Today I want share some insights with you about the voices in my head. Yes, I have two voices in my head that talk to me on a daily basis. This doesn’t mean I’m crazy or weird, and this is not a blog about mental health issues. I’m 100% sure that you have these two voices as well, but maybe you’re not aware of them yet.
So Katinka…it does sound a bit crazy! I know, but hearing these two voices just means I’m a human being with an identity that doesn’t want to get lost in the world. It also means that I live and grew up in a world where we learn you need to have big goals in life, and you’re expected to do good, great or even better in achieving them. And this makes me wonder: “Maybe I’m not smart enough?” “I want this, but maybe it’s not for me.” and “What if I fail and don’t make it?”. Sounds familiar? Well, these thoughts are the voices I’m talking about. And now I decided to explain to you why they are there and how we can let these voices work for us, instead of against us. Don’t you think it would be wonderful if we could just have a normal conversation with them?
Ok, now back to proving I’m not crazy.
So it all starts with Identity, and we all have one. This Identity makes it possible to belong somewhere in the world we live in. It defines who we are, what we think of ourselves, how the world sees us and the characteristics that define us. The first part of Identity is usually formed before we’re even born, it’s our name (so feel free to keep on reading, and replace Identity with your name). As you can imagine it’s very important for Identity to stay alive, so it has a real strong instinct and absolute amazing survival skills! Because Identity was there from the beginning of your life, he/she lives in our reptile brain. You know, the part of us that gets triggers when situations change and we have to choose to fight, flight or freeze. Whenever you’re in a situation that is new or might change you, Identity wants to give you some advice on what to do (aka on how to stay safe). And Identity has 2 ways of communicating this with you:
1. Ask a question, or
2. Make a statement.
And these you are familiar with. You probably hear them all the time, and they are never positive. And that’s okay! Because Identity is just trying to protect you, so lets start paying some attention what Identity has to say.
Like I mentioned before, it’s either a question (?) or a statement (!). Some examples:
? What makes you think you can start your own company?
? But what if I fail that important test?
? What if people don’t like me?
! That’s stupid!
! I can’t do that!
! I will never be able to pass that final exam!
So how do you make the voices stop?
Well, you don’t. And you shouldn’t! Because Identity is just there trying to protect itself, and not trying to bully you. So hear what Identity has to say, but know you don’t have to listen. It’s like a child that needs you attention: if you push it away, it’ll only scream that much louder. Put an arm around the child, get it close to you, make it feel safe and it will calm down and be ok. Identity is your child, make it feel safe and it will calm down.
Now let’s have a conversation with the voices!
So knowing all this you can take the next step, and this is where it gets exciting! Identity will start talking as soon as you’re about to take your next step in life, so that means growth is on the way! Hear what Identity has to say and change the negative into positive, to put yourself to action. So:
– But what if I fail that important test? Becomes “What do I have to do to pass that important test?”
– What if people don’t like me? Becomes “What if people like me for who I am?”
– That’s stupid! Becomes “That’s exciting, different and new!”
– I will never be able to pass that final exam! Becomes “I will do everything I can and pass that final exam!”
Feel the difference? I’m happy I can have a normal conversation with my Identity now. She’s always there to protect me, and I can make sure she feels safe now. So I’m writing blogs, because “I can write amazing blogs with my dyslexia!”. And I’m supporting the students in Maastricht and people all over the world with my coaching because “I can help people with my coaching”, “I have what it takes to be an entrepreneur!” and “What if I put myself out there and just do it?”. My Identity feels safe with all of this and I can finally talk back to the voices!
Do you also want to overcome your negative thoughts and be able to act beyond them? Coaching can help you! Feel free to contact me for a free 30 min kick-off-session, without obligations!
Katinka van Kan
Student Life Coach