Yes, that one.
The voice inside of your brain, heart, soul. This voice can be a powerful force for joy and peace, or it can be violently destructive. Prior to yoga teacher training, my inner voice was my antagonist. First of all, it was constantly on. I never knew quiet. Second, the station it was turned on to was one of destruction. I cannot believe how cruel I was to myself for so many years and not really for any major reason. We all do it, though. We are human. We are surrounded by visuals and expectations. Turning these expectations inward and letting the outer expectations go is so freeing.
I would speak to myself, or should I say degrade myself, for various reasons, but mainly for vanity. A few tags for myself would be: fat, ugly, cellulite, aging, gross, fix. This is truly tame compared to the full-blown conversations with this nemesis. Since I began my yoga journey, I have been able to strengthen my relationship with God and find His truth. I began to seriously battle the voice. It was a war I was going to win. I had to.
I believe that we are on the outside what and who we are on the inside. I’ve always struggled with my weight. I was never fat, but I was always in dance and sports, so I was athletic. I was very proportioned, but instead of focusing on my curves and on my equilibrium, I focused on what I wasn’t — skinny. Again, I know this is normal, but the amount of self-talk was ab-normal, I think. But then again, maybe not because I’m finding more and more people who are also battling their voice. Sadly, mine was on so much that it was part of my life every single day, every nano-second. This distraction has caused me to miss out on me. But not any more. I am winning this one. It’s tough, though, and I was having some “voice” days this past week. But I have since wrangled that booger back to being quiet. So I thought I would share to possibly help others.
How can I tackle the voice?
By being quiet. I’m not a technology junkie, which seems hypocritical as I type my blog, but I have a ton of non-tech time. I like it that way. I guess I’m old fashioned, but I wholeheartedly believe it makes my voice quiet, controlled, and kind. I don’t usually have my cell phone handy, etc.
Here are some tips to follow if you are having trouble shutting down the voice:
1. Remember that you were created in the image of God, and if you are insulting yourself, you are insulting Him.
2. And you are insulting your parents and their love.
3. The minute you hear the voice being negative, acknowledge that you hear it, and remind yourself it’s only because of comparisons and outer expectations. Find something kind to say in its place. Or, find two or three nice things to say to yourself to really drown out the negative volume.
4. Move on. You could be having a blah day for a number of reasons. It’s ok. It’s not a reason to begin self-bashing. Take a walk, listen to soothing music, pray, meditate, do yoga, hug someone. Chalk it up to the weather or biology, but not to you not meeting others’ expectations.
5. Remember you are you. Your body is exactly where it is supposed to be at that very moment. It may not be where YOU want it, but it is where IT needs to be. Yoga has helped to teach me this on multiple levels. God has created me in a body that will never be a size 2. Ok, so I will be the best size I am today, which means being the best person I can be.
6. Take up something you love. I love to read, dance, do yoga, crafts, write, etc. I make sure to make this part of my life in some way. Taking time for you allows you to focus in on what you are gifted with. It helps to take the focus inward instead of outward.
7. Ask yourself, “Would I tell this negative self-talk to my friend, child, or any loved one?” The answer is always NO! So WHY would you do this to YOURSELF? When you continually do this, picture it blacking out something inside of you. This voice can get in the way of all sorts of goals — career, weight, etc. Quit the voice and find peace and quiet!! Keep yourself filled with love to block out the black marks your negative voice has created.
8. Know that you can find comfort in others. Tell someone what you are saying to yourself, or write it down. When you see the ugly words in black and white, you will be surprised to know how much you will want to change it. Or when you tell someone, they will help you to see how much it is not true.
9. Get rid of everything that is adding negativity to your self-talk. If your self-talk is about weight, as mine is, clear your closet of everything that doesn’t make you feel your best. It sounds extreme, but it works! You go into your closet every day, and if there are hidden uglies, the voice will turn on, so stamp out the chance to even make its presence known.
10. Be thankful often. Try to make a conscious effort to be thankful for the simple things — food, the ability to walk, family, shelter. The more thankful you are, the more your ugly voice is silenced because you will eventually begin being thankful for WHO you are and for the shell God has given you. Picture yourself as God sees you. Or draw yourself as you see your inside, your soul. Embody that image in your mind and you will carry yourself as you are that very image.
Remember, this is quite a task! Do not get discouraged if the voice wins some days. Just recharge and start again. Eventually, the voice will turn into nothingness, and you will be focused and filled with joy and love. You can always do a search to what the Bible says about ____. And fill it in with what’s bothering you. You can have scriptures waiting for the common bashes.
I would say that my new tags would be: lovely, humble, imperfect, happy, thankful. What do you want your tags to be?