Why ignoring that negative voice is the worst thing you can do...
5th January 2016
I wrote a little while ago about the Three Steps to Silencing the Imposter Syndrome. A lot of people ask me why I have this blog, “Is it to make money?”... “Is it cause I just want attention?”... “Do I just love taking selfies?”... “How dare you think you have a right to even have anything to say?”... “Who do you think you are?”… “Why? Why? Why?”… The truth is, there is probably some truth to all of the above and at the same time, none of the above. I have been very blessed to have had an upbringing that valued and emphasised on higher education and career development. I still clearly remember my mother telling me when I was about 8 or 9 years old, that I cannot expect to rely on a man for my financial security. I have to make my own way in the world. I have to ensure that I can support myself and not just expect to be married and be taken care of. She was "the lucky one to have found my Dad", she reminded me. "That may or may not happen for you". Lucky for me, I also found my perfect soul mate too. But, those words became a founding foundation by which I have structured my early adulthood. The reason I gave up the opportunity to become a ballerina but instead focussed my early career on scientific pursues. Get a well paid career. Stand on your own two feet. Make your own way. Be respected.
Be respected. Wow! A tall order, in this day and age as a woman, even now with all the online advice and articles, and the emerging, “Look at me, I am woman. Hear me Roar” angry mop mentality. We will get there eventually I hope, for the sake of my daughters. But, we are not there yet. Let me ask you this: Have you ever just taken a step outside the square and decided to do something different, to stick your head out of the herd, what happened? Negative comments, sometimes outwardly negative, and sometimes masked with patronizing concern… What did your inner voice say to you? Where did your inner voice come from? What is it based on? “I’m going to fail. People are going to laugh at me for even trying. Why did I think I was good enough? I’m not good enough. THEY don’t think I’m good enough. They are just going to say, “I told you so, why did you think you could do anything different to the rest of us?”
I, too, have my circle of criticising patrons who bring objections to my intentions at every turn. And, you know what? When someone gives me a negative comment, I force myself to say “thank you”. Not an angry, sacarstic “I’ll show you” thank you. But, I force myself to be filled with love and kindness, and genuinely be grateful for their negative voices. Because to be totally honest, their negative voices are no different to the one in my own head, the one of my own creation. Why is this important? In everything that I have read about how to deal with negativity... Quotes, facebook articles, well meaning advice, they tell you to ignore it. And, I am here to say to you “DON'T ignore the negative voice, whether it’s other people’s or your own.” Do you know what happens when you ignore negativity? It comes back, over and over again, for you to practice ignoring it over and over again, so that it can come back again and again. So, we become good at ignoring the negative voice when we hear it but imagine an existence where you don’t even “hear” it in the first place. You don’t even hear other people's objections as negative, your inner voice is no longer full of objections that you have to waste energy in hushing. “Impossible!” my inner negative voice is immediately saying to me. Impossible! Is what my readers would say. So, here I am at a crossroad, do I ignore it and keep writing and, as I write the next sentence, the same voice comes back? Or, do I actively do something else? I don’t ignore it cause ignoring it (much like annoying people) actually doesn’t make it go away. If you don’t believe me, ask yourself, how many times do the same negative voice or the same negative people show up every time you get the idea of getting out of your comfort zone? Do we tell our children to ignore bullies or do we teach them to stand up for themselves?
Here is what I do in dealing with my inner negative voice and negative people:
1. I acknowledge my negative voice for trying to keep me safe. I thank it for keeping me safe. I acknowledge those naysayers for being true friends for keeping me safe. I thank them.
2. Then, I put myself into their shoes. What are the concerns? Why are they really objecting? If it’s my own voice, it’s generally because of a fear that I have. If it’s other people, it generally comes down to a fear they have about themselves.
3. Then, I ask, what are the many things that I can do to ensure those fears and concerns are minimised? If it’s about other people’s fears, what are the things I can offer them to put their minds at ease? What do they need from me? What can we ALL learn from this?
4. Finally, I ask that negative voice and those naysayers, “How are you feeling now?”
Generally, they answer that they are feeling much better and excited for me, as any true friend should!! Imagine.. Practicing to magically turn negativity into positive power cause ignoring it won't do that for you. Like everything else, it takes action to change something, not inaction. Ignoring something won't make it go away.
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