Mental Chatter – The Monkey Mind
If you have ever spent any time observing your mind, you know that there is always that voice in our head that tells us things we can do without. You know, the mostly negative voice that tells us we suck, or can’t do things, or just don’t do anything right, or aren’t deserving, or hot enough to get the person we want… It attempts to hold us back and can make us feel small. Common knowledge and conventional wisdom often tell us to ignore it if we want to succeed, but what if we don’t ignore it?
What if instead we go into it? I bet we’d uncover many truths about ourselves if we just let the damn voice speak. What is it telling us?
I ran across a great article on Psych Central titled, “A Radical Way to Break Free From Automatic Negative Thoughts.” In it, author Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. brings a new approach to an old conundrum. In it she writes,
“Many of us have past wounds in our lives, whether it was parent seeming too busy to pay attention to us or losing someone early in life, or being the victim of assault. Voices start arising inside us to help us maintain some control over our environments to keep us safe from being wounded again. These voices may judge us or others so we don’t get too close and run the risk the danger of either losing them or being hurt by them.
Or maybe the voices just criticize us so we don’t have to face the discomfort inside and spend all of our time taking care of other people. Although at the end of the day, these voices aren’t effective in maintaining a life of health and well-being, they can be viewed as really trying to help.”
That’s a pretty profound view! If we keep telling the voice to just shut up, we might be losing a golden opportunity to find our demons, or at least understand so much more about ourselves and our reactions to things in the world. The fact that the voice could exist to help us is even more profound.
She goes on to say in regard to the voice, “The moment we can see these voices for what they are is a moment of clarity where we step into the choice to relate to them differently with greater mindfulness. This space of choice is called The Now Effect and it gives us immense mental and emotional freedom. The end result is that we can learn to be more kind and caring to ourselves instead of damning and hating.”
Being kind to the voice that constantly criticizes us? As crazy as that sounds, it could put us well on the path to understanding more about ourselves, and lighten the anger we sometimes feel when these thoughts arise to hold us back. Of course, it goes without saying, that we first need to IDENTIFY these thoughts that occur every day. Most people are numb to it, and just shedding light on it is a major step toward positive change.
“Easier said than done, but in practicing and understanding that even our damning voices have the intentions of keeping us safe, we can begin to “water the seeds of happiness” by breaking the habitual cycle of sending hate into ourselves and instead sending compassion and care.”
She wrote a new book called The Now Effect that hasn’t been released yet, but you can check it out on Amazon here, or in you local book store or library once it’s released. I’ll be picking up a copy and will probably do a review at some point next month after it’s released.
*The article referenced appears here: