Sunday, December 11, 2011

The GPS from the Twilight Zone

The biggest obstacle to any kind of transformation is the voice that tells you it's impossible.  It says:  You've always been like this, you'll always be like this, what's the point.  No one every really changes.  Might as well eat.  By the way, have you taken a look at your arms recently?  And what were you thinking when you wore those pants today?  Have you noticed the rolls cascading over your pants?  And excuse me, did you forget to put on makeup today or is that what you look like when it's already on?  That Hair.  Those thighs.  Why do you even bother?  Did you just say what I think you said to your boss?  Who are you, Queen of the Universe?  How many times do you have to fall flat on your face before you learn to keep your mouth shut?

Less lyrical people (like Sigmund Freud) call it the superego, the internalized parent, the inner critic.  I call it THE VOICE.

Everyone has THE VOICE.  It's a developmental necessity.   You need to learn not to put your hands in fire, walk into oncoming traffic, stick electrical wires into water.  You need to learn that you probably won't be welcomed into other people's houses if you throw food on their walls or put snakes in their beds.  When external authority figures such as parents, teachers or family members communicate verbal and nonverbal instructions about physical and emotional survival, we coalesce those voices into one voice--THE VOICE--by a process call introjection (internalizing authority figures).

According to developmental psychologists, THE VOICE is fully operative in most of us by the time we are four years old, after which it functions as a moral compass, a deterrent to questionable behavior.  Instead of being afraid of the disapproval of our parents, we become afraid of the disapproval of THE VOICE.  Instead of being punished for daring to disagree with our mothers or father, we adults punish ourselves for daring to believe that our lives could be different.  We become risk aversive.  Frightened of change.

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