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Best ofLessons from Sessions

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I’ve got these voices in my head.  Not those kind of voices, although I assume they have to be cousins.  Voices that seemingly got installed or evolved through the course of my upbringing.  Where they came from is a whole other rabbit hole. I’ve mostly learned to make friends with them but they say what seems like kinda mean things to me.

Photo Credit: Nathan Dumlao

"No one wants to hear what you’ve got to say."

They used to be more cruel.  Occasionally, they are more cutting – attacking some delicate and still recuperating part of me.  I can usually recognize those because they don’t always make sense.

"You're too fat to want that."

As if being fat would preclude me from wanting anything?  On the surface, these voices send a message of warning, a full stop.  Stay away. If I were to assume the voice came from outside of me, that would be pretty harsh.  But it doesn’t – it’s internal. It might have originally been external but somewhere along the line, I adopted it.  It must have made sense, served me at some point.

You too can recognize these voices inside you.  You weren’t born with them – babies don’t have any of these as evidenced by the lack of fucks they give when trying to get their needs met.  The phrases they say ‘roll of the tongue’ so to speak. They are also usually in somewhat complete sentences. In contrast, if I take a look at how my mind works, my thoughts are usually in fragments, impulses or moods.

"They don’t want to be friends with you."

"You should stop while you’re ahead."

The secret to making friends with them is that they are actually protective.  Malformed, fucked up, old school, give-it-to-you-rough, sibling or childhood best friend kind of backup.  But protection nonetheless. You see, the voices are warning me against future pain. In the past, naive hope and vulnerable earnestness resulted in allowing access to the wrong kind of people.  My lack of appropriate walls, in the form of skepticism, thinking things through, and knowledge through experience, lead me to believe that everyone was like me and further, like my parents, who during my childhood, shielded me from the worst of impingements.  The voices formed out of necessity – crisis bandaids over wounds.

As an adult, I’ve taken it upon myself to pick up where my parents left off in regards to parenting.  We all end up doing this no matter how far we’re taken. I’ve gone towards the voices, challenging them to tell me the truth.  Since undertaking this, they’ve shifted into kinder versions of themselves. These days, I usually hear them more like a message from my psyche telling me something is awry.  Either it means I’m worried about something, or maybe missed a social cue, or have something else to which I need to attend. Mostly, I think the voices are just looking to be soothed.

"Is this really the smartest thing to do right now?"

"It’s going to be ok. We’ve got this."

The more I do this, the more I end up installing new voices.  The best part is that I am consciously and deliberately choosing them.

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