comparing tones of mental voices

Photo by Fabian Bächli on Unsplash

unpolished thoughts 3/19/2019

I’m keeping silent for now.

I’m waiting to act because there is no clear direction coming from my thoughts.

The only the words I hear come from the inner critic, so I’m waiting for other words.

Sometimes silence is best.

Silence makes it easier to listen. Easier to detect the tone quality that tells me that these words I hear are fighting words. But I don’t want to fight right now.

But it’s worth asking why something inside me does want to fight. It must be because there is some need for a change, something happening here that doesn’t work and needs to be replaced with a better course of action.

What is that mental voice really saying? If I strip away the overtones of blame, insult, and frustration, what is the problem this voice wants to be solved?

Yes, now I see what it is.

It’s the same thing that on other days, with a different tone, the inner voice complains about differently, blaming the world instead of me, congratulating me for being so noble and lamenting that everything else doesn’t accommodate me.

Not much better really, although the force of the complaint is directed away from me, so I can fool myself because it’s easier to listen to.

What if there was a third voice instead, the voice of a good friend?

I can imagine the soft, firm tone of that voice and a pair of eyes that would look into mine and communicate that surely we can solve this thing together.

The friend’s voice might begin by simply acknowledging the challenge of the situation, letting me know that there is nothing wrong with what I’m feeling right now.

Then my friend would remind me of my options, perhaps asking me a few questions to help me see even more options. It would walk me through each one, allowing me to detect subtle differences between sensations that arise in my body related to one scenario versus another.

This approach would allow me to clearly assess each possible course of action in terms of my own comfort. I could arrive at a moment of clarity where I could move again.

This was more or less what happened inside me this morning.

Puzzling over a situation related to my daughter’s education, I finally decided to send a message to her mother, my ex-wife. The message proposed that we take an approach to help our daughter in school that she had previously advocated.

At the time, I had been skeptical. Now I feel differently.

So, of course, part of the conversation with the friendly voice involved acknowledging the possibility of an “I told you so” coming my way. It asked me to imagine what that would feel like and whether that slight discomfort was more important than the discomfort I already feel related to my daughter’s well-being.

Should I insist I had been right at some point in the past or just orient to now, what my daughter needs, and the necessary conversation with her mother?

Because of the clarity of that friendly question, it was easy to answer.

I knew that I might have a messy conversation ahead of me, but the way forward was clear.

I might not have arrived at this place if I hadn’t waited until the tone of voice in my head changed, until it’s quality of warmth told me that I could put my trust in it and follow its lead.

As it turns out, my ex passed on the opportunity to say “I told you so.” As it turned out, she too was much more interested in focusing on what’s best for our daughter.

Next steps:

Imprint this feeling. Make it a habit.


How do you deal with difficult decisions tangled up in your emotional history?

Would you like to move beyond your social conditioning and clarify the signals from your body that can guide you clearly?

This is what the first module of my 2019 online program ¡Reimagine Yourself! is all about: 

How to make your movement practice into a vehicle for rewriting the story of how you move through the world.

Module 1, “Tapping Deep Body Wisdom” starts next Monday, March 25.

To learn more about ¡Reimagine Yourself!, click here

To participate in a free Awareness Through Movement class on Thursday March 21 at 2pm EST, click here


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