk you out of things
Talk you into things
The list could go on.
This voice could also do other things, such as encourage, comfort, defend, appease, nourish, support, but we don’t tend to focus on that, do we? We tend to go all in for the negative aspects of what it might be saying. We like to dwell there sometimes, us humans.
What ‘voice’ am I referring to?
For those of you reading this, thinking, “What? What voice is she talking about? I don’t know what she means?” I’ll offer an example of how ‘the voice’ might show up:
You’re walking in the hills, quite happily enjoying the sights and sounds and suddenly a conversation you had with a friend yesterday pops into your mind. ‘The voice’ appears. It might come in a random, disjointed form that could look a little like: ‘Maybe that thing you said to your friend yesterday really upset them.’ ‘You probably shouldn’t have said that thing.’ You definitely shouldn’t have said that thing.’ ‘What if they are really upset and they don’t like you anymore?’ ‘They might be upset and haven’t told you that they’re upset and that’s even worse.’ At this stage, you might even start to respond to the voice in your head, try to rationalise with it, neutralise it, talk it down. ‘No, they wouldn’t have felt like that, they didn’t feel like that, they said X, Y, Z, which shows that they absolutely couldn’t have felt upset.’ You give the voice evidence to the contrary. Well, you try to. It doesn’t like that. It comes back stronger, louder and more prepared than it was before.
Disappearing down the rabbit hole
Before you know it, you have disappeared down the rabbit hole of endless ‘what if’s’, catastrophising about the state of your relationship with your friend, scrutinising every last part of what you said to them, wondering whether they still like you, whether they will tell other friends about this awful thing that you said. Before you know it, you’ve been completely ostracised from your friendship group. Your family doesn’t like you either and your workmates absolutely don’t. It’s all over. You’ve lost everything and everyone.
That’s the voice. That’s the one I’m talking about, and it can get loud and messy in there. Truly.
Why do we have the voice? What is it doing there?
This isn’t straightforward; there can be many reasons why this ‘voice’ exists within us and sends us spiralling into internal disarray. The voice can be there from experiences we have had in our lives, from family members, friends, acquaintances, who’s ‘voices’ we have internalised as our own, defence mechanisms masquerading as ‘protectors of our vulnerabilities’ (rationalise it all before any real feeling can creep in), adopted, habitual patterns that we may not even be conscious of, existing deep within us, emerging as ‘the voice’. The cultural voice can be strong; systemic ‘voices’ that rise within us, perpetuating the myths of ‘normal’ and how we ‘should’ show up in the world. The inner child’s voice, the critical voice, the blaming, shaming voice. All the voices, taking up space and sacred time in our worlds.
So, what can we do about it?
Having an awareness that the voice exists in the first place is a really useful starting point. When we bring awareness to something, there is a distance (however slight) between us and the ‘thing’ that we are aware of.
Noticing the voice (without judgement), being curious about what it has to say. Is this really me? (we might ask it). Is this really what I feel, think, believe and know? Is this voice truth? Who’s truth is it? Is this voice familiar? Does it sound like someone that I know? Where is this voice in my body? Can I locate it? What do I feel like when it starts its chatter? Is this voice serving me? Is it bringing me anything at all that I can utilise, explore or consider? When does the voice arise? Does it have typical times of emergence? What does it do when I don’t entertain it, when I don’t answer back, when I just watch it chatter on, offering it no resistance? What happens then?
Observing something, thus indicating that whatever it is that we are ‘observing’ cannot be ‘us’ at our core, can serve us well in the knowing that whatever the ‘voice’ is saying, never belonged to us in the first place.
Remember, the sky cannot observe the sky because it IS the sky, but that’s a blog for another day……………………………………………………….
Go well, friends.