One of my favourite people, Nat from Easy Peasy Kids, tweeted tonight about negative self voice, and how it’s a bit crap.
And she’s right. It is a pain in the freaking ass.
I replied that it is. I knows no reason, or logic or kindness.
But it got me thinking about my own negative voice. The one that tells me everyone is mocking me. The one that tells me I’m not good enough. The one that tells me I’m a shitty writer. The one that tells me I’m a bad mother. The one that tells me no one really likes you anyway. That one. It’s a bad friend. But it’s hard to shake that bitch loose.
When I was a teenager simple interactions with shop assistants would haunt me for days. Thank you, negative voice. If I misheard them, or fumbled for my money, or missed a joke. Ridiculous things. That said shop assistant who sees a gazillion people every day would never give a second thought to.
I worked myself out of that paralysis through self CBT. Or my version of it. Which was basically me repeating the logic of how my feelings weren’t based in reality, until I believed it. Almost. And it helped. But the remnants of it linger on still. And it doesn’t take much to cast me back into that place.
I remind myself of things, often.
A lion doesn’t lose sleep over the opinion of sheep.
I don’t worry about what other people think of me, because I don’t think of them at all.
What other people think of me is none of my god damn business.
And it works, mostly.
But I wonder. I think that in all of that negative voice, there is a combination of what is neurotic crap and what is self doubt. And while I could live without the neurotic crap, I think I’ll hold onto the self doubt.
If you never question yourself, you never change. You never want to change. If you have no self-doubt then there is no reason to evolve. To aspire to something a little bit greater for yourself. A certain amount of self doubt is necessary. Up until the point when it paralyses you, and then it is no good.
I’m poor with taking criticism from others. Not because I don’t see it. But because I do. And it’s nothing that I haven’t said to myself a hundred times and my version was crueler, nastier and less diplomatic.
A long time ago, when my blog was still very young, I wrote (for another site) about how you needed ego armour. And you do. You need to have an unwavering belief that you can offer something unique. But in the long run self-doubt will make it better. That negative voice? Will make it worse. That negative voice will make it paralysed. That negative voice will make you second guess everything. That negative voice will stop you from being who you are.
Sometimes, the line is hard to find. Like self doubt is in cahoots with your negative voice and they are plotting together to throw you off the scent.
But the upshot of the negative voice is that no matter how cruel someone on the outside is, I’ve already faced it. A hundred times. And my negative voice has been far more vindictive than any other person could ever be. No matter how hard they tried. They can’t really get in my head, because a mean ass bastard already lives there.
There’s no room for anyone else.