I’m becoming more aware of all my many inner voices. No, I’m not schizophrenic, nor do I have multiple personality disorder. But I do have many different aspects of me that all work together (not always peacefully) to make up the sum of Me. While I’ve known for years that there are different sides to who I am, I’ve never taken the time to really listen to each one separately to learn their unique voices, messages, and tendencies. Someone helped me to focus in and really pay attention to them recently, and I’m finding this to be a most useful exercise.
Instead of floating along in rather oblivious inner conflict over every decision, I’m learning to listen for each unique voice so I can discern their often opposing messages and consider the reasons why these different sides of me might express the messages they do. By evaluating from whence each voice originates and what that part of me might be trying to accomplish, I can more rationally determine whether the message that voice brings is the most useful one for me to heed at any given time. Because these voices are often part of my unconscious self or my shadow self, taking the time to listen and identify each voice and its motivation can help me to separate the message (which may or may not be useful) from the underlying intention (which almost always has my best interest at heart at the root).
For example, there is an incredibly cynical voice inside me that constantly urges me not to take risks or to truly pursue my heart’s deepest longings. If I just listen to the messages of this inner cynic, I will stay stuck in the status quo. But when I come to understand that the inner cynic is really just trying to protect me from potential heartbreak, I can better evaluate for any given decision whether there is a way to choose an option that balances risk and self-protection in a way that allows me to reach for my dreams while creating at least some level of support and reasonable protection to ensure that the risk does not become destructive should I not succeed on the first attempt.
It takes a disciplined ability to step back from the emotional uproar of the moment and dispassionately listen to and evaluate all that inner dialogue that has been going on for years without my conscious awareness in order to identify these different voices. That’s not always easy to do in the midst of situation, but I am finding that as I recognize the primary voices, I am recognizing them more easily and quickly as soon as I tune in to that inner cacophony. By honoring each voice but consciously choosing which ones I will actively pay attention to, I am regaining my ability to make informed and helpful decisions about my future rather than unconscious, reactive ones.
Over time, I hope to continue developing a relationship with each inner voice – learning to recognize each one’s sound, motivation, and degree of helpfulness. Some voices I may be able to transform in relationship with them, some voices I may need to learn to turn down the volume on, and yet others may need an increase in volume. For now, I am just enjoying the exploration of an inner world I have ignored for far too long.