(I draw on personal experiences in this post to establish that I understand what I’m writing about. I do NOT have any angst toward my father. He did the best he could do. The three illustrations presented here are simply history.)
I was twelve. My father had rigged up a system in our garage so that he could balance the tires without paying for it. “Come help me!” he called.
I obeyed. He gave a quick explanation of what he wanted me to do.
My first attempt to comply failed. “I told you to do this!” he exploded, and quickly demonstrated again.
My second attempt was no more successful.
“You’re useless!” he exclaimed. “You’ll never amount to anything!”
I have a voice in my head that repeats those words when the work I have to do is complex or difficult.
In December when I was twenty-five my then-wife said to me, “I have filed for divorce.” Understood in that brief statement was, “You’re no good at being a husband.”
A different voice in my head reminds me at odd times of that fact.
The principal called me into his office one afternoon. “I’m recommending to the board that you will not be re-hired for next school year.”
Another voice reminds me that it can be capriciously decided by anyone that I am less than what is needed for the job.
We all have voices in our heads that speak up for many reasons.
They tend to remind us of some failures or fears or inabilities that have happened to us.
Some may call them by other names: Thoughts, Dreams, Plans, maybe even demons.
It is my observation that it is impossible to get rid of the voices.
I have tried to drown out the voices that remind me of my poor past. Since I am able to remember enough to write this post, you can tell that drowning is not very successful.
But, we can influence them, we can train the voices to help us rather than defeat us.
Step 1: Take Control
When one of the voices speaks about the past, I speak right back to it just like it was a real person speaking negativity to me about me.
“That happened, true. But the threat that I would never amount to anything is untrue! I successfully worked as a teacher for almost 50 years.”
“Many of my students attribute their success to my efforts in their education and training.”
“I have succeeded at several occupations in my life, with accclaimed success.”
I even quote my now-wife as she has spoken with superlatives about my husband skills.
The point here is that my present voice IRL is more powerful than the history voice that erupts from time-to-time.
Step 2: Teach It What To Say
It may sound crazy, but as Sheldon says, “I’m not crazy! My mom had me tested.”
Don’t let negative be the last word. Beat it down with current facts.
I tell the head voice to repeat my positive statements (facts) back to me. In my father’s voice, or ex-wife’s or ex-principal’s. It’s kind of satisfying to hear.
Step 3: Create Change
This is an extension of Step 2.
Teach the brain what to say in order to give you power to do.
Consistent Rejection of everything negative
Persistent Repetition of positive messages (that you create)
I have taught the voices to focus on the positives in my life – the accomplishments, the acccolades, the victories, the successes of my students.
Positivity has enabled me to take on challenges that I might never have attempted in my younger years.
>In retirement I decided to expand my photography skills repertoire and began working as a Wedding Photographer. In that arena you can’t make a mistake or miss a shot. High Pressure equals High Praise when the product is excellent.
>I wrote and published a young adult novel which is available on Amazon. I began writing when I was twelve, and dreamed for years (decades) of being a published author.
>I decided to illustrate a children’s story that I had written, so I began meeting with a master water color artist to learn that medium. My wife says I’m getting pretty good. And that satisfies me.
Most of the time in my life now I no longer hear the accusatory statements referenced above. The negative statements have been replaced with acknowledgements of a live well-lived.
Our inner voices are directly fed by what goes into our brains through our eyes, ears, and senses. Movies, TV shows, videos, games, where you go, your friends, the books and magazines you read feed our brain voices.
What you encourage your brain to spend time on, what you repeatedly send into your brain, feeds the voices for either positive or negative.
You get to decide. No one else can make the decision for you.
Change the input to change the output.
You are free to choose; you are not empowered to avoid the results of your choices.
Your choice will always result in a consequence.
Cause and Effect will happen.
Comments are welcomed.