It is 2013 and most of us now accept that sane people also have “voices in your head.” In fact, learning to discern them and interact with them is one of the most powerful tools for creating a conscious and happy life. (BTW I have a lot to say on this topic.) For now, here are a few tips from the inaugural broadcast I did today on the topic. Part 1 was me solo (as I had some tech issues inviting my guest.) Part 2 is with my friend and colleague Crystal Nuding. You can read the backstory on this event here.
Let’s Group the Voices into Small Self and Large Self
This just makes it easier! No need in my mind to sort out the many flavors of small self. This is partly because one of the defining characteristics of the small self is the ability to push for opposing things in the same moment! Have you heard variations of this:
You can’t do that! No you have to do that!
Identifying the Small Self
One of the really clear and simple things Crystal shared was to notice “catastrophe.” The small self (SS) is concerned about safety and survival. S/he is stuck in a small world and has not yet discovered how much power a grown person has! The small self tends to see most things in that realm. Just like a little kid at the checkout stand who really does feel in the moment that s/he will never be happy if s/he doesn’t get that candy bar! They don’t know how to remember that in 5 minutes she’ll be happily playing with a book in the car. Your large self is here to help you remember.
Language can be very helpful. Small self has some preferred words. When I hear them (from myself or my clients) I take note: sounds like a little one is here! Here is my top ten list of SS preferred words:
- Have to
- No one
I’ve trained myself to be aware that when I hear or use those words, it is time to slow down and check in. If I am using those words, I know one of my buttons has been pushed. So I stop and unplug the wiring to that button. If I hear others using these words, I know one of their buttons has been pushed, so I open my heart and listen for what is happening beneath the surface. (More on this later…) I find myself editing my emails all the time to make sure those words are not in the mix. If you pay attention to just this one tip, your Consciousness IQ will soar!
Urgency is not your best friend.
When the emotions get tripped, responding in the moment often fans the flames. Being conscious of the timing of our responses is really helpful, and controllable. If I am on the receiving end, I stay silent and let the other person vent. I don’t affirm or deny their reality. I do try to slow things down. Responding to hurt with lashing out, makes more hurt. Responding to anger with more anger, well, you know escalation does not end the conflict. These instant reactions more often than not create more messes that ultimately, will require cleanup if the relationship is to continue. The more you can slow down and wait for your own feelings to pass, the easier it will be to resolve differences.
As a sidebar to this last point, I really do try to ignore other people’s first reactions – and not take them personally. I understand that it is likely their SS – not their enlightened adult self. I don’t want to hold anyone’s small self against them! If on the other hand, a person just keeps presenting their SS in the relationship with me, I may withdraw until things shift.
A Few Testimonials
Just wanted to say I enjoyed watching your recorded webcast today as well as the fantastic 10 minute recorded session with your guest. Having it recorded makes life easier, so thanks for making it available for later. I had not heard the terms you used before – small self/big self. You did a great job laying the foundation for people unfamiliar with them. Can’t wait until we get some nuggets of information from Crystal Nuding too – you folks were just getting started with the hellos! – via email from Honolulu, HI
— Maui Dog (@MauiDogRemedies) January 11, 2013
— Randy Jay Braun (@RandyJayBraun) January 11, 2013
Part 1 of the Taming the Voices in Your Head video
Photo Credit: Don’t See Eye to Eye by @chris on Flickr