Who Am I?

What a liberation to realize that the ‘voice in my head’ is not who I am.
‘Who am I, then?’ The one who sees that. ~ Eckhart Tolle

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The voice in his head yelled as he walked out of the interview. “Why did you answer that way? You are such an idiot!” He was so nervous at the questions that he clearly fumbled his response. He wondered if they would even consider him for the job now. The call came a few days later. They wanted a second interview. Really? How was that possible? It seemed what he heard himself say wasn’t taken the same by the interviewer. He was not, as Tolle remarked, the voice in his head. Did he even know who he was? He was beginning to understand.

I love audiobooks read by the author. Hearing the voice of the author and their inflection appropriately placed brings the book to life for me. In fact, if it is a non-fiction book, I often won’t purchase it if it is read in someone else’s voice. I don’t know whose voice it is that plays in my head all of the time — not that of the author of my story, surely. It plays for hours, especially when I want to go to sleep. It has been liberating, indeed, to be reminded that the voice that makes life difficult or makes me think I’m better than I am is not my own. Once I get that under control, I realize how much better life can be.

Applying for jobs and then hopefully interviewing is all pretty stressful. To not get a job, or even an interview, is discouraging, isn’t it? I’ve not interviewed for a job in so many years that I’m not sure when my last interview was. My first interview (and job) was at Kay’s Ice Cream 40 years ago, and after staying home to raise children and running my own small one-person business for several years, the idea of finding a job out in the world has been daunting. Do I really want to do this? Where do I even start?

A resumé, I decided, was a good first step, and I found a woman who creates resumés for a living. As we talked about the jobs in which I might be interested and the jobs for which I am qualified, the voice in my head assured me that I was not only unqualified but undesirable. My resumé looks lovely, but the courage to overcome the voice will take great effort. Do you ever feel that way?

The voice in my head has screamed at me many times words reminding me I’m not enough, people need more.  I’m not smart enough, pretty enough, talented enough, good enough. The truth, though, is I am better than that voice is telling me. I might not be qualified for certain jobs, but as far as being a valuable person,  I am enough. You are enough. Those are three powerful words to speak to yourself every single day, as the voice in your head and those in the world work to convince you differently.

Imagine you meet someone who puts you down, boasts about themselves at your expense, and calls you in the late hours of the night to remind you how you have failed. Would you choose to carry on a conversation for very long with them? Most likely, no. You recognize how dangerous the person is and walk the other way. Why is it so hard to do that with that voice within you? What are you afraid of? Don’t say, “nothing” because research shows that when we allow the inner voice to control us, it is out of fear.

In fact, fear drives almost everything we do.

  • We stay late at work out of fear — something might not get accomplished, the boss will think less of us, or someone else might finish the work we began and then get the credit.
  • We make fun of the way someone else does something out of fear they will look better than we do.
  • We put ourselves down, make jokes at our own expense, out of fear that someone else will see our inadequacies and beat us to the punch.
  • The voices in our head keep us up at night out of fear that someone we love will not make it home safely, that we should have done things better in our meetings with others, and that people we love will not love us in return.

The voice will beat you down if you allow it, as will the voices of other people. How liberating to discover that the voice in your head is not who you are. We are valuable at every stage of life. In older age, you bring beautiful wisdom, in your quirky view of life, you bring a fresh and much-needed perspective, and in your ability to love yourself, you offer someone else the chance to love you, (romance or not) too.

Make sure your audiobook is being read by the proper voice — yours. Look at yourself in the mirror right now and say, “Hey, you! You are enough!That is who you are — the one who sees your own value and is unafraid of claiming it.

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