On Tuesday, I wrote about the importance of recognising which thoughts you have on a regular basis, before sorting through them like household clutter, deciding what to save, shelve or bin.
Today, I want to add something very small, but very special to the mix.
The voice through which we hear out thoughts often sounds just like us, which is why so many of us – myself included – have struggled to separate our own identity from those thoughts. It’s hard to ignore thoughts when they’re coming from you.
But the thing is, they’re not.
I was reminded of this when listening to my favourite Communication Expert, Julian Treasure, as he described the importance of inner-listening.
“We’re not the voice speaking,” he said, “We’re the ones listening.”
As someone who teaches Wellbeing and Mindfulness to children, this struck me as a game-changer.
For children, teens and indeed many adults, learning to let go of your own thoughts and beliefs can be a terrifying process. Even when you know that your inner-voice is working against you; when faced with logical evidence that contradicts what it’s telling you; it still isn’t easy to ignore a voice that sounds just like you and has been with you throughout your life.
Yet, no matter how attached you are to your thoughts, it’s impossible to deny the logic.
We can’t talk and listen at the same time. Therefore, if we’re hearing the thoughts, we can’t possibly be saying them.
It must be an impostor. Perhaps it’s our ego, or our fear, our anxiety, a learned response, an unhelpful habit…. but it’s definitely not us.
Because we’re busy listening.
And as any listener does, we have the right to decide which information we deem to be useful… reliable… accurate …or just absolute nonsense, simply to be ignored.