What if the Inner Voice Is the Problem?
Oct 30, 2017 03:46PM
● By RANDY HAMPTON
Being nice to others is a pretty universal concept—even if it seems rarely practiced. Across all cultures, philosophies and religions, there is a shared wisdom about kindness to others. A version of the Golden Rule—“Treat others how you want to be treated”—can be found in ancient Egyptian, Greek, Persian and Roman texts as well as in the guiding literature of Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism and Islam. Even the Hawaiian saying “Ua ola no i ka pane a ke aloha” (“There is life in a kindly reply”) teaches this wisdom.
One of the old sayings about what we say to others is the lesson of The Three Gates. When you are speaking, let your words pass through three gates. At the first gate, ask “Is it true?” At the second, ask “Is it necessary?” And at the third, ask “Is it kind?” If you cannot give a “yes” answer at each gate, then the words should not be spoken. This wisdom has been attributed to the Buddha, Sufi mystic Rumi, and hundreds of others, but no one is really sure who offered it first. As the founder of the website FakeBuddhaQuotes.com notes, maybe the advice is just so universally good that lots of people have arrived at it.
There is a lot of advice that guides how we are supposed to speak to others. Unfortunately, many people run into trouble because they lack any kind of guide for how they are supposed to speak to themselves.
“We all have an inner voice,” explains Master Hypnotist Beverly Craddock, of Hawaii Hypnosis Center, in Honolulu. “The inner voice is often the one that tells us that we are mistaken, full of silly dreams and unreal possibilities that are probably meant for other people. The voice tells us to ‘sit down’ when it should be telling us to ‘stand tall and achieve something phenomenal.’”
Beverly says most people have no idea that the inner voice is a liar and that we don't have to listen to what it has to say. “Most people misidentify the voice as intuition,” she explains. “They hear some kind of hesitancy and believe that the voice is a wise inner guide with a vast desire and ability to protect us from our silly selves.”
The problem of misidentification often comes from the fact that the inner voice is a protective voice. It is the voice of the subconscious mind, and it is protective in nature.
“But that voice isn’t always correct,” Beverly says. “It is the voice of the experiences that you may have had as a child or a teenager. It lacks the beneficial wisdom and experience you have gained because it is merely focused on keeping us from feeling bad—even if risk, hard work, or a little sweat is exactly what we need to achieve something better.”
Over time, the protective subconscious voice can become a critical voice. It attempts to steer us away from pain, sadness or failure by telling us that we are too fat, too dumb, or not good enough to get a better outcome in life.
“While shutting out the outside noise of the world through meditation is useful,” Beverly says, “most people need to learn to shut down or change the inner voice.”
Beverly says the secret is to begin applying all that great wisdom about how to treat others to ourselves. “Let your own golden rule be to treat yourself how you want others to treat you. It’s time to start being kind to yourself.”
Beverly encourages her clients to be kind to their own inner voice. That will lead to a shift where the inner voice becomes kind in return.
“It’s so much better when we can become our own biggest and best cheerleader,” Beverly concludes. “When we let the words in our mind pass through the three gates—true, necessary and kind—we can finally experience a life where we seek to achieve instead of just seeking to survive.”
Randy Hampton is a writer, social scientist, hypnotist and blogger living in Honolulu.