Do you do this? I ask because I really want to know.
Do you find yourself walking along and two blokes in front are walking super slow, oblivious to the fact they’re blocking the path, and you have to shift your pace and it all feels really inconvenient and you get – uggh – irritated…
…and then it pipes up…
…the vile, judgey voice in your head. “You wouldn’t be so fat if you walked a bit faster, mate!” or “I bet you’re like this at work – taking over things like you own them”.
When I’m driving it really gets loud and stereotyping. And when I’m in the city trying to get to a meeting and I’m surrounded by office workers on their lunch breaks (“Lemmings!”). But the poor unsuspecting soul doesn’t even have to be inconveniencing me to cop a lashing from my vile inner voice. They might just be engaged in conversation nearby. Or it might just be a dog doing its thing. And my head makes snap judgments about the kind of person (or dog) they are and where they might be going wrong in life and why they need to read a newspaper every now and then and GOSH could people stop talking in mindless cliches.
These are really ugly things to admit. And apologies if I offend. But I’ve mentioned my vile, judgey voice to others over the past few days and they’ve TOTALLY got it. They have one too. Which is why I felt brave enough raising it here.
And, besides, I think these kind of blogs can get a bit Pollyanna-ish at times….just as an important aside.
I’ve been grappling with the voice for a while now. It horrifies me. But it’s suddenly got louder and uglier.
That’s what happens when you need to shift something – it becomes more apparent and more intolerable. Louder. Uglier. So that you can see it. And be pushed to change.
I’ve realised in the past few days that we voice these things when we’re feeling separate. When we’re feeling removed from our fellow humans it makes everyone else seem like they’re working in opposition to us. “YOU over there are doing THAT to ME over here”.
So a few reflections that have helped quieten the voice a little, bit by bit:
* When the voice pops up, it’s really just reminding us we need to get closer to humanity. And that we’re all connected and in the same boat together. Perhaps we’ve been a little off track, off-kilter, too caught up in our individual pursuits to see this. The voice draws us (painfully) back to it. Instead of berating ourselves for having the voice, we can see it as a prompt to get closer. In the immediate instance, I’ve found that simply being aware of the (irritating) person’s energy as I walk past them or as I sit next to them helps. This sounds esoteric, but try it at the traffic lights. Feel from the heart. Imagine connecting with that person’s energy. Suddenly the irritating person feels like an extension of us. They look like us. Then, boom, compassion!
* This “Fred Nile voice” also holds a mirror up to our own shit. As Carl Jung said: “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” So when the voice pops up, use it to question what the issue might be for yourself. I’m getting angry right now with people who are all blustery and make dumb decisions from being too nervous and jittery….hmmm….
* Finally, and this one’s a doozie….look at the (irritating) person and see them as the child they once were. My friend KJ passed this tip onto me on the weekend. I’ve tried it over the past few days. It works. Suddenly everyone is forgivable. Suddenly everyone’s in the same boat because we all started out from the same connected place: as forgivable blank slates doing the best they can.
So, um, tell me…do you have a vile, judgey voice? What does it say? And how do you put a gag on it?