Mental health professionals now acknowledge that we all have an inner voice that speaks to us. Some refer to it as a thought voice or mind chatter. It has also been called self-talk, mental chatter, an inner monologue or dialogue, inner conversation and inner thoughts.
According to psychologists, the voice is not ‘heard’ by healthy people. Instead it’s experienced as a mental verbalisation of thoughts that belongs to us. This inner dialogue is often experienced as your own voice, but can also be more impersonal, similar to that of a film narrator. Or it can even sound like the voice of those closest to you, particularly authority figures whose approval you seek, such as parents or teachers. More often it’s a combination of all three.
Although, most are adept at keeping their inner dialogue discreetly to themselves, others readily admit to talking to themselves out loud. I regularly discuss all kinds of matters and concerns with my cat Clawed. Yep, I openly admit I’m one of those crazy cat ladies!
The ego, the saboteur and the higher self
Thanks to the teachings of Dr. Ibrahim Jaffe and his team, I recently learnt that our mind chatter consists of three distinct voices, and each expresses a different aspect of ourselves – the ego, the saboteur and the higher self.
The voice of the ego is generally the loudest, closely followed by the saboteur. Although the voice of the higher self is the softest and, for some, barely audible, when heard and taken notice of it has the power to transform your life, very quickly.
The voice of your higher self rings with a deep truth. It’s always supportive, soothing, calming, loving and fills you with sense of peace. Although it may be firm, it’s always kind. I’ve found that when I listen to this voice and then respond, my actions are more grounded and less guarded, and I make choices that are best for my wellbeing.
I realise now that when I listen to the voice of either my ego or saboteur, which emanate from the wounded and disassociated parts of myself, they distort my perception of situations and I react emotionally, defensively and impulsively. Interacting with others from this wounded place effects the way they relate to me and impacts the way situations play out in my life. Instead of experiencing harmony and flow, my volatility creates tension, resistance and interference.
Learning to discern the difference between each and which of the three ‘speaks the truth’ was life changing for me. This knowledge has allowed me to recognise my fearful voices so I can consciously acknowledge and work with the part of myself that is in pain and requires nurturing and comforting. Once the wounds have been healed and integrated, my experience has been a quiet inner calm when similar circumstances arise.
My hope is that you will gain as much, if not more, from this information. To assist you, below is a brief summary of the different voices so you too can become more familiar with them and learn to recognise which part of you is speaking and what it is seeking.
The fears of the ego
The voice of the ego, emanates from within and is heard inside your head. It speaks in first person and has two extremes. It presents as either a diminished or an inflated version of yourself. Regardless of which end of the spectrum it resides, this voice stems from a wounded part of you and usually consists of an “I’ or “I’m” statement.
The diminished aspect, sounds like a hurt child and can be needy in nature. It whines and complains when things aren’t going its way. Its voice can take on a deflated or victim tone, like someone who is having a bad day – “Nobody likes me”, “I’m not worthy” or “I’m worthless”. Its favourite word is “want” – “I want chocolate”, “I want to watch TV”, “I don’t want to go to bed”.
Our wounded bits can also cleverly disguise themselves as an inflated form, which might sound like “I’m the best”, “I’m King”, or “I’m a superstar”.
Regardless of which form the ego takes on, once you heal the wounded aspect of yourself this voice will dissipate.
The self-destructive saboteur
The ego’s inner dialogue fuels the voice of the saboteur. Like the ego, the saboteur’s voice is also heard inside your head, but its monologue appears to originate from outside of yourself. It speaks to you in second person and presents either as the voice of someone who has your best interests at heart or your worst critic.
The voice of the critic is relatively easy to detect. It blames you for everything and expresses its frustration and disapproval in the form of negative commentary about your actions. Its favourite phrases are – “You’re a failure”, “Nobody cares about you”, “Why didn’t you…?”, “What’s wrong with you?” and “Why can’t you…?” Its vocabulary includes the words – should, must, have to, always and never. For example – “You should do…”, “You always make mistakes” and “You’ll never get…”
The ‘friendly’ voice of the saboteur is more difficult to discern and is one that can really trip you up. On the surface it will appear to be looking out for your best interests and say things like – “You deserve better than that!”, “You’re too good for them” and “They’d never be able to get anyone as good as you”. But ultimately, its intention is to create separation from others, particularly loved ones, through conflict.
The saboteur is a diversionist whose tactic is to lead you astray. It will encourage you to rebel as a way of avoiding a situation altogether, rather than responding in a healthy, responsible, adult manner. This can take the form of acting out, severing ties with others or procrastinating.
It plays into your weaknesses by saying “You’ve been working hard, you should have a drink”, “Nobody will notice if only one is missing” or “Just do it, no one is looking.”
Regardless, both are self-destructive. All hypercritical commentary is best ignored, and advice to do things that you know are wrong or go against your better judgement, regardless of how sweetly it’s presented or tempting it is, should not be acted upon.
Once you heal the wounded parts of yourself, this voice too will dissipate.
The truth of the higher self
The voice of the higher self emanates from within and speaks to you through the heart. As mentioned earlier this voice rings with a deep truth. It’s the most gentle of the three voices. It is supportive, soothing, calming, loving and fills you with sense of peace. Although it’s the most difficult to hear, of the three, its the voice that won’t lead you astray.
The actions taken in response to this voice will be self-empowering. Life unfolds much more easily. Solutions to your problems will manifest. Opportunities will begin to open up. Synchronicities and meaningful coincidence become a way of life.
Capturing your inner dialogue
Stream of consciousness journaling will allow you to capture and vent your mental chatter without self-destructing. Examining your scribblings will allow you to get to know these voices better and help you identify the parts of yourself that need healing.
I can help you discern all three voices. I’ll also teach you how to turn down the volume on the voices which feed off your fears and turn up the volume of your higher self. I have an arsenal of tools to heal the wounded aspects of yourself. Our work together will empower you.
If you’d like to find out more about working with me on your inner monologue send me an e-mail or telephone me on +61 410 564 000.
Photo by Hailey Bartholomew