by Linda Gabriel
Have you ever noticed “The Little Voice” inside your mind? To be clear, I don’t mean the whisper of intuition, although sometimes The Little Voice would like you to believe that’s what it is. No, I mean The Little Voice that sounds something like a TV voice-over providing a running commentary of opinions, beliefs, and judgments about your experiences, other people, and especially about yourself. It judges what’s good, bad, acceptable, unacceptable, believable, or ridiculous. The Little Voice often determines what you are willing to accept and especially about what you decide to reject.
How useful is The Little Voice?
While it’s certainly useful to know what you like and don’t like – Chocolate? Yes! Licorice? No! – too often The Little Voice is a powerful inner critic that obstructs your ability to experience love, joy and success. The Little Voice keeps a significant portion of your attention focused in the past or future thus distracting your mind from the ability to actually enjoy the present moment.
The thoughts that are expressed by The Little Voice are habitual, often irrational and certainly unexamined. The Little Voice is really just a collection of automatic patterns of thought which eventually become filters through which you perceive reality – filters which tend to limit rather than empower. However, you don’t experience your filters as filters, you experience them as reality! Even more insidious, you tend to experience your filters as the real you.
You are not your filters
Let me assure you, you are not your filters. Buddhists call this inner voice “the monkey mind” because it’s always chattering and busy. Meditation is an ancient practice that helps quiet The Little Voice. In that silence, you have the opportunity to experience your identity separately from The Little Voice. Some call this moment of realization “enlightenment.”
The purpose of The Little Voice.
The Little Voice tries to provide you with a sense of security by trying to keep you safe and comfortable within the status quo. If reality changes too drastically, The Little Voice is there to sound the danger signal. It will just say no and want you to step on the brakes. The Little Voice would rather not change its opinions, thank you very much. The thing The Little Voice loves most of all? Being right. Right is safe. Right is secure. This is why some people would rather be right than happy, successful, forgiving, or free. Or even alive. Being “right” is an illusion.
The Little Voice + Fear = BFF’s
When threatened, The Little Voice is not above recruiting a few anxiety attacks. It wants things to stay the same and knows that fear freezes flow. It will call on subconscious fears so you won’t even know why you are afraid to move forward in your life even when you have a strong conscious desire to do so. I encourage you stop letting The Little Voice discourage you from trying new ideas. The Little Voice is very skilled at pretending it’s the voice of knowledge or wisdom when it’s really just another opinion.
Suggestions for dealing with The Little Voice
1. Notice – The first step is to simply become consciously aware of The Little Voice and notice what it’s saying.
2. Identify – Reclaim your power. Remember that The Little Voice is not who you really are.
3. Evaluate – Most of The Little Voice’s beliefs were acquired in childhood and may not have been updated in a long, long time. Determine whether The Little Voice is helpful in any given situation. If it is, great! But if it isn’t say, “Thank you for sharing,” and do what the real you knows is best.
4. Meditate – One of the best ways to quiet The Little Voice, and discover who you really are, is to take some time every day to quiet your mind. Basic meditation is not difficult or complicated. Sit in a comfortable position on the floor, or in a chair, and simply focus your awareness on your breath, or repeat a silent mantra such as “Peace” for 5 to 10 minutes. When your mind wanders, which it will, gently bring it back to your breath or mantra.
5. Retrain – Teach The Little Voice some new ways to be “right.” Train it to have positive automatic thoughts by using affirmations, guided visualization and hypnosis. For example, if The Little Voice reminds you, “Money doesn’t grow on trees,” automatically replace that thought with an affirmation such as, “Money is created by human energy and imagination, which is infinite.”
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