Dealing with Negative Voices Part 2: Welcoming

Dealing with Negative Voices Part 2: Welcoming

Yesterday, I started talking about the negative voices that play in our heads; I call them mongers.  I had so much to say I decided to make it a two-part series.
A monger according to Merriam-Webster is:

 “something who attempts to stir up or spread something that is usually petty or discreditable”.

Yesterday we learned about the importance of building awareness and having curiosity around our mongers.  Today we are going to talk about what to do once you hear the voice.
For years, people have said you need to fight your voice.  It is causing you harm so we need to declare war on our mongers.  I disagree with this theory.  I think we need to embrace our mongers.
I have always wondered why would we want to declare war on a part of us?  The monger is a part of us.  Regardless of how it got there, it is there and it is doing its job…spreading half-truths and faulty logic.  So rather than hating on it what if we were curious about it.
What if every time you heard your voice you acknowledge it and welcomed it? As a point of clarity, there is a HUGE difference between welcoming it and believing in it.  By welcoming it I am meaning have some curiosity about what it is saying.  Remember I said that it is spreading information that can be discreditable—so some of the information might be worth hearing-usually it is the monger’s presentation style that could use some work. And by having curiosity I am not saying engage in a battle of will’s with it. The monger tends to play dirty, and is highly, highly irrational and extremely emotionally charged. So logical debates don’t usually help.
By being curious I mean, what is the monger really afraid of, what is it trying to protect you from?
Note: Just want to say the example below might sound crazy and a little “woo woo” but I swear when I implement this behavior it immediately relaxes my monger and decreases his/her energy.  
Here is a great example: You are coming home from work, you had a meeting earlier in the day that you were responsible for that went ok.  Not great but ok.  In the course of the meeting you were assigned a job that is a little out of your comfort zone, one you KNOW you are qualified to do but haven’t actually done it before.  As you are in the car, your monger starts talking:

 “You are going to lose your job, there is no way you can do this task, they are going to see you for the failure you are, they only gave it to you because they are desperate, you suck”

In the past, you would have driven home and gone right for the kitchen to pour yourself a glass of wine, or eat a box of oreos.  But today you welcome the voice and say,

“Hello, Mr. (or Ms.) Monger, welcome, I hear what you are saying, what are you really afraid of, what are you protecting me from?”

And the Monger will go off again perhaps even more insistent with,

 “Who do you think you are? You think you are better than me? I KNOW you and I know you are weak, and stupid and soon everyone at your firm will see that too.”

And so you take a deep breath and calmly reply,

“Hello, Mr. (or Ms.) Monger, welcome, I hear what you are saying, what are you really afraid of, what are you protecting me from?”

The first time you do this, you might have to repeat it 4 or 5 times and the Monger might get more and more jazzed up and viscous.  Because underneath the Monger’s viciousness is a huge pile of fear and pain.  The Monger is afraid of:  failure, success, ridicule, embarrassment, getting too big, never getting big, and the list can go on and on.

Eventually the monger will reply:

“I am afraid you will fail, you might look like an idiot and this new task might just be too much for you”

And then you can say:

“Yep, I am afraid of that too, and I got this, I have been working for this for a  long time and even though I am scared too I know we will be alright…even if I do fail…but if I don’t try I won’t ever succeed”.

When we hate on our mongers, tell them to go away and/or punish them we are just making them more scared.  When we can invite them in and relax them they dissipate much quicker.
The reason the last statement is so powerful is that it:

  • Loving acknowledges and appreciates the monger.
  • Doesn’t get into a debate with it on why it is wrong.
  • Tells it that you are moving forward fear and all and you will be ok (even if you fail)

Eventually after you have had this dialogue a few times, you will get to the point where it is unnecessary. You get the mongers themes you get what it is afraid of.  So when you hear your monger talking incessantly you can simply say:

“I know you are scared of _____ but I got this.  Thanks for coming to tell me now step aside so I can do my work.”

It is when we get stuck in fear mode or when we get stuck in the debate mode that we get stuck.  The key is to move on despite the monger and remind yourself you are ok.
Have you tried a technique like this one?  Do you have any ways that work to minimize your monger?