Updated: Mar 6, 2020
I am going through a book recently that gave an exercise to try. It challenged me to go on a walk with nothing and just try to notice what was around me and what was happening in my head. Whenever I go run or walk, I always take my phone and earphones to listen to music, books, podcasts, etc…. I love the idea of doing two things at once! So this was a little strange for me, but it turned into a powerful exercise. The quiet helped me to really process the voices in my head and there were some interesting things I noticed. As men we have a lot of voices in our head, but too often we are so busy we don’t notice them. The other problem can be when we stay distracted and don’t notice them.
Here are few things to think about when it comes to the voices in your head:
1 – Self-Talk Plays All the Time
One of the key things I noticed when I got quiet was my own self-talk. There remains a good bit of self-defeating talk playing in the soundtrack of my mind. An assumption of the worse will flow through my head even as I talk optimistically. The assumption usually comes from a, “The worse thing always happens to me.” I don’t know why that is there, but those voices try to talk to me all the time. Recognition gives us the power to overcome negative self-talk, but we have to allow the quiet in to truly hear what is going on in our own heads.
2 – What You Hear Affects You
How much stuff are you putting into your own head that could be affecting you in a negative way? Sometimes I have taken a news break because it would frustrate me so much. People may be in your life who are always talking negative and you may need to limit their input. Your video games could also be a negative influence. I’m not saying these things are bad, but don’t be afraid to look at them objectively and see how they are influencing you.
3 – Running Won’t Work
Running and distractions may cover up the self-talk that could be hurting you, but it will not fix it. I’ve seen guys who are in their 50’s still trying to find the validation they didn’t get as a teenager. They are still playing the negative self-talk they had as an 18yr old so they can often still act like an 18yr old. Find the quiet and learn to listen to the voices in your head. That is the only way to deal with them. The main thing I got out of my quiet was how I often wear the “superhero” outfit of optimism to hide my internal negative outlook! That was a powerful revelation I’m still processing through.
Don’t fear the quiet! Learn to listen to the voices in your head and see which ones need to change.