Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Naming Our Voices

A friend and I were in a conversation recently and she told me that she was working with a career coach. One of the things that the coach had suggested was to identify, and name, the different voices that regularly speak to her.

Now you might be resistant to the idea that you hear voices, but if you are anything like me, in your head is an almost constant silent conversation. In the past, I have labeled some of the thoughts that I have heard, like  "blaming" or "jealousy."

But my friend's coach did not suggest that. Insteand, she suggested naming them like acquaintances. "Betty" or "Melissa," for example. I did not say anything at the time but that seemed rather silly to me.

After sitting with it for a few days, though, I think I'm beginning to see wisdom there. Many of us have acquaintances who are incredibly upbeat and supportive. And we have others who nag or put down or are simply always negative. It is that way with our voices, too. When I call something "judgment," it seems heavy, like something I should resist. But "Henry" is just annoying. Henry is no more part of me than any of my "in the flesh" companions are.

If I notice Henry going off again, eventually I will get sick of him, and he will move on. Henry may show up for awhile (after all, I've known him for quite some time), but he will eventually tire of me, just like I am tired of him.


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