I experience my inner life verbally, not experiencing images as much as voices. I don't mean that I literally hear voices, but that my conscious self has a voice that constantly battles against my default inner voice. I experience a stream of thoughts that have been with me as long as I can remember. I suspect it's formed by my childhood experiences. It's a highly critical voice, and sometimes it sounds exactly like my parents: "Clean up the kitchen! Don't be lazy! Take out the trash!" It's taken me many years to understand that I don't need to listen to that voice in order to be worthy.
Something I've worked on in recent years is cultivating my own voice. It requires pushing back against that default voice in my mind and replacing it with a narrative and drive of my own choosing. Sometimes I achieve victory over it, and can say "Enough." Sometimes I let it get the best of me, and I do and say things beyond my capacity for fear of being unloved or unappreciated.
It's a real challenge, being of two minds. Both voices are a part of me, but I also believe I can slowly change the narrative through strategic rejection of falsehoods or negativity in that inner dialog. There's tremendous value in recognizing that even though the voice is always there, it isn't always correct and I don't always need to believe what it says.
I believe we all have our own voices that need to be cultivated. I have a clear sense in my mind now of the sort of person I want to be: caring, kind, energetic, outgoing. I need to balance myself as I try to win the emotional tug-of-war and make progress moving forward. I'm a big believer in the power of self-knowledge. I need to know my limitations and where I have room to grow. As I've gotten a bit older, I've gotten more comfortable with the fact that I'm a work in progress and will always be so. But as I've toiled with self-analysis and careful work, I can look back and see that I've come a long way. I feel like my positive voice is getting stronger, and the old voice has fewer critical things to say. That's progress. And though it's not perfect, for now that's enough for me.
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