Written by Kerry Marraffino
Most people have an inner voice that talks in their head all day. Recently, I found out that a small number of people do not have an inner voice. My question was, how is that possible?
I wasn’t sure how this would work since my inner voice is what guides me in my everyday life. I used to have very black and white thinking which meant that everything was always either “yes” or “no.” From my point of view, there were never any gray areas and once I decided something there was no changing my mind on it. While this might sound like an easy life, it carries its drawbacks.
My life became very difficult because I was blind to the possibilities presented by the nuances in life. My objectives were only every possible, or impossible.
This thought process resulted in a variety of issues:
- My black and white thinking made me a very difficult person to live with or even be friends with.
- This thought process took away my ability to see options that were right in front of my face the entire time. It was like I was going through life with one eye closed. This led to me having no direction in life that wasn’t overly pessimistic. Honestly, I was in a pretty dark place where I became the victim in every situation. It felt like the world was working against me at every turn despite nothing happening to me that isn't a normal part of living life. One day my best friend told me that she couldn't be my friend anymore because I was always so negative and depressing. Her saying this shocked me and forced me to open my eyes. It had gotten so bad that not even my best friend could be around me anymore.
Thankfully, she cared a lot about me and was able to point me in the right direction to get the help I needed. I quickly realized where my beliefs came from and how much they were preventing me from reaching my full potential. I learned how to process my thoughts and deal with my issues properly.
This wasn’t as easy as it sounds and it took me a while to figure out. I still fall into my old habits sometimes but the difference now is how long it takes me to get back on my feet.
The other day something happened that almost instantly made me want to cry and give up. In fact, for a brief moment, I started to cry. My eyes started tearing up and my body started shaking.
As I was about to completely lose it I thought, "why am I doing this?”. In my head, I said, "what am I supposed to be doing?" I let my train of thought run its course and I thought "I don't want to do anything, I'm pissed off and I'm giving up”. Then somehow I caught myself and my thought process suddenly shifted.
l asked myself, "What am l supposed to learn from this?" then l closed my eyes and took a few deep breaths to calm myself down. The answer popped into my head and I accepted it without questioning, overthinking, or doubting it. I welcomed it as is as a fact and I ran with it.
I took a negative thought and turned it into something positive. You might ask yourself, “how can I do this?” The first step is to stop & listen! If you don't hear anything ask again in a different way. If that doesn't work you can try getting a piece of paper and writing down all the negative thoughts going through your mind even if it feels silly.
Reframing your thoughts takes practice just like working out. Your muscles have memory and remember repetitive actions. Your mind's muscle memory is your thoughts and when it comes time to perform a move you have done hundreds or thousands of times your body just does it. You don't have to think about it, it is muscle memory!
Tony Blauer, an amazing Fear Mitigation and Practical Self Defense Coach often talk about "knowing fear." Last week Tony taught me that the best way to deal with headlock is not by being put in a headlock and trying to get out of it over and over but rather by practicing how NOT to be put in a headlock in the first place!
You see if you’ve been in a headlock 10,000 times because you were trying to get out of one that is exactly where you’ll end up because of muscle memory. It's best to avoid the headlock in the first place, don't you agree? So simple yet so brilliant at the same time. You can find Tony on Instagram @Tonyblauer
For those among us who are curious to know what the Universe was trying to tell me with the situation I thought I couldn't get myself out of. There was much more for me to teach and share so l calmly accepted it, buckled down, and started over. Trust me, for once it didn't have anything to do with not being perfect or good enough. Those are topics for another day!
I didn't give the subject the attention it deserved and was selling myself and my audience short by being too superficial and only touching the surface. Now I get to examine what I’m doing with my life. The work never stops, and once you surrender to that then the real progress begins.