FREEING YOURSELF FROM THE VOICE INSIDE YOUR HEAD
It’s easy to confuse the voice inside your head with you. True growth, healing, and freedom can happen when you realize that, really, none of your thoughts are you. Even though you are working on strengthening your healthy voice, that isn’t you either. You are the one aware of and observing all voices. Realizing you are not the voices you hear in your mind will help you free yourself from them Most of your thoughts are not all that important and just come into your mind without much notice. Your thoughts, even strong ones, affect no one else, but have the power to make you feel better or worse about the past, present, and future. The real cause of suffering isn’t what happens to you, it’s the meaning your mind makes of what happens to you. Sometimes your thoughts are just your mind chattering on about things, and sometimes your thoughts have a charge or energy to them that can build up to where you feel it in your body. Other times you may feel energy build up in your body and not know the cause, which creates all kinds of thoughts, and you can spend a lot of time and effort trying to make sense of the feeling. In these situations, it is helpful to have a way to get rid of energy that is building up or has built up in your body. When you are able to let go of excess energy and get your body back to neutral, it is a wonderful shortcut that eliminates having to spend a lot of time figuring out the reason why you are upset. Sometimes this shortcut is all you need to do to feel better and move on. You don’t always have to figure everything out.
Pay attention and you will notice the voice in your head narrating unnecessarily. This is your mind trying to manage your experience of reality and stay in control, much like a backseat driver. Your mind only registers a fragment of all the things you see or experience throughout the day. Certain thoughts and experiences mean more to you than others, and once your mind clings to a thought, the tendency is to understand it, control it, and create meaning out of it.
For example, you might notice a car across the street, and the voice says, I wonder whose car that is? I think I have seen that car before, or, I hope the driver does not stay there too long blocking my view. Another example is that one day you might feel down and the voice will say, I am so sad, Why am I sad? My husband makes me sad, What am I going to do? and on and on. All this incessant chatter is your mind trying to understand and control things in order to protect you. Most of what you hear from this voice is unnecessary, and at times you might even realize it isn’t helping, but getting it to stop is very hard.
When something upsetting happens you will feel it in your body. If someone says something hurtful, confusing, or you get into an argument, your body absorbs the experience. If you are not aware of feelings in your body, take a minute and think about a time when you were really hurt or upset. Really put yourself there and play the movie of what happened in your mind. Notice any body sensations you are having while thinking about this painful memory? An emotion is the combination of a thought and a body sensation. Think about how your body feels when it’s filled with energy during an argument.
You have learned to call this energy or emotion anger. Notice how your mind will try to discharge the energy with more thoughts.
I can’t believe she did that to me.
I’m going to be alone for the rest of my life.
He is so mean and unfair, I hate him.
What did he mean by that? Why did he say that?
These thoughts fuel your emotions and cause a cascade of feelings, leading to having more thoughts and more energy. The initial thoughts are usually followed by, What am I going to do about it thoughts, which are followed by strong urges to act in some way, making it is easy to become caught in a cycle of resorting to unhealthy or unproductive behaviors. Everyone has these kinds of thought cycles, but people with eating disorders often have urges that sound like, Screw him, I’m going to go binge, or I need to purge now, or I’ll show her, I won’t eat.
The way out of useless mind chatter is to take a moment to remember that you are not your thoughts, but rather the one who is aware of them Become the observer and notice them By doing so, you create some distance between yourself and the thoughts, allowing you to challenge them, let them pass, remember they are just thoughts, and make a more rational choice about what you should or shouldn’t do.