It’s Thursday and I’m Crafting my Life! April’s theme is dealing with negativity. When you decide to leave your comfortable life behind and go in a new direction you can encounter a lot of it, from yourself and others. This week I’m talking about the oh-so-unhelpful critical voice that lives in my head.
When I first embark on a new project I feel good. I am full of energy and optimism. The future looks rosy and I imagine all the good things that are coming my way. I am high on positivity and it is awesome. This is the part I loved most about writing down my hopes and dreams. It is a great feeling.
That good feelings that come with dreaming just don’t last forever. Eventually, the high starts to wear off and that little internal voice that I hate pipes up. It’s the voice that was burned by the girls in Junior High who didn’t like the new look I was trying to pull off. It’s the voice that is afraid of looking dumb in front of other people when I fall on my face. It’s the voice of my anxiety. That voice sings a familiar refrain to me:
“You have it pretty good, why do you think that you deserve anything more?”
“Who are you to want that?”
“You aren’t good at putting yourself out there, so you just shouldn’t try.”
“What if you end up penniless and alone?”
“If you fail other people will think you’re an idiot.”
“Trying something new is just way too hard, and you can’t figure it out.”
“If you leave your comfort zone, that’s it, you can’t ever go back again.”
I’m sure that I could come up with more, but I think you get the point. The critical voice inside my head is phenomenally good at freaking me out. It causes me to question my own abilities and desires, and makes me think that it’s better to just not go there. If I had a big map of my life, this voice would write ‘Here be dragons‘ on the area where my dreams live.
I am not the only one who has this voice. In fact, I think we pretty much all do, or at least most of us do. I have read posts from other bloggers talking about this voice in their heads. The fabulous Jessica talks about the typewriter lady. The inspiring woowoo mama talks about these voices in her head extensively. And Havi‘s whole site is dedicated to overcoming these voices, which she calls ‘the stuck’.
The truth is, we are pretty much all our own worst critic. There are a number of reasons for why this is. I think mostly, though, it’s just because we live in our own heads. We are absorbed in our own lives. We really care about the outcome of our actions. If my friend decides to quit her job and pursue her dreams I might have personal qualms, or not, but on the whole I’m just a whole lot less invested. I am not going to spend 15 weeks thinking about nothing else. But that friend? She just might. Because we care, because we don’t want to get hurt, these voices pipe up.
I will be talking more about these voices in the next couple of weeks. While I still hear these voices, I am getting better at listening to them objectively. I recognize that their message is less ‘you suck‘ and more ‘I am afraid of being hurt‘. When I know that, really know it, I can be gentler with both myself and my own internal critic.
What about you? Do you have a name for the negative voice inside your head? Do you think that you would be braver if it weren’t there? How do you handle it? I would love to hear!
April’s Crafting my Life series is about dealing with negativity. On the last Thursday of the month, which just happens to be the 29th, I will include a link up. To participate, write a post on this month’s theme anytime in April, or track down a post you’ve written on the subject sometime in the past, and add yourself to the list. Then read everyone else’s ideas and thoughts and be inspired! Check out the link-ups from January, February and March to get a feel for how it works.