Shut up, Mean Voice!

I have a mean voice talking in the back of my head. She intrudes when I make a mistake or when I drop something to tell me: “Quelle idiote!

Yeah, my mean voice speaks French. Her favorite words mean: “What an idiot you are!” or “How stupid!” or “You’ll never get it right!”. Sometimes, I even find myself whispering those words aloud like an old lady telling off her cat. Except I would never talk like this to a cat, to a child or to a person. This special treatment is reserved for myself.

The voice is also pretty bossy: “I shouldn’t have said that”; “I should have gone for a run today”; “I shouldn’t eat so much.” She doesn’t whisper constructive ideas on how to improve myself in my ear; it’s just a constant flow of negativity.

I am not always able to stop it. At least now I catch myself doing it and think: “How mean you are to yourself”. Hum, it’s probably still the mean voice talking here.

I guess that being conscious of what’s happening is the first step. Then, when I hear something mean from the voice, I take distance from it. I wouldn’t listen to a mean and negative person in real life so there is no reason I should listen to the voice. I sure hear it but I just don’t listen anymore.

The next step is to replace the mean voice with a friendly one. “You’re doing great!”, “You look pretty” or “How smart!”… Here are the words I want my friendly voice to whisper.

18 thoughts on “Shut up, Mean Voice!

  1. When I was a teenager, I read a magazine article that said “Tell ‘the critic’ to shut up,” referring to the mean voice as “the critic”. Up until that point, I’d never thought it was possible to silence that mean voice, since it had been plaguing me as a child from whatever point it is that you realize other kids are mean… age 5, maybe?

    But I did tell it to shut up and, although it took several years, it’s been largely gone for probably a decade now. Still comes back once in a while though. But, like you said, at least now I can recognize it and tell it to go away.

  2. Back to our topic, that simply indicates you are human, and are aware of your mistakes. The thing is to turn the “I shouldn’t have ” into ” well, I did, so let’s learn how to live with that and how to improve in the future” right? And maybe we give ourselves hard time, but if we won’t who will? (: Here I’d like to quot a friend and say : “I am proud of myself if i do not repeat the same mistake more that 5 times “. It’s ok to make mistakes, and ever more ok to feel bad about them. Just not to sink into that vicious circle of giving yourself a hard time but not going further (or farther, really depends on the situation of the mistake).

    • You’re right. The trick is not to stop noticing mistakes and feel bad about them but to say to yourself: “Hey. it’s okay, everyone makes mistakes.” A bit like you would say to a friend, I guess. thanks for sharing your perspective on this :-)

      • Yea, even feeling bad for some time ( a reasonable period, of course) is ok as long as we don’t sink in and roll on the negativity.
        Thanks for listening to my perspective (:

  3. Oh by all means :) keep illustrating your posts with drawings. It adds a whole new dimension to your thoughts. We can just look at the image and imagine what you mean. Makes our minds work too; wonderful.

  4. Great post. I yell at myself in French. It makes people look at me write strangely when I am in public, like “who is the foreigner, and what asylum did she escape from?”

  5. Oh my, yes, it is so difficult to shut that little voice up but so great that you are figuring out the best way to handle it. A good reminder to start paying more attention to shutting up my own instead of letting it run wild!

  6. Love the drawing :-) I also think everyone has a mean voice!! Maybe if we were nicer to ourselves to start with the world would be a friendlier place?

    • Merci beaucoup! I agree with you, being hard on myself makes me more defensive. When I get a constructive criticism, I sometimes take it the wrong way because I need the reassurance that should come from within.

  7. We all have negative voices in our ears (& heads), few people go easy on themselves. Would it be better if your Mean Voice spoke to you in a different language, though?

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