Updated: Dec 10, 2019
"Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking." -Marcus Aurelius
We all have a voice inside our heads. You know, the one we talk to from the moment we wake up in the morning to the moment we fall asleep at night.
It’s the perpetual rambler, never ceasing to stop making judgments or accusations on everything we see throughout our day. The majority of its jargon is nagging and insatiable, provoking rash and unsubstantiated remarks about people, things, events and even ourselves.
The scariest part of this dialogue is that most of the time, we don’t even realize we are engaging in conversation with it. Since it’s been there our entire lives, we assume it’s our voice, and just deal with its constant noise.
In reality, though, our only true voice is the one we speak with; the thoughts that we create, when we are able to recognize the difference between the voice running around like it has its head chopped off, as opposed to the self-assured, confident and head-screwed-on-tightly voice.
This cynical cohost of our lives resembles that of a child, often speaking from a place of “me, me, me.”
I’m hungry. What should I eat? I want a bagel, but I don’t want all the carbs. Maybe I’ll have some oatmeal. Ah, screw it. I’ll have a bagel today and go back to being healthy tomorrow.
Why can’t my hair just work today? Is that a pimple coming in? (Looks closer into the mirror). Damn, it is. Not today, why does this always have to happen to me?
When is this day going to end? I wish it was Friday. Still four more days to go until the weekend … I need a vacation. Somewhere warm. On a beach. With a drink. Now.
How do we stop the ever-antagonizing, ruthless voice in our heads before it drives us crazy? To be honest, I’m not sure there is one clear-cut way to forever break free of that shadow. But, a way to lessen its volume and reduce the weight of its judgments, is to simply be aware of its presence when it enters your mind.
By becoming observant of the kinds of thoughts you don’t want caroming around your head, you are more able to patiently and willfully let them loose from your grip, allowing the thought to go on its way. Replacing a negative thought with a positive one helps as well.
For example, instead of thinking: I’m not good enough for that position; they’ll never hire me for it. You can replace that with: I am worthy and fully capable of handling that position; I am a perfect candidate to be hired for it.
The more you begin to take notice of the sardonic cohost that’s joining you for this ride of life, the more you begin to see that this second voice is not the dominant, powerful ruler of your mind, but rather like a small, insecure child that needs constant distraction.
Like working on a muscle that you want to be toned, the mindfulness needed to work on the thoughts in your head is similar to a workout at the gym. It’s a work in progress; the more you practice being the observer rather than the observed, the more you have increased authority over its input.
No one ever said that taking control over your mind is an easy feat, it’s probably a life long practice; but possibly just thinking that it is so, will make it that much easier to begin creating a life supported by thoughts that motivate and sustain you.
You, and only you, have the ability to do so. Be a one-man/woman show.