Voices in My Head

I want to sit down and write this post. At the same I really don’t feel like it at the moment, I’d much rather go on watching…Dr.Who, I’m afraid. But I do really want to write these Heresy posts. After all, that was why I started this blog.

Is this inconsistent of me? Yes, it is. We humans are inconsistent. All the time. But for some reason, we’ve learnt to pretend we are consistent. I’m sure psychologists have a name for it. It’s also held up to us as some kind of value and we tend to be embarrassed about being inconsistent.

When we look at it closely, though, there is absolutely no reason why we should be consistent. Our minds are made of millions and millions of brain circuits, which are more or less independent of one another. It is inevitable that conflicting emotions, desires, fears, and needs  coexist in my brain and pull me in different directions all the time.

The point I want to make today is that we need to listen to these conflicting thoughts. It is not a good idea to sweep any of them under the carpet. We don’t need to act on all of them, indeed we cannot, as there are far too many. But give them some space, allow them to be there. Each thought is a part of me, I want to honour every one. They do not all go together: I want to accept, that I cannot follow all of them.

Peace and quiet

If I consider each of these impulses as an interested party, and let each of them have their say, they also listen to each other. Then maybe an amicable agreement can be reached among them about what I am actually going to do. This may sound slightly loony, but I believe it is a better way of making choices, than by filtering the impulses, i.e. suppressing some at the start, or by sitting in judgement over them: which are worthy, unworthy, important, or not.

I cannot follow all impulses, but when I do act, I act as one physical human being, and I carry all the “dissenting” brain circuits with me. So if any one of them feels too unhappy about what I’m doing, chances are that they’ll let me know. Dealing gently with them to start with – giving them space and allowing sadness over the fact that I cannot act on all of them –  can minimise how badly the “dissenting circuits”, and therefore I, feel.

So no: I am not calling myself lazy because I want to go on watching Dr. Who. Or a spoilsport for wanting to get some writing done. I simply have different needs: one for relaxation and fun, one for putting some ideas down in writing, maybe gaining some clarity for myself. They are all good, all part of me. And I am quite happy with the compromise of jotting down a draft now, and doing a drawing and some polishing tomorrow.

No unhappy circuits for now. Let’s see how the doctor is getting on.

P.S. If I accept the thoughts, all of them, then I just may get the internal chatter to quiet down a bit. If I start censoring, I’m only going to get into an argument with myself – and that’s a sure lose-lose.

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10 thoughts on “Voices in My Head”

  1. I think I have to disagree with you on the conflicting thoughts because I don’t know what we gain by entertaining them. Is it maybe enough to recognize them by saying, “There’s a conflicting thought”, and then moving on? I wonder if we give them space and let them just be there if we aren’t creating more anxiety that way. We are who we are and we are what we are and if we know we need to make a dentist appt. and we don’t then we don’t and that’s it. I think your illustration is perfect and could be the key to happiness. “Think dog thoughts.”

    1. I think often we are caught in an argument with ourselves, and that doesn’t help: have you never beaten yourself up for not doing something, you knew you should have done? The dentist’s appt. is a good example: most people would not be able to let that stand.

      Accepting a thought doesn’t mean you have to “fight its corner”, just to notice it’s there. And if there are several conflicting thoughts, or needs, I’m saying you don’t have to fight it out: there are other ways of dealing with it.

      Dog thoughts would certainly be a step forwards, but we monkeys find them quite elusive.

      1. Yes, I beat myself up all the times, both for things I should have done and things I’ve done. But I don’t get anything out of that beyond feeling crummy and perpetuating the thoughts that feed the vicious circle of self doubt and anxiety. If I can get to a place where I don’t beat myself up over not calling the dentist for my overdue appointment and accepting me despite that decision, I think I’m in a better place.

        I meant to ask before, what Dr. Who are you watching? I recently started watching the show from the beginning and I’m now up to the sixth doctor.

        1. When you beat yourself up, you’re only listening to one of the voices, and fighting it’s corner too – the thought “how could I do/not do X”. But there was a reason for your acting like you did. When you allow that voice to speak – you don’t have to agree (i.e. say that was the right decision, just accept that it too is a part of you) – then you’re in with a chance.

          Maybe then you can step back and see, on the one hand I wanted X, on the other hand I wanted Y. Yup, you need to find out what Y was, else you’ll never be able to change it (for future cases), see decisions.

          I’ve just watched the 11th doctor, and may work my way back, if I find a good site. Where are you watching it?

        2. I joined Netflix and have been getting them there.

          My negative voice is very strong. It goes back a lot of years and has had a lot of practice and because of that it’s easy for me to fall into the trap of negative thinking without even realizing it so that’s why it’s important for me to try and remain as positive as possible about everything (if I can!). So if I don’t call the dentist when I know I’m due for an appointment, that’s okay. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just a thing.

  2. I’d much rather go on watching…Dr.Who, I’m afraid.
    Now, now… there’s no need to be afraid of Dr. Who. It’s only a television show, it’s not real! (I learned that at an early age; my mother told me I used to hide behind the settee when the music came on. And the pictures back then were only black and white!)

    Words can be strange things. Slippery. Order them in a different way and miscommunication can ensue. First impressions last — and often, that’s not a good thing… such a pity one rarely gets a second chance to make one. A first impression, I mean.

    1. Not real?! You shouldn’t believe everything your mother told you when you were a child.

      In this case, you need to watch the punctuation. It does sometimes make things clearer.

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