Negative voices plague our minds and all too often we mistake them for “truths.” Sometimes self help coaches tell us that “feeling good is a choice,” which doesn’t make sense in this state of mind. If what we think is an unmistakable truth, how do we have choices? Truth is definitive, there is only one option.
You are stupid and ugly. You will never amount to anything. And you’re fat.
If we believed these, there would be no hope to be any different. We can conclude that we are and will always be a failure at life.
The negative lies we tell ourselves…
Before anyone can see that there are other possibilities, that truth status needs to be deconstructed. Dismantled. Over years this may have become a stronghold, but if we don’t challenge these beliefs, we cannot get anywhere in our healing process. We must break them down.
Getting Rid of Negative Voices in Our Heads
First of all, You Are Not Alone! We all have these voices in our heads!
1. Figure out who’s voice it is. These negative identity conclusions came from somewhere. Somewhere we got this message from outside ourselves. That person who put you down had a problem (but we won’t get into that here).
2. Write them down, clearly see them for what they are. Naming them undermines their power, takes them out of your head where you can stand back and see them from a new perspective.
3. List out or find someone to help you see other parts of you to list that run counter to the negative voices. What other stories are going on? This way you will begin to have preferred identity conclusions.
4. Ask someone who loves you what they think.
Here is an example from a client of mine:
The “lying” truths:
- You are stupid and ugly; You will never amount to anything; You’re fat; You’re a girl, a sissy, a wimp; Numb Nuts; You’re nothing but a big baby; You’ll never be a man; And, you’re Lazy; You’re wrong; You have no right to give your opinion; Anything you have to say keep it to yourself; do as I say, not as I do; as long as you live under my roof you will do and believe what I say; who are you going to believe, me or your uncle?; speak only when spoken to; shut up, I don’t care what you have to say; the next time I see you crying I’ll give you something to cry about.
- Much of this was non-verbal: I’m too busy watching TV right now; you’re the oldest and should set a good example (what example); visiting with my sister is more important than leaving you alone after getting home from the hospital; be quiet and go to sleep; just wait until your father get’s home so he can use the belt on you; come home, pack your bags and get out
The new me:
- I am intelligent; I am innocent; worthy; empathetic; intuitive; caring; loving; giving; thoughtful; kind; generous; spiritual; God’s beautiful child; worthy of being loved and cared for; I love all of God’s creatures; I deserve to not be used and taken for granted; Even though I am a man I have many feminine characteristics – for example I comfort my granddaughter when she cries, I hold my wife in my arms and let her cry on my shoulder when she is sad. I am still able to care for my adult children, bring home flowers or a loving card for no reason at all, write love letters to my wife, and nurture my students.
One of my students made a big mistake (not unforgivable) while working for another area. She was never trained to do the job for which she made the mistake. That supervisor told me he needed to fire her which would mean she couldn’t work for me either.
I very strongly stood up for her not backing down an inch. It turned out she was only given a reprimand as a result of my objections. The next day her mother passed away and I also discovered her father was dying of cancer. I was able to point out to the other supervisor that you never know what another person is going through and what would have happened if she was fired while trying to take care of her father and then her mother died unexpectedly.
Countering those negative voices
I take care of, love, our animals. This I am proud of, I have stayed with all of our animals over the years and held them when it was necessary to put them to sleep helping them to pass over and grieved for them. — It’s important that I’m heard and respected. — I am learning it’s OK to be vulnerable and show emotions. — I am able to bring comfort and hope to others who have been sexually assaulted.
I have made myself available to talk to students to about sexual abuse and rape. Then, I participated in a workshop and was able to bond with 25 very different people within 2 days and to strengthen that bond during the rest of the week. I had a part in healing one of the participants —
I am a husband. Also, I married at 20 and we have been together for nearly 40 years. I am a father. While in my 20’s we had 2 children and vowed to bring them up in a non-violent, loving, caring respectful way. We learned strategies to do so and our children were never spanked or had a hand laid on them in anger. — When I love someone, family or friends, it is forever even if not reciprocated. I am willing to help people without expectations (most of the time).
Wow, he did better than I could have imagined. I cried when I read this. He is so spot on in his new identity. A gorgeous, generous, thoughtful, loving, legacy-breaking, funny, smart, talented human being. He found his Self.
Any other thoughts from you to counter her negative voices?