Voice and Shadow

I’ve been doing some good and hard work in counseling ever since I got my original birth certificate and found my birth family a few years ago. One of my recent discoveries is that I have a Voice in my head that tells me things.

The Voice isn’t new. It’s been with me for awhile. My awareness of it, however, is new.

It tells me some version of “if people only knew this________________ (fill in the blank) about you, they would leave you“.

In addition to my awareness of the Voice, I also have an awareness that the Voice is often wrong.

As an illustration of how the Voice works, as soon as I had the realization about the Voice, the Voice told me, “if people only knew you had been listening to a Voice telling you lies all these years, they would think you are weak sauce and would leave you“.

See what a vicious cycle that is?

I suspect I am not alone in having a voice, even if the message other people get from their voices is different than mine. Perhaps yours tells you that your presence doesn’t matter. Or that people only love you for what you do for them. Or that you better try again if you want to do it right. I’ve noticed other people’s Voices when they give them bad advice and told them lies. I never noticed it or recognized it in myself.

So I pondered that on my hike this morning.

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Don’t you wish you lived this close to views like this for your hikes?

I think it is hard to recognize and be skeptical about a Voice that seems to come from inside your own self.

I also think that when you have heard that Voice most of your life, it distorts the way you see and understand yourself.

I don’t hate that Voice in my head. I suspect it began at a time when it was not safe for me to be vulnerable. I suspect the Voice began with good intentions to protect me, to help me navigate those moments of risk and perceived danger.

But I’m not in danger now. I’m not at risk now. I don’t need it’s protection in the same way.  I don’t want it to go away forever. I like the image of the Voice sitting sentinel, like a guard dog, ready to protect me if needed.

As I hiked today, I kept seeing my shadow. And as I pondered my Voice, my shadow was helpful. Sometimes my shadow is straight in front of me, stretching out long and lean, making me look 12 feet tall and thin. (I like that shadow).

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Sometimes, though, my shadow goes off to the side and makes me look misshapen and odd.

Today I even saw my shadow down in a valley, as I stood on a ridge with the sun behind me.

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I know my shadow is a part of me. No matter how my shadow appears to make me look, I know it doesn’t always give a true reflection of me. So I acknowledge it’s presence, but don’t give it more credence than is warranted.

I’m trying to be that way about the Voice too. It’s a part of me. I don’t have to let it define the way I see myself. You don’t need to let yours define you either. Blessings to us all as we listen for the Voice and see our own shadows.

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3 thoughts on “Voice and Shadow

  1. This is lovely, much to ponder here. The voice in my head is called The Mean Lady and she speaks as a version of me. She says mean things that are in no way related to how I was ever parented…as you say, I suspect a coping mechanism that served at one point but no longer does. In the back of every work notebook I carry, the last page has a scribble on the corner that says, “Your presence matters!” and I often have to look at that to counteract the Voice in meetings.

    Thank you.

  2. So hard to recognize both the voice and the fact that it’s protecting from a danger that is no longer a threat. It’s so good to be able to say “i’m not in danger so i don’t need it the same way”…though of course with it still standing guard, it will probably be perfectly happy in its 8 doorway. 🙂

  3. I hope many read this for two reasons. One, that counseling is a positive especially for pastors etc. Secondly, the ability to self-reflect and notice where you push back and react. Our shadows are important parts of us to befriend and not reject.

    I was in a small group and name the Voice…our committees…

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