“You’re such a mean dad!” - I usually hear this one after I discipline my children.
“Your wife is miserable!” - I hear this one mostly on the days when I see how overwhelmed my wife can become with managing a household that includes four children under 8 and two over 16.
“You are a failure!” - I hear this one frequently. Either when I reflect on unmet educational goals or unwritten books and songs that are begging to get out of my head.
“People don’t like you. They think you’re weird and anti-social.” - Well, if you’ve read “The Struggle With Hugs” last year, you’ll understand this one.
Yes, these are the voices in my head. No, not the “OMG, I’m hearing things!” crazy kind of voices. But rather the very distinct voices that narrate various parts of and events in my life. Like uninvited guests to my parade of memories.
They are altogether unrepentant, distorted versions of my own voice that cast verdicts from the sidelines like a mental peanut gallery.
This is probably the result of the fact that I have a tendency to fall into over thinking or over analyzing situations and people. As soon as I dedicate any mind power to introspection, here come the snickering voices that want to judge my past or recent actions against society’s definition of success.
Sometimes it seems as if they simply want to pull me toward despair. Encouraging depression and pessimist behavior. Or pushing me toward isolation and episodes of social awkwardness.
But I resist.
I push back at them by encouraging myself with what I know to be true. I am loved by my wife and children. I am appreciated and respected by my peers. I pursue honor and integrity and support others in their pursuit of health and happiness.
Of course there are days when my exhaustion makes the effort to resist seem ten times harder. But I’m not given over to pity parties. Besides, there’s yet another voice that likes to shout things like, “No one wants to hear about your stupid issues, Mr. Happily Married with 6 beautiful kids!”. I just ignore it, realizing that if I decide to stuff down those thoughts instead of purging them, I will become the worst version of myself.
So this is my release.
Admitting that I struggle against the naysayers from within more so than I ever did against those from without. Yet, I strive to be a daily overcomer. One who acknowledges the challenges while doing everything necessary to overcome them.
It makes us human and ultimately, makes our victories so much sweeter.
What do some of YOUR voices say to you? How do you quiet them?