Daily Step – Which inner voice do you listen to?


Earlier this week, I was reflecting with my weekly Examen group and the topic of voices came up.

Not external voices, but really our own inner voice.

What does my inner voice say to me?

How do I talk to myself?

Is it with the voice of love? 

Or the voice of fear? 

Or the voice of control?

And how does that internal conversation we all have with ourselves affect how I show up in the world?

Earlier this week, I was berating myself. I tuned into an issue, and I immediately turned to criticizing my actions. I was looking closely at all the flaws in my procedures. I was figuring out all the ways I could have done it better before this issue got to this point. Unconsciously, my inner voice was making sure I rested all blame on me.

But somewhere in the depths of me, there was also a voice of love whispering intently: “Look for other causes here. Trust your intuition. Trust your experience.” 

That voice was seeking to silence the me that always goes directly to “It’s all your fault. It can’t be redeemed.”

Why do I so often listen to the negative inner voice? 

How has it become my cornerstone? 

How has it become yours?

I’ve read this poem by Mary Oliver many times, but this is the first time I read it and saw the “voices shouting their bad advice” as me speaking to myself.

The only way I can recognize a new voice of love and let it reign in me is to first recognize the other voice that tears me down more than it builds me up. Then… leave it behind.

“But little by little,
As you left their voices behind, 
The stars began to burn 
Through the sheets of clouds, 
And there was a new voice, 
Which you slowly
Recognized as your own,
That kept you company
As you strode deeper and deeper 
Into the world,
Determined to do
The only thing you could do‚ 
Determined to save
The only life you could save.”

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