The Inner Dialogue
Some people call it the 'voice in their head' while others simply refer to it as their mind. But most of us do hear a dialog of ideas, and often actual words, made up of the thoughts in our heads. But what exactly are these thoughts and where do they come from? First of all, let's examine what these thoughts generally consist of. They may be constructive ideas, or our mind reviewing things we have to do, or plans, or a shopping list. At the other end of the scale, they may be accusatory thoughts, thinking we're not good enough, or we're going to fail at something. We may also have random violent or disturbing thoughts that seem to appear out of nowhere. Many people struggle with their inner dialogue and may say, 'I wonder why I thought that?'
But there lies the answer. The question implies there are more than one version of you. Basically you are saying 'I (authentic self) wonder why I (ego or personality) thought that?' The real you questions why the outer you had the thought. As I've often referred to the outer person as the ego, I will use that term in this article. We'll call the authentic self 'sprit' for the sake of giving it a title. Are we two people in one? Are we doomed to have an ego and a spirit always at opposite ends and equally powerful, filling our brains with confusion from time to time? Thankfully, the answer is no. The ego is comprised of learned behavior. It's what our parents may have expected from us when we were a child, or what co-workers or a boss or family members may expect from us. A teacher may have said we weren't smart, and that may have stuck with us. Our ego is a tool we need in order to live a full human life, but it is now who we are. It is an outward learned layer which makes up a good portion of our personality. We, the true inner person, are spirit and eternal. We don't question or accuse ourselves. Only our ego does that.
So how do we pit the spirit against the ego and hope to win? Will the two sides be forever battling? The answer to this is thankfully a very easy one. Let's suppose we are giving a twenty minute talk in front of a group of people. Our brain says, "You can do this", then "You'll be nervous", then, "You've got this and will do well", followed by "You're a failure and always will be. Why would people want to hear anything you'd say?" Although some will hear actual words in their mind, others may just be hit with the feelings that these words convey. Either way, it leaves the person ill-prepared and not as confident as they could be. So how do we shut down the ego? It only takes five words. "I am not my ego". This means, we simply need to focus on the fact that WE, the real us, the eternal spirit here in human form, will always do well. We are all-knowing, full of experience and wisdom. We can't go wrong. The ego is a tool we use. And the spirit and ego are far from equals. The ego will die at the end of our human life. When we come back again, we will have a new one, but for now, we can become aware that we are not our ego. We never were and never will be. The ego is simply a learned layer that includes a fair share of disappointments and failures. The ego keeps our present memories and habits alive, providing a way to interact with others and live a human life. As I said, it is only a tool. It is not who we are. When we say 'I am not my ego', and mean it, a funny thing happens. The ego falls away and suddenly falls silent. Those negative self-talk messages stop. We are left only with the confidence of being an eternal creation. We can face any task much better, whatever it may be.
Suppose we are trying to diet? Our ego tempts us, but when we realise again that we are not our ego, much of that tempation stops. The same is true for stopping smoking, abstaining from alcohol or living a healthier lifestyle, even getting out of a toxic relationship. The ego says we're trapped, we've always done it that way, we'll never change, we deserve the bad thing. It is a liar, only knowing the past, and not understanding the depth of who we truly are. When we 'unplug' it by reminding ourselves that we are not our ego, we suddenly find ourselves empowered to reach greater heights. We are left with only the one positive inner dialogue, the one from the 'good wolf'. (see the first article regarding the two wolves) So when you next have inner turmoil, remember that you are not your ego. The ego's voice will then fall silent.