What voices do you listen to inside of yourself? Do you find there are many different ones or one main one that dominates your thinking? Do you find yourself listening to that voice(s) even when you would like things to be quiet inside? Does that dominant voice chatter on no matter what you do? For most of us, this is the common experience when our ego is in charge of our thinking and the focus of our inner attention. Our ego is the aspect of us that aims at protecting us, keeping us safe, and thinks we are still 5 years old and in need of emotional protection. You know it’s the ego’s voice when you hear the fear-based thinking that is focused on a regret about the past and/or a fear about the future. It can often reflect the voices and attitudes of our early caregivers.
If I had a critical mother, I may have internalized a critical ego telling me if I could only be better, faster, or smarter, then I would be safe and loved. Or I may have internalized a cold unyielding voice telling me to stop being so sensitive and to get it together or I’ll be ‘eaten alive’. Each of us is unique in how our ego was formed to best support our early survival even though we share many of the same belief systems (be polite, say please and thank you, live by the golden rule, it takes hard work, etc.).
When our ego is the only voice we rely on inside, our lives are often focused on surviving instead of thriving. Our ego is afraid for us to try new things, take risks or get out of our comfort zone.
It can be suspicious, jealous, blaming, and arrogant. One of its many strategies may be to criticize or bully you into shape with the logic of you being ‘enough’ to get what you really want and need. Another strategy may be to push you to please others, so they will give you what you want and need (love, recognition, approval, appreciation, etc.). The ego’s ramblings are based on regrets from the past or fears of the future. It looks for problems (often other people’s problems) so that it can come up with solutions. While this can be very helpful when aimed intentionally by us, most of the time it is doing this all by itself and we don’t know how to get it to stop.
One thing we can do to disarm the ego is to begin paying attention to two (2) other voices that are available inside us to help us thrive as our authentic unique selves. One is the voice of our inner child. The one that our ego is trying to protect from pain that happened a long time ago with limiting beliefs designed to keep that child safe. This voice is the one that knows what you really want or don’t want in each moment. When you give choices to the inner child by asking it what it wants in a specific situation, it will tell you very clearly yes or no to each option. It doesn’t compare to the past or consider the future – it knows what feels best to it in the present moment.
The other voice is the one of our higher self/guardian/spirit. This voice is not as loud as the ego or the inner child, yet it is filled with wisdom and easily heard with a little bit of practice. This higher self/guardian aspect of us will always provide unconditional love and higher perspectives about how our current experiences are FOR us and not AGAINST us. Your inner child and guardian will NOT interfere or speak up unless you ask them to – unlike our insistent ego. This means you get to initiate the relationship with these two other voices, asking for their support and then letting them support you. When you start to look for, listen to, and honor these other two internal voices as much as, if not more than, you listen to your ego, life balances out and becomes much more peaceful and filled with beauty and vitality.
When we remember that the ego is coming from a limited place in its understanding and we have other voices to guide us, we begin to help it find its rightful place in our psyche. Recognizing which voice is which and asking for support from the two that are most quiet, is a great starting place.
Which inner voice will you listen to today?