Change and our inner voices

Hello Friends,

I have been reading a wonderful little book for my Yoga Teacher Training and I wanted to reflect a bit on it. Making a Change for Good by Cheri Huber is getting me to rethink my coaching practice and also the self-coaching and mentoring we can do as we meditate and become more self-aware.

Some of the quotes which have impacted me the most since doing the reading, discussing with my colleagues and then re-reading:

“In meditation we find the center of conscious, compassionate awareness, and from that place mentor the young parts of ourselves who never had anyone help them understand their wants and needs.”

Making a Change for Good.jpgThe idea is that we all have sub-personalities that evolved when we were young to help us behave in certain ways to get the care and attention we needed from adults at the time. This leads to the illusion of a separate self from the rest of life, a principle Cheri Huber calls “Egocentric Karmic Conditioning.” She explains that self-hate is the process that EKC uses to remain in power.

It is really fascinating. I previously called this voice the “inner critic” but I definitely can sense it arising when I am about to do something courageous or bold. My voice often says “who do you think YOU are?” and it sometimes gets me to scurry back to safety before I risk anything too vulnerable. But we all have these voices. Acknowledging that they are a product of conditioning, and dis-identifying with them compassionately is how we decrease our suffering and create permanent changes in our lives.

“So much of what passes for education is nothing more than adults inflicting their unexamined beliefs and assumptions onto children and projecting their own unexamined reasons and motivations onto children’s reactions.”

This is profound stuff. Since I am fascinated by theories of behavior change, and how we can adopt more healthy and sustaining practices to live well, this is my jam! It dovetails nicely with what I am learning on coaching for transformation. I am so eager to put this work into practice!

What do the inner voices say to you each day? How often do you listen?


10 thoughts on “Change and our inner voices

  1. It’s fascinating to read how different philosophies, religions, psychologies talk about the self; the ego, id, super-ego; sub-personalities; small identities and inner divine being. I tilt toward the description you made above about there being a higher self, a divine presence, that is always there, regardless of what thoughts or feelings are floating across our mind. The how and why of all those voices existing is immensely intriguing; part of what makes humans human. And it does feel as if they’re there to protect us. Or because we learned those lines as children and don’t have new lines (yet) to replace them with.

    The language around the “self” is challenging because so much of my experience is mine. It’s like trying to describe what the color yellow looks like; or what an orange tastes like. It’s imperfect and incomplete and yet…we try.

    Thanks for your thoughts. When I read your words about reaching “emotional adulthood,” I laughed and thought, “I’ve still got a ways to go on that!”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I enjoyed reading your experience with navigating your inner landscape and change.

    I’ve taken to blogging about the various characters jostling in my head. It’s a similar concept to what you write about, but for me, I view them as characters in a play; they hear their cue, come out, say their line, and go offstage. By seeing them that way, I’ve created some distance–some space–from them; not all the time, but enough times that I’m starting to experience them differently. And even, sometimes!, tell them they can skip saying their line. New director!

    I’ve had folks ask me if I’m multi-personalitied but it’s a way of navigating the voices that’s proving helpful to me. All the worlds a stage and we’re all characters anyway per Shakespeare, so why not have the voices, the personas, be seen as characters in my mind?

    This post gets to the nub of it:

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Psychology literature describes them as sub-personalities, not so much as separate from us, but voices that developed at points in our development when we had to be accepted by our caregivers for our own survival. Humans have an array of “small” identities and it’s helpful when we realize that there is a higher self (or inner divine being) that loves us unconditionally despite those protective parts that only want us to be safe and not upset the adults who were in control at one point. When we reach emotional adulthood and take responsibility for our own behaviors and actions, we are acting from a place of wisdom and discernment, not out of our old ego identities.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. In one of the podcasts you recommended “Magic Lessons,” Elizabeth Gilbert talks about the warehouse of self criticism and memories of failure. You are right in that that space is most apparent when we are on the cusp of big change or challenge. How do you quiet the noise?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a great question, Ann Marie! I have used two particular practices I really like for this: meditation and a “thought download” process. Meditation I have written about before, and can be a great way of observing our thoughts and emotions, realizing how they come and go and dis-identifying with them. The thought download can then just get out what’s in our heads onto a page so we can question it and work with it a bit. We can see that what these voices in our heads are saying is not necessarily true. They are really just protective mechanisms that evolved from when we were trying to gain love and approval as children, and typically they are well-intentioned but do not always serve us. Just be questioning those critical thoughts, and then “talking back” to them with compassion, we can realize they don’t have to drive our lives. We can make conscious and brave choices about how we want to show up in the world. I wrote a post today about this, and a book reference you may enjoy. I also have worked with a couple of coaches on some of these long-ingrained beliefs/habits of mind to help me get unstuck. So if it’s difficult, finding a good coach can be helpful as well. I hope that helps! Feel free to contact me offline if you want more detail (or a free 45 minute coaching session on it). 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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