There is nothing wrong with you. Do you believe me? I bet the voice in your head is saying, maybe there’s nothing wrong with you, but there is definitely something that needs fixing in me!
Let’s talk about that voice in your head, it’s been called “ego” “inner critic” “shadow voice” “survival mechanism” even “obnoxious roommate living in your head.”
Whatever you choose to call it, it is a collection of thoughts, fears, negative beliefs and stories that you made up as a child. Yup, it’s like having a little kid living inside your head.
I keep a photo of myself as a little girl just to remind me that the voice in my head is just a scared little girl. In my case, a little kid with a potty mouth because it says things to me and about me that I would never say to another human being.
The inner critics job is to keep us safe and protected inside our comfort zone.
I remember, years ago, how scared I was when I was supposed to go to a party or gathering, it didn’t matter whether I knew the people there or not. Thinking about walking into a room full of people made me sweat, my heart would beat out of my chest and panic would set in, just by thinking about it.
This was definitely outside my comfort zone and something that was effecting my relationships and my career. I needed to do something about it because there were many times I could not bring myself to walk into a room full of people, without a glass of wine or two.
My shadow voice would shut me down and I would hide.
Even though we develop our ego or survival mechanism to help us cope and survive childhood, as adults we don’t really need it anymore.
And, just by thinking about what we want and the action we need to take to get there can be enough to trigger our ego or inner critic.
I knew that there was nothing to fear from going to that networking but that voice was running the show and shutting me down. Kinda hard to make progress with that going on.
And, that’s where we normally stop. We get stuck in the thoughts, the fear of stepping into the unknown.
The hard truth is, to keep growing and reach our goals, we must feel the fear and keep going.
So what do we do about that obnoxious roommate (or scared child) that lives in our head?
- Realize that that voice is not who you are. It’s just something you made up as a kid.
- Understand that the inner critic will likely speak first and speak loudest.
- When you notice your ego is triggered, do not react, as this will likely lead to all sorts of bad choices. Stop, take a breath and allow the thoughts to move through without sticking. Let them flow on down like a sparkling stream.
- Once you have space, you’re able to connect with your intuition (instinct, higher self) and then choose from there.
- Don’t try and push it down or get rid of it, it will only come back stronger. What we resist persists, as the late Debbie Ford said.
- Take away its power by NOT giving it what it wants, your attention. I recently had an email in my inbox with the subject, ‘Your ego is the enemy.’ Personally I don’t think we should give our ego that much power. What do we do with an enemy? We normally try and fight it. Stop fighting and go back to step 3.
- If you notice that you are stuck in a hole of negative thinking, check first on your well being. Are you tired, hungry, been working way too much? When our well being is off, we are ripe for being triggered.
The bad news is that your ego is not going away, it is yours to keep. The good news is that with practice you can learn to tame that obnoxious roommate living in your head.
With practice, and, there will always be ample opportunity to practice, you will begin to create a more joyful, calm and peaceful life. Life won’t be so heavy. It’s worked for me and for my clients so give it a try and let me know how it goes.
Are you stressed out, feeling swamped and anxious? These five simple steps will help bring more ease and calm into your life AND still get stuff done.
One of the things that my clients often struggle with is feeling overwhelmed or frustrated. Either over the amount of things they have to get done or with all of the stress and anxiety in their life.
When you get stressed, anxious, overwhelmed or frustrated, what happens?
When your thoughts are running rampant, you’re confused and overwhelmed, how does it normally go for you, what’s your pattern?
For me, I’m going to shut down, burn out or go hide.
My best friend and I developed something that we have used for years and now I use it with my clients. (Pretend you see me touching the tip of my nose with my finger.) This means, do the next right thing in front of your nose.
I’ve boiled this down into 5 simple steps that you can use starting immediately, when you’re feeling stressed, frustrated, anxious or overwhelmed.
- The first is, STOP. When you notice that you’re feeling stressed, anxious, frustrated, overwhelmed, just stop.
- Next, take a breath. Give space to those thoughts that are running rampant in your head right now. Breathe. Our current culture and societal pressure is to get stuff done and succeed. Stopping and taking a breath releases pressure and brings us out of our heads and into the present moment. Which leads us to step 3.
- Give your thoughts some space. As we disconnect from our head, we can drop into our heart, intuition, instinct, higher self, whatever you call that part of you that connects with your inner wisdom and guidance.
- The next step is to ask, “What is the next right thing to do?” You’re not looking out over the week or even the day, you’re looking at just NOW, what is the next right thing to do?
- Finally, do it. We can’t get anywhere if we don’t get into action. After you do that thing, check in, how are you feeling? If you feel the anxiety coming back, follow the steps again. There are days, I follow this even when I’m not feeling stressed because it keeps me moving and helps me get out ahead of the stress and anxiety.
It works really well when you have a partner because we are not always reliable to notice when we are caught up in our emotions. There have been days I’m talking with my friend, spiraling into a story of overwhelm not sure what to do. She simply touches the end of her nose and I’m immediately brought out of my head and into the present.
I have been able to get things done when I didn’t think I could. It’s worked for me and for my clients.
I have a video on this that you can share. (https://www.facebook.com/linda.heeler/videos/10218420561973393) Give it a try and let me know how it goes.