Monday, August 25, 2008

Mean Voice Go Away Come Again Another Day

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Before I begin the act of telling you how I managed to overcome the mean voice inside my head, I want to share with you something I wrote about five years ago. It's my hope by sharing the story, you might see yourself. If you see yourself, then it is also my hope that you believe the mean voice can be tamed. As I blog on this topic, I'll be talking about how to rid yourself of the meanest person you know — your own Mean Voice.

Okay, so I'm not ready to give you the keys to my journal (oh dear way too private), but I can at least give you a snapshot of how tortured I was by the mean voice.

Here's a short essay I wrote after Christmas one year.

Family photo from 1968...

I love visiting my family. I really do. And the older I am the better it gets. Still plagued by the “mean” voice, though, I’m not completely comfortable once there. My mean voice says things like, “Yep, I knew it. My sister looks better than me. Thin. Able to wear tight jeans.”

Thank goodness with each passing year the mean voice gets less and less attention. And it just so happens that I don't care as much about my physical appearance anymore. Oh this doesn’t mean I’m ready to throw in the towel—no, I still regularly play tennis and walk or jog five times a week.

I’m simply finding contentment. But I say that, and yet I’m still tortured. As I roll out of bed and glance at my hands I say, “Yep, just as I thought…swollen.” I chide myself for failing to remain on the low-carb fare in preparation for the visit. Looking in the mirror, I fuss at my face. “Fat. Yuck. Control yourself. What’s wrong with you? Why can’t you be more like your sister?”

Then, I start with the promises. “Next time. Next time.” And finally I realize how hopeless my optimism is. Suddenly I’m tired and angry. Feeling fat makes me snap—makes me grouchy. But despite the unwelcomed arrival of the mean voice, I still laughed. I still smiled. Better yet, I left feeling more loved than not.

Even with my tortured experience others told me I looked radiant and beautiful. Graciously I accepted, but deep down didn’t believe them. Regardless love and laughter flowed to and from me and all the while I felt a profound connection to many people, some related some not. This week I loved them all and this week I felt they all loved me back—faults, mean voice and all.

Stay tuned. We'll continue on this thread for a little longer.


linda said...

Yes - you speak for many of us. Happily I'm finding mean voices become only whispers and sometimes just a "psst" to get my attention.

Thanks for encouraging us by sharing!


Allyn Evans said...

My mean voice had an opportunity to take charge last night. I wrote a similar article for my ezine. After sending it out to my list of subscribers, I received an email from a subscriber. She said, "What does that mean?"

Well, the mean voice tried to step in to tell me I had been careless, stupid and too hasty. I found myself beginning to think that maybe the article was confusing or not well written. "You will lose subscribers writing like that!" I listened. Said to myself, "Oh stop it right now. It is what it is." And didn't heed the warnings.

Oh, it's so nice to be free. In previous years, I would spent the rest of the night fretting over it. I would have immediately returned to my essay. I probably would have dashed out another one to try to explain myself, which would have caused even more confusion. Yes...I would have.

But no more.

But Linda, you do bring up a good point.

We have more than one internal voice. It's the mean voice we must learn to recognize so that we can stop listening to the voice that is critical or mean spirited.

The other voice is intuition. It's never critical or never demanding. It's not time sensitive either. It never tells you have to do something now or you will FOREVER miss out. It's kind. Gentle. And caring. That's the voice you want to listen to and that's the voice you want to help grow stronger.

Until next time...