Dealing with the little voice inside your head.
I read an interesting book this past month called Last Ape Standing by Chip Walter. One of the chapters that intrigued me is called “The Voice Inside Your Head”. In the chapter, he refers to a question penned by Douglas Hofstadter who wrote: “What is a self and how can a self come out of stuff that is as selfless as a stone or a puddle?”
The stuff he is talking about is our brain, the jelly-like mass between our ears as he quotes: “that makes it possible for you to walk, breathe, see, smell, speak, reflect and imagine”.
In our waking moments, we all talk to ourselves. That little voice is called inner speech, and you can hear it when you’re thinking or silently reading. When inner speech is occurring, your larynx is actually making tiny muscular movements. Often we are critical of ourselves, other times praising. Often we just talk nonsense. How many times have you screwed up on something and said words to the effect: “You idiot. What did you do that for?”
Quieting that voice inside your head is not an easy task. I know. I have worked at it for a long time and rather than quiet it, I have turned it into a useful positive messaging system for my inner me. Many people take up meditation that if persisted at long enough, can quiet the voice. However, little thoughts still seep in around the edges of your mind and off go your thoughts and the little voice again with such messages as;
Damn. Stupid me. I forgot to drop off my dry-cleaning!
Ah. My bad memory. Is today the day I scheduled an oil change?
Where did I leave my spare keys? Have you lost them again dummy?
I wonder if I have enough milk at home? I’m always forgetting the milk.
And on and on it goes. The mind or the little voice inside your head wanders. Princeton University psychologist Julian Jaynes argues that between 10,000 and 1,000 BC, modern humans thought the voice they heard in their head was that of a chieftain or a god. They believed they were listening to an all-knowing being who was observing them and their thoughts.
It seems our brains are capable of all sorts of machinations that most of us have little or no control over. An extreme case of this is schizophrenia. The voices inside the heads of the sufferers of schizophrenics are as real as the voice of friends and family members.
There is no other creature on the planet with a brain that has the ability of homo sapiens brains; its ability to create symbols, to provide meaning to shapes and objects that do not have ready explanations. Our brains can think back, thinks sideways, hold a number of thoughts at the same time, can plan for the future and allow us to comprehend multiple languages.
And all the time, we have a voice inside our head. There are many books on dealing with this voice. The Voice Inside My Head — The Little Voice — How To Quiet Your Mind to name just a few. All are based on the subject of dealing with that voice in different ways. So how do you speak to your self?
Pause a few times a day and listen to what your voice is saying. If it is focusing on negative messages to yourself such as “Why do I always get red lights” or “ Why is there never any parking when I get here”, try changing the channel. Have your little voice say “ Today is my lucky day. Most of the lights on my trip downtown will be green” or “If I think of a vacant parking spot where my meeting is being held, there will be one available for me”. I know this is silly, but I am always amazed at how well this works. Coincidence? Of course but its fun. And if there is no parking space today, there will be one tomorrow.
Have your little voice accent the positive. Not only does it make you feel better, but when the parking spot you told yourself is actually there waiting for you or a car just pulls out as you arrive, you feel like the luckiest person on earth.
Most of us tend to accent the negative. And it is not easy changing that channel. But if you work at it, it works for you! You will feel better. Don’t go wasting your money on books as most of them have a great deal of filler before getting to the point. How do I know? I own several. And the point is; just change the channel on your thoughts from Neg1 to Pos1. It's that simple but, it does not happen overnight.