Do you have an ‘inner voice’? I think it’s assumed people do – that little voice inside your head that gives you some sort of running commentary.
This came up in the final meeting with my business coach and a supervising manager. They thought that perhaps, because I (apparently) put myself down a lot (I did point out that I just like to get in there before anyone else can), my inner voice was probably rather critical. The manager at the meeting made a suggestion. Her business coach had given her an exercise to do to sort out this negative talking. She would give me the details and I could give it a try.
She sent them through. The first step was to write down everything my inner voice said for a complete eight hour period. I admit, I thought this could be quite interesting, so few weeks back I armed myself with a pen and some post it notes for the day, started listening and….nothing. Silence. I could hear a pin drop inside my head. I was confused.
I tried it again this week – my inner voice could have had laryngitis last time I tried, after all. Again though, I didn’t hear a dicky bird.
I can only assume that the view of friends I mentioned this to is correct: that I don’t have an inner voice, because every single little thing I think, I say – my inner voice has no clue how to stay…inner. This was confirmed when I was talking to a few colleagues in the desks the other side of mine and none of them acknowledged me. I said a bit louder ‘that’s ok, I’m happy talking to myself’ in a slightly grumpy tone and they looked up. Apparently I talk to myself so much, they had mostly given up listening to me as the majority of the time, what I say is not aimed at them, or anyone in fact. I genuinely didn’t know I did that. I know I have full on conversations with Norman Cat, but that’s completely normal, isn’t it? This seems a bit different.
So then I started listening to my outer-but-should-be-inner-voice. Unfortunately the first time I caught it, I was walking back to my desk from getting a cup of tea and said out loud ‘you stupid idiot, you need the toilet more than you need tea!’ The bloke walking towards me looked at the mug he was carrying, then looked confused, and possibly a little scared…
I think the next step in the exercise was to give your inner voice a personality and name, and challenge it (internally) when it becomes too critical. I’m not going to do that though. Knowing even the inner voice can’t stay inside, I think addressing it – by name as well – could only result on all sorts of trouble… :o)