Whose Voice?

Finding Your Self-Truth
August 16, 2023
accepting your badassness
Accepting Your Badassness
August 30, 2023

Whose Voice?

Whose voice is that? How much do you agree with it?  

What do you say about yourself to yourself? How does this impact your ability to be resilient? In this blog series we are looking at how you assess yourself and ways you can do so through a kinder, more accurate lens. The goal is to have a realistic view allowing for growth and appreciation.  The stories you tell about yourself influence your life choices in big and small ways. Having accurate self-awareness is a powerful tool for your self-care and resilience.  

Last week, we looked at your inner monologue and how to push back on your automatic thoughts by hearing your internal voice and countering with your own self-truth. This week, I want to consider where those thoughts come from. Whose voice is that anyway? Your self-truth are the ideas you have had time to think about. The ones that explain how you genuinely fit into this world and how you can take care of yourself and move forward with goals that make sense for you.  

Discerning Voices

What are some of the other voices in your head? Hopefully there are lots of positive ones, the voices that say you belong, you matter, your work makes a difference. Other voices though can be a problem, particularly those that tear you down or set impossible standards for “acceptable behavior”. Whose voice is that? “Your house should look like a magazine cover.” is one example. Is that from your parent, a ubiquitous cultural ideal, or a sexist standard that mostly applies to women? Unpack where and when you got that message and then consider if you agree.  

From the Way Back

Some voices come from way back; your parents learned it from their parents. These can be hard to notice because they are so embedded in your idea of normal. As you get to know other people and other cultures, you realize people see things differently. Identifying a message that is very specific to your family gives you an insight into your personal history. If it seems particular to one of your relatives it may give you information about that person’s life journey. In the end, the goal is to consider if it is true or helpful for you today.  

Media & Marketing

Some voices are marketing messages. “Cool people drive these cars.” “This kind of candy makes life fun.” Really? You may not be opposed to cars, or candy, but will they change your life in the way the marketing indicates? You are exposed to so much marketing in a day it is impossible to notice all of it. Tuning in now and then to critically examine the message does allow you to be more aware of your right to agree or disagree. 

All the -isms

Some voices are insidious. The opinions that underlie any of the -isms are pervasive and can impact your ideas about your own value and worth. If you grew up with negative messages from the people closest to you, or you were bombarded at every turn by larger cultural messages, they can become fused with your own voice. Self-reflection gives you power to hear those messages out loud and reject them for the nonsense that they are. You are a valuable human being who has the right to care about yourself and to explore ways to build your own resilience.    

Your voice is a combination of every message you have ever heard, your personal experiences, and your own reflection. That last part, self-reflection makes a huge difference. Without reflection, you are likely to repeat the things that were said to you as fact. Step one is to hear the message. After that, you can consider whose voice this is and how relevant it is to your life. Perhaps it is simply wrong, or wrong for you. Perhaps it is fine now and again. For example, you want your house to look fancy for a special event, but you don’t need to live like that day in and day out. In the end you decide how much weight to give an idea. There is power in being able to clearly hear a message, discern where it came from, and then decide how, or if, you want to implement it in your life. 


Laura A. Gaines

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