It occurs to me that one of the points of therapy, or any kind of self-analysis, is to get to a point where you are listening to the right voices in your head. Since I do not have the power (yet) of being able to see into everyone else’s mind, I am going to presume that to a greater or lesser degree, we all have voices in our heads.
These voices can be our child voices ‘I wanted an ice-cream. Why did not-one get me an ice-cream?’ or ‘Oops, I broke that. I am in so much trouble.’ The voices can be ourselves now but variant on confidence ‘I look awesome.’ or ‘I look like a hedge that has been dragged through a cat backwards.’ They can even be other people, such as a feared teacher ‘You boy! What are you doing?’ and a million variations beside. There are also quasi philosophical/existential voices that inform you, usually at about 2.45am that everything is pointless and meaningless. How very helpful.
The same voice can be varied by its intention. If the intention is to feel good then the voice will say ‘I am going to clean so that the flat is tidy.’ If the intention is to feel negative ‘Oh, you cleaned the flat. That’s going to change the world.’ Same situation with two different outcomes of how a person will feel afterwards.
Why does one voice come across as negative and one voice as positive? Are there too many variables in one person to count, let alone all the variables for all of the people? I am intrigued to see what other people think.
How much of a choice do we really have over the way we think? I will speak for myself and say that I think there is a large part of my thoughts that I have no control over, yet I am getting better at managing how I react to them. I am confident this is different for everyone. I am also confident that I might be wrong about myself as there is so much we do not know about how the mind works. So, I will go with this theory for the meantime.
When I say ‘how much choice do we have?’ I am asking openly with the idea that I might be choosing to think of things in a negative way and reinforcing those thoughts whilst at the same time thinking ‘why am I thinking so negatively?’ Have you heard someone say ‘I have no friends’ and then go on to talk about their friends without realising they have friends at all? Or anything similar where they talk about not having the thing they clearly have.
It is seeing one thing in a different way to how it appears. Once you see that, you can ask what other ways can I be seeing this? Does one view help me more than an other? If so, why not choose that view? Perhaps with enough practise, seeing something in one way can become a reflex. Then again, that seems the cure and the poison at the same time. We can train to think positively, or we can train to think negatively. They both become the reflex.
My thoughts so far on this is try not to listen to the voices that make you feel terrible or that everything you do in life is pointless. I concede that this is not always easy or even possible at times. I do believe there is the equivalent of battening down the hatches and riding out the storm. When the storm is over, we can then try and ask ‘what was true about what was thought?’ Then the next time we are prepared for a negative thought and can deflect it with a positive riposte. Or so the theory goes.
Then again, I don’t think that goes far enough. It is not enough to not listen to the negative voices. We have to seek and find the positive voices and give them a chance to warm their vocal chords. I heard about something called neuroplasticity recently. In layman’s terms, it is like muscle memory for the brain. I am going to look into this and see if it can help. Until then…
Take care buddies,