Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Voice In Our Heads

There are many voices that we hear each day.  The voices on television, the voices of our friends, the voices of parents, media, music, and the like; But none are as strong as the voice in our own heads.

Many of us, everyday, listen to, believe in, and even swear by the voice of defeat that speaks so loudly--that negative voice in our heads.

Most often, this negative voice is constant and critical, unreserved in its judgement and absolutely untrue.  The voice in our heads tells us the most abominable lies just to have something to do.

Lies like:

“I’m dumb.”
“I can’t do it.”
“I’m ugly.”
“I’m not perfect.”

The list could go on and on.  Often we believe the voice in our heads as true because we’ve been listening to it for far too long.

Yesterday, I volunteered in a local school where I teach kids about art.  We were working on emulating the artist, Henri Matisse.  The purpose of the project was to paint in the style of old Henri and understand his process.  One little girl in the back of the room, sat frozen in fear.
“I can’t do it!!” She said with frustration.

It got me thinking about the negative voice in her itty, bitty head (she’s only 10) and how we always think that voice is right even when clearly, and without argument, it speaks absurd fiction.  There was nothing stopping that little one from picking up her brush and giving it a try except the voice in her head, which told her she couldn’t.

But the thing about this voice, is that we are the creators of it.  Just as happiness can be found not without, but within our own minds, the voice in our head can be taught to speak more gently and with mercy.

For instance, how many of us have thought, just like that sweet little girl, “I can’t!”  What if instead, we said to ourselves, “This is difficult, but I can do it.”  What if this mercy extended to every word we say to ourselves and then to others?

For whatever reason, good karma, blessings from above, or the stars just lined up right, I have a circle of extraordinary women in my life who have taught me how to find the voice of empathy in my own mind and then taught me to believe in it.  One friend in particular, let’s call her “Clover“, speaks with such empathy, energy and enthusiasm that when you are around her, you literally believe that you can do anything in the world.

What if we, like Clover, told ourselves our capabilities were endless?

What if we cultivated a positive voice of hope, and kicked that negative voice out to the curb?

A couple of days ago, in the post You Are Beautiful, I asked what made you beautiful.  I have to be honest, there weren’t a lot of responses.  Don’t get me wrong, I got a lot of positive feedback, but I got the feeling that most of the people reading it had been listening to the negative voice in their heads a little too long, and that maybe it was hard to say something nice about themselves.

Guess what?  Unless you are 7 feet tall, a Swedish vegetarian super model who donates her hair each year to Locks of Love, saves babies in Africa and works at a soup kitchen--I want to hear from you about what makes you beautiful…and even if you are that Swedish vegetarian super model who saves babies in Africa, I STILL want to hear what makes you beautiful!!!

Like I said, when you let that beauty and all its attendant joy cascade from you, you give others the permission to do the same.  Now is the time to deny the negative voice in our heads and celebrate, celebrate,  CELEBRATE what makes you beautiful.  And if you can’t do it for yourselves, do it for your kids, so that they see that its o.k. to shine.  It’s o.k. to be unique.  It is beautiful to listen to the positive voice in our heads and rejoice.

What makes you beautiful?
What things do you want to start telling yourself? 

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