People often come to see me to get help with some type of habit or feeling that is disrupting their lives. It can be anything from depression to smoking to hair pulling to procrastination to alcohol. The common thread is the sense that they are no longer in control of their own lives, and they want the ability to make healthy choices again without the influence of unwanted habits or feelings.
A conversation I have quite often with them focuses on what the issue is and the amount of control or power it has over them and their daily lives. I ask “Who’s in the driver’s seat here? What has taken over your sense of personal power?” This never fails to start them thinking about ways in which they take a backseat and feel like something other than their own good sense is making their decisions for them.
In some cases, we liken the unwelcome part to a little devil perched on their shoulder, whispering in their ear, convincing them to go off course and give in to things that knock their lives off track. Some examples of things that whispering voice can say include:
“Go ahead…have one more drink. You can handle it.”
“This will be the last time you pick at your skin. You can quit tomorrow.”
“Yeah, there is a lot piling up on your to-do list. So just surf the internet a little bit…you’ll get to it later.”
“You don’t really want to exercise. Go back to bed…you’ll feel nice and rested later.”
“You’re never going to lose that weight anyway. Have another piece of cake.”
That little voice can have a big effect on what we choose to do, especially if it’s something we are struggling to resist in the first place. It’s easy to let those distorted messages prevent you from moving forward successfully into the life you want to have for yourself. I often ask clients if they can identify the voice. “Who does it sound like?” Sometimes it’s a critical parent, or teacher. Sometimes it’s the client’s own inner critical voice. Another common thread here is that those messages are typically not in your best interest, and fairly easy to dismantle once you begin to examine and challenge them.
So what does it mean to challenge a negative inner voice that steers you in ways you don’t want to go?
-First, as I say a lot, thoughts are just thoughts. They are not facts, and they may be completely untrue.
-Second, make a plan for your life. Set goals, make a Vision Board, anything you need to do to create the track you want to be on and stick to it. It’s easy to be steered off track if you don’t have one.
-Third, value yourself. Believe that you can chart the course you want to be on, and that you are not that little nagging, negative voice.
-Finally, face your fears. Fears are famous for sneaking up on us and chipping away at our best efforts. Don’t be scared to step up and take control of your life. If it feels scary, maybe it is. That doesn’t mean you can’t do it. J
If that little voice starts to lead you and your one, precious life onto paths you don’t want to follow, you are the one in charge. Don’t allow anything or anyone to manipulate your strings like a puppet. When you are the one in the driver’s seat of your life, you have the freedom to choose a healthy and happy destination. Give it a try!
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This post is available on YouTube here: http://youtu.be/RaIz1Pmildo