Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Outside voices vs. inside voice

I'm a librarian (part-time), so I could easily turn this into a post about library etiquette (which seems to be lacking in all ages these days), but that's not what my title is referring to.  At least not this time.  Maybe you'll get a future post on how not to make your neighborhood librarian roll her eyes.

In recent posts, I've alluded to a struggle and not feeling like myself.  I've spent a lot of time thinking about why I felt that way and how I got there.  I think the biggest cause is that I let outside voices overtake my inner voice.  Worse than that, I let them become my inner voice.

From acquaintances to toxic friends to well-meaning friends, I've heard a lot of critiques about myself over the years.  I'm sure some of the comments were meant to be helpful, but they didn't always achieve that intention. And I'm confident that some were said out of spite and jealousy, though the people who said it would never admit that.

Now, I'm not opposed to constructive, tactful advice.  I've received plenty of that as well. And maybe they were saying the same thing as some of the aforementioned offenders, but they said it in a way that was less hurtful. It didn't feel like an attack on me or my character.

Sometimes (but not always), I've been able to work through the negative comments. Vent about them to friends and let them roll right off my back.  But when the words and sentiments get repeated, that gets harder.  And it's especially hard when they come from people I thought loved and respected me.

I lost this battle a few weeks ago. I think it was a combination of a lot of things, but I suddenly felt the weight of all of these words.  Whether it'd been weeks since I heard them or months, they all came flooding back, filling me with self-doubt and insecurity like I haven't felt in a long time.  They pushed me down into the depths of a very bad mood.

I avoided talking to anyone I didn't have to talk to, and I didn't have any conversations that weren't completely superficial (which is not like me at all).

I was on the verge of tears for the better part of about five days.

I had very little appetite.

I just plain didn't want to be around people. Even some of my favorite people.

Most people left me alone, but a few were persistent. They worked on getting me to talk about what was bugging me, and then assured me it was all in my head (in a nice way).  Even though I didn't immediately buy into what they were saying, I mulled over their feedback over the next few days.  Eventually, I came out on the other side of this bad mood.

Or at least I'm on my way out.

I still don't feel the way I felt in July --- high on life and myself --- but I'm working on changing the voice in my head.  I need it to reflect how I truly feel about myself and not what the Negative Nancies have been spewing at me. So ... I'm getting there.


If you stuck with me through this rambling, you deserve a gold star.

Does anyone have any advice for turning up that inner voice?


  1. That's such a difficult place to be. I'm sorry that those voices have gotten so loud. It's really hard when it gets to the point that you can't just tune them out.\

    I've usually found that if I have one or two close friends that I can count on, their outside voices can boost up my inner voice and help me to find that confidence again.

  2. I go through these phases when Scott's job is in a deployment or training cycle. I just feel like no one understands so I stop talking altogether. Also, I rarely vocalize my problems.
    For me, it takes time and sometimes I need to stay busy enough to forget about the issues at hand.

  3. Ugh, worst ever. I don't have much advice except decompressing every day. Make sure you give yourself some time alone to reflect on your day, what happened, and how you feel. It's just nice to get in your own head on a daily basis and check in. If we don't, we often run on things going on around us rather than our own thoughts.

    Anyways, glad to hear you're starting to come out of the funk. That's never fun, and I can understand wanting to withdraw. Just don't let it win :)


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