I’ve been trying to quiet the mean voice inside my head lately. I want to tell you about it. It hasn’t been easy. You probably know this voice. It’s an unkind and relentless voice. This voice makes you think and say mean things about yourself. It has a lot to say and none of it is kind. This voice repeats these unkind things over-and-over. Some days the voice is small and easy to ignore. Other days it is big and overwhelming and it can make you believe it.
I believe everyone hears this voice. The voice is just you, thinking and saying mean things about yourself. The voice is your self-doubt. The voice is your insecurities and fears. Everyone goes through this. I’ll use myself as an example…
My Mean Voices
Sometimes I’m filled with self-doubt. I’m a mental health blogger and advocate. I share my experiences with bipolar disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder. But sometimes self-doubt gets to me. Insecurity comes in. The mean voice starts; “I’m not unwell enough to be a legitimate mental health blogger. I’m not unwell enough to deserve a service animal. I’m not unwell enough for my mental illness to be taken seriously. I seem too functional. My good days will be used against me. People think I’m fake. People will see me smiling and think my mental illness isn’t real.” I go through phases of strong self-doubt. The voice makes me doubt myself…
Anxiety also allows my mean voices to become strong. For instance, I recently sat in my closet and had a horrible mean voice thought spiral about myself; “I’m awful. I’m an inconvenience to everyone. I should quit going places. People don’t actually want me to go. They just invite me out of pity. No one actually likes me. I’m so awful. I’m a bother to everyone. My clothes are weird. I’m so fat. I need to lose weight. I’m too awkward.”
It doesn’t end there.
Depression makes the mean voices come out as well. Depression can be exhausting and debilitating. A thick fog surrounds everything. It makes even the simplest of tasks seem insurmountable. During depression the mean voice says things like; “I hate myself. Why am I like this? I’m so worthless. I can’t even shower. Everything about me is awful. I can’t do anything. Why can’t I go to the grocery store? How long has it been since I left the house? Why can’t I just be normal? Have I showered this week? Does it even matter? I’m a waste of space. I want to ask for help, but no one cares. I’m an inconvenience.”
I have mean voices inside my head. And it keeps going on-and-on. There are diet voices, acne voices, clothes voices, and so many other voices. The voices are just me, thinking and saying mean things about myself. The voices are me being a bully. Tell me, is there a mean voice inside your head like this?
It might be a nagging voice that says things like “you aren’t good enough” or “you don’t deserve *that*” or “you’re worthless” or “you’ll never be good enough”. The voice says these things over-and-over.
You Are Not Alone
I’m not sharing this to receive affirmation from you. I don’t need a pep talk. I’m sharing this in case your mind is also filled with self-doubt. These voices might get to you as well.
I’m sharing because I want you to know that you aren’t alone. You might hear these voices as well. Voices like mine. Or voices that are different. But you are not alone. You aren’t alone with your self-doubt. You aren’t alone with your fears. You are not alone.
We put a lot of pressure on ourselves. We put a lot of pressure on each other. We have self-doubt. We think mean things about ourselves. We can be our biggest bullies.
Don’t Compare Yourself
It’s so easy to feel alone. Sometimes it can seem like everyone else has their act together. We watch each other breeze through life with elegance and grace. We don’t see each other’s self-doubt. We don’t see each other’s fears. We bury them deep down and hide them from the world. I’m here to tell you that no one has their act completely together. Your self-doubt is valid. We all have it. Some of us are just more honest about it.
Sometimes the desire for social acceptance and connectivity causes us to post happy things online when we’re actually not happy. It causes us to put on a smile and stand tall when we are actually being torn apart by self-doubt inside.
We look around and we are surrounded by happy and beautiful people and this can make our mean self-doubt voice stronger. This can make us feel like we’re not good enough. This is when the comparison-games begins. This is when the mean voices can flood in. We compare ourselves to others. We convince ourselves we aren’t as good enough, by comparison. But that isn’t true.
I’m a mental health advocate, so I try to be vulnerable and real about mental health and illness. I’m working daily to accept who I am and share it with others. This acceptance is helping me be more real online and in person. The more real I am the more people I can help. But I’m not always completely honest.
There are times when I’ve been drowning in depression but I’ve posted a happy photo online. There are times when I’ve been riddled with anxiety and crying in the kitchen floor but I’ve posted a fun “out to eat” photo online. In the past I’ve posted photos that make it look like I’m out-and-about when in reality I hadn’t left the house in weeks. I’m proof: what you see on a person’s feed isn’t always a fair representation of their actual life…
Don’t let the mean voices compare you to someone else. You are awesome!
Self-Kindness is Important
I spend a lot of time being kind to others, blogging about kindness, and talking about the importance of kindness. However, I forget to be kind to myself. I say and think things about myself that I would NEVER say or think about another person.
I often ask myself: If I wouldn’t think it about another person, then why do I think it about myself? So, the next time your mean voice gets strong, ask yourself the following questions: If I wouldn’t say/think it about another human, then why am I saying/thinking it about myself? If I wouldn’t think it about my best friend, then why am I thinking it about myself?
We are far too hard on ourselves sometimes. We forget about self-kindness. We deserve it. Self-kindness is important too. Self-kindness is what I wish for you today and everyday.
I want to help you quiet the mean voice inside your head. The unkind and relentless voice that makes you say and think mean things about yourself. The voice that tells you that you aren’t enough.
I’m here to tell you: don’t believe that voice. You are absolutely enough. You are enough every single day. Please don’t let self-doubt get too far in. Please don’t let that voice convince you that you aren’t enough. You are enough. You are spectacular!
You are breathing and living. You’re you, and that’s enough.
Let Your Kind Voice Be Loud
So, today let your voice be the loudest one. Tell yourself things that you love about yourself. You deserve self-love. Let your kindness be so loud that is mutes that other voice. Your kind voice is strong.
It won’t always be easy. Some days it will seem unbearable. But keep going. Keep showering yourself with kindness. With practice your kind voice will become stronger. It will get easier. You deserve it!
Today I’m afraid. Today I have self-doubt. Today I’m filled with fear. But the fear won’t win.
You may be wondering why I share such intimate information about myself. I share because someone like me might read this, and I want them to know that they are not alone.
If you are like me, and you are reading this — Remember, you are not alone.
If you are struggling, reach out and ask for help. Call a helpline. Go to the doctor. Talk to a friend. There is strength in asking for help. There is strength in support. You are worth it. You are spectacular.