How to deal with conflicting voices in your head!
I had an emergency meeting with myself today. A whole bunch of ‘Alex’ identities (in my head!) were vying for my attention, each with different characteristics, conflicting agendas and distinctly divergent energies.
Usually there is a predominant voice at any given time. Today it was that of the Inner Critic, the part of me that is constantly critical of what I do (or don’t do). There was also the ‘business manager’ who didn’t feel in control or heard; an achiever who was not happy with the day’s productivity; a part that wanted to be the ostrich and bury my head in the sand, call it the avoider; and yet another part, a soft quiet voice just longing to go outside and be with nature!
The result: a feeling of being disgruntled, fragmented, dissatisfied and stressed.
To what extent do you recognise the different parts of you at any given time? If you had to give a voice to each one, what would each say?
Playwright and novelist, Somerset Maugham once wrote: “There are times when I look over the various parts of my character with perplexity. I recognise that I am made up of several persons, and that the person that, at that moment has the upper hand, will inevitably give place to another. But which is the real one? All of them or none?”
So which one do we listen to? Which one is the real ‘you’?
They ALL are!! And there are even more. Some can only be found in silence, and usually the loudest ones silence the wiser quieter voices. The thing to remember is that we do have a choice at any given time as to which part we pay attention to.
Hal and Sidra Stone, founders of the Voice Dialogue technique maintain that these ‘parts’ - whether the ‘hurt inner child’, ‘the rebel’, ‘the pleaser’ or ‘the achiever’ in you - can be objectified through observation.
The process of observation helps to dis-identify from that part of you, in other words you are able to realise that it is a part of you and not YOU! You are much bigger and greater than that.
The answer to Somerset Maugham’s question, perhaps lies somewhere in the part of you that is self-aware: The one that is doing the observing, otherwise known as ‘the witness’. In the Voice Dialogue technique this is referred to as the Aware Ego – not to be confused with the more normal state of ego identification, i.e. your personality and self-image.
This more conscious and intelligent part of you does not identify with any of the ‘voices’; it is the wiser, deeper and more conscious part of yourself. It is able to separate from the unconscious self, the part that is ‘on automatic’.
In the process, dis-identifying, simply being aware of the different parts of you, helps to lead to self-acceptance, including the parts that Jung called ‘the shadow’.
Let all the parts be there, even the contradictory ones. Listen to the voices, accept them, reassure them and hold the tension of what may feel like the conflicting energies. By doing that, you are engaging in the process which will also allow you to make conscious choices with greater awareness.
There is no need to do anything, the process of simply witnessing constitutes part of our growth and developing consciousness. Just watch, throughout the day, occasionally perhaps catch yourself 'arguing' inside your head. Simply observe, be aware, and you will find that your everyday decisions come from a deeper place within you.
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