Don’t Silence the Voice in Your Head, Replace It

the voicesWe all have ’em, the voices in our head that tell us we’re not good enough, whatever words they use to say it. We’d all love to silence the voices.

You can’t.

But there’s still hope.

Anyone who’s had that nagging inner critic, the voice we think is a “loved one” from the past telling us why we’re still wrong, has developed a habit. Habits create pathways in our brain, and ensures that they’re easy to follow.

Habit can be a great tool for staying on track through difficult times. Most often, though, discussion of habits is about breaking the bad ones.

And how do you eliminate a bad habit? Any self-help thinker or psychobiologist will tell you, it’s by replacing the habit with another habit. You don’t lose weight, for instance, by “not sitting on the couch all day” or by “not eating this, that, and the other thing.” You replace laziness with activity. Add healthy foods to replace the less healthy treats.

Once we’ve created pathways in our noggin, they can’t be excised. They can, however, be overlaid or routed around.

Despite the kernel of truth in the lies we tell ourselves, in your saner moments you know that there is a healthier, truer story. When the voice says “Nobody is going to read this junk” I replace it with a specific positive statement made by a fan or client or family member. I can even replace it with things I’ve said myself, because when I’m honest with myself, I know I’m a good writer and I say it out loud.

You want the voice in your head to shut up. Ain’t gonna happen. But if you tell yourself the truth, louder than that voice’s lie, before long whatever nervous mental twitch triggers the lie will, instead, be conditioned to trigger the truth.

5 thoughts on “Don’t Silence the Voice in Your Head, Replace It

  1. Well put – thanks Joel!

    Just as in most areas of life, you catch more flies with Honey than Vinegar. Arguing or fighting rarely changes anyone’s mind, about anything. If anything, it makes their status quo stance even stronger. Same goes for those voices!

    Happy Autumn Equinox – yay for balance …

  2. Planning an entire book on the honey/vinegar thing; on how being gentle but persistent is more powerful than being powerful.

  3. Kewl.

    Please, though.. I’m finding “You Don’t Want a Job” difficult to read, mostly because of your, ummm, insistence on using the broad-brush tactic.
    I have to keep ‘dialing down’ your voice, in order to take in your valid points.

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