Don’t believe the “Voices”

I used to love the t.v. show “The Voice.”  (I probably would still like it, I just don’t ever have time to watch t.v. these days)  I loved the idea that average people could come on this show, sing in front of some of today’s most successful musicians, and get the opportunity to follow their dreams.  The judges could not see the contestants (they sat it chairs with their backs to the singers)…they had to judge them on their voices alone.  The best part of the show was when the judges turned around and saw the contestants.

The person standing before them often looked NOTHING like what they expected.  It might be a heavyset “plain Jane” belting out an amazing version of a Celine Dion song or a young African-American man whose voice was eerliy similar to George Strait’s (I’m not saying that these were actual contestants…these are just examples of the kinds of surprises the judges would face.)

Now there is a different “voice” that is not nearly so entertaining.  I struggle with all kinds of “inner voices.”  (Before you lock me up in a psychiatric ward, please understand that I am not talking about “voices” that are telling me to do harmful or scary things.)

Now that we have that cleared up, let me tell you about the voices.

They are the inner whisperings in my head that tell me that I am not doing things well enough.  They try to convince me that my work is unimportant, insignificant, or somehow menial, especially when compared to my husband’s fast-paced career of service to our nation.  They tell me that I am helpless…that I cannot ever hope to support myself should something happen to my husband.  They tell me that I am a fraud…that my husband is the talented one in the family and that I am just “riding his coattails.”  They try to tell me that I should do a better job at taking care of my things, that I should invite people over more often, that I should get involved in more service projects, that I should spend more time playing with my children.  And there may be some truth to “some” (but not all) of the things they say.

I have learned that “voices” are not there to help.  They have no intention of trying to open my eyes to areas that need improvement and inspire me to do better.  Their only mission is to tear me down and try to tear down my family at the same time.

The thing is, when I speak these things out loud or write them down, they sound just plain silly.  OK, sure, I probably need to take better care of my belongings, but even if I never improve in this area, I can still say that I have had a successful, happy life.

As for riding my husband’s coattails, I never really realized that this was bothering me so much until I typed it just now.  It kind of came out of nowhere.  (Well, not “nowhere”…someone close to me once told me something to this effect, and apparently it has been “festering”.)

Once we identify our voices, what do we do?  Now I completely believe in the power of visualization.  So I have decided to start using the image of the Voice judges’ red chairs when my “inner voices” start to belt out their tunes.  Maybe this will work for you, too.

When they first start “singing,” you can hear them.  You might even be tempted to believe them.  But then, as you visualize yourself turning around in your judges’ chair, you will “face” them (in other words, you will write them down and read them.)  At that point, you will be able to get the “whole picture.”  You will be able to see if this is really something that you need to address or if it is just a “clanging gong” that is trying to distract you from the important stuff of life.

Another solution for dealing with the “voices” came to me through my new favorite author/blogger, Jon Acuff.  He has a website where you can go and type in whatever message your “voices” are trying to tell you.  It is completely anonymous.  Other people can read it and click on a “me too” button if they share that voice.  I am not sure if it is helpful or not.  It is nice to see that other people share my concerns, but as I read other peoples’ “voices” it is easy to get “bogged down” in the negativity.  However, the point is to focus on the community aspect…the fact that you are not alone in your feelings and to actually get the voices out of your head and “on to paper” so-to-speak.