I’m Befriending the Voice in My Head

A quick meet-and-greet seems to satisfy her.

Is the voice in your head a friend or a foe? A supporter or a critic? Perhaps a bit of a split personality depending on the situation? I once read a meditation book, where the author suggested that we can control the voice in our head/our ego, but that most of us don’t. Most of us don’t take the time to engage our ego. When we are confident, that naggy voice may go quiet, but if we have even the slightest uncertainty on something, the ego chimes in and we are left with a hum of disapproval in the background of our thoughts.

For me, the voice in my head is very critical around time management. Rightly so in that I need to improve my efficiency, but the negative tone my ego uses is not inspiring. Instead it sounds something like this:

I’ve wasted so much time. I’ll never be able to get everything done today.

That little tinge of negativity and doubt can be a mood killer and zap my good energy, if I let it. Or I can greet my critic. Win her over like a difficult client.

I start by letting my critic know that I hear her concern, but I keep my words positive.

Me: You have a good point. I would like to improve my use of time. How could I do that?

When I ask her opinion, she gets a little friendlier. We start working together rather than against each other.

Ego girl: You could block out time for each task.

Me: Okay, that sounds reasonable. Thanks for the advice.

Ego girl: Any time.

Then back to work I go with a quiet mind.

When I switch tasks, ego girl may come back as a critic since negativity is her default. So I have to greet her all over again. Ignoring never works because she likes attention — don’t all difficult clients? So I stay consistent in my process:

Greet.
 Acknowledge the concern.
 Work toward a positive solution.
 Thank.

I’d say that this exchange takes about 30 seconds. It’s well worth my time, and no one needs to know what is going on in my head, if don’t talk out loud.

How do you get along with the voice in your head?

Do you have strategies for how you interact with your inner critic?


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Originally published at everydayessays.com.