Whose Voice Are You Listening To?
Throughout my life, there had been no short supply of voices coming from both outside and inside of me pulling me in different directions. Sometimes the voice was gentle like a whisper from a lover, sometimes it was harsh and demanding especially when confronted with a fight or flight situation. The voices took on different roles such as the soother, the sergeant, the seductress, the teacher and they knew exactly when their presence was required. Most of them functioned on autopilot that I never truly stopped and questioned the origins of these voices until my awakening.
As if having woken up from a dream after a long night, I suddenly noticed not all voices were created equal, that is, some of them clearly did not have my best interest at heart despite the fact they all claimed they were looking after me.
One by one, I began questioning each voice every time when it spoke to me. I would ask where it came from and have a conversation with it. Some of them, the self-deprecating and self-denying ones desperately wanted to be heard and they brought with them a ton of excuses, justifications and explanations as to why I must follow their lead or else I would end up with unimaginable catastrophes.
There was the constant nagging one that sounded perfectly soft and sincere, “You can’t do it because you are not good enough.” If only I could plant a tree every time that voice was uttered in my world! Lo and behold, it was the answer to almost every idea I wanted to manifest that was outside of my comfort zone for three decades of my life. I never questioned that voice because I believed it was protecting me and serving my highest good even though it most often reduced me to curling up in a corner of a cage made of self-loathing and tears.
The first time I questioned it was when I was over my parents’ house one day. I shared some of my ideas with them about a project I had in mind and immediately, my dad’s reaction was, “Who do you think you are? You can’t do it because you are not made of that material.”
Right then and there, I saw a movie titled “I’m not good enough” playing scene by scene in my mind. Some of the scenes were from childhood when I hopelessly tried to defend myself in front of dad, but most of the scenes comprised of those moments in my adult life such as the one when I chose a career that was safe rather than one I was passionate about so I wouldn’t end up on the street, or the one when I held onto a failing relationship because I told myself I would never find a partner who wanted to be with me, on and on it played as that moment froze and time stayed still.
How many other voices were there trying to stop me from living my life? And how much was I holding onto that was not mine?
Those two questions initiated an intense healing process that was not unlike spring cleaning accompanied by long periods of soul searching, heartaches and the tears.
It was the beginning of my awakening.
When we go through our lives set on auto pilot which by the way is a necessary mechanism for us to not having to relearn how to walk and brush our teeth every day, the trade-off is, we are also living on a subconscious level. Without the awareness, we allow our decisions to be dictated by outside influences such as values and beliefs from our parents, teachers and culture that we have come to internalize. The result of moving through life reacting based on our past experiences rather than creating from who we are today makes us feel like powerless victims simply because the life that “just happens to us” is not the one of our choosing as the voices we listen to clearly have no idea what is best for us today, at this moment!
This is perhaps one of the most empowering and liberating realizations one can have, for the chains that bind us only have power over us for as long as we remain unaware. The second we see them for what they are, an awakening tool, or I prefer to think of them as the greatest gift that allows us to learn what doesn’t work for us in life so we can discover what works, they will simply shatter into a million pieces and dissolve into thin air.
Once we become conscious of how a voice impacts our decisions, it then becomes our choice whether we will follow that voice, or adjust its volume so it doesn’t take over.
This is the magnificent power of our free will. Our brain is hardwired like a disc that can be both programmed and erased once the data is no longer needed. Once we press the delete button, we will end up with an infinite amount of space-space to rewrite our stories and our lives.
There are many ways to identify disempowering voices, my favorite one is to just listen to our feelings as they are language of the soul. Whenever an out of tune voice shouts out a command, we experience a moment of “yuck.” Those are usually the voices that trigger fear and anxiety, make us want to scream and run, cause us to lose sleep at night, drag us into a sea of depression and manifest as physical pains and illnesses, the list goes on.
Once those voices are identified, befriend them and talk to them. They are our internal barometers that have been working tirelessly day and night to indicate to us what we truly desire in life. They are our cheerleaders that use any means necessary to get us to run that extra mile so we can reach our milestones. They are the x-ray glasses that allow us to see beyond the surface so we can move into our consciousness and elevate it. This is our time to give them our most heartfelt gratitude for having illuminated the paths in front of us so we can now travel in light, or enlightened.
Eventually, we will discover the one voice that has been singing to us all along-the voice of love, joy and healing that has never judged or abandoned us since the day we began our journeys. As the silence inside of us grows, that voice will become clearer and more expansive and fill us with endless inspiration.
We will say to ourselves, “But I’ve known this all along! I just didn’t listen to it.”
Follow that voice-the voice of the heart.
To find out how to remind yourself to only pay attention to the empowered voice within you, please read Overcoming the "I Am Not Good Enough" Voice.
Also published on Wake Up World.