Why I Began to Tune Out “The Voice”

We all have an inner thought-life, accessible to none but ourselves (and perhaps a trusted soulmate who “gets” us).

But often a very influential someone else resides deep within our thoughts, a should-be-unwelcome-guest speaking into our souls. The Voice.

The Voice

Let’s call this bad actor Tapeworm. Tapeworm plays tapes incessantly, its disheartening voice worming around our consciousness, repeating mantras from long ago to convince us that we __________ (fill in the blank with something bad).

Conscience tells us when we’ve done wrong – that’s legitimate guilt. But Tapeworm feeds on the past in order to discolor the present, by spewing doom, gloom, cannot, should not – oh, and by the way, you suck. Also, you’re an impostor. This voice is all about handcuffs, not liberation.

Jill Dahl eloquently explains 5 of her negative, limiting mantras in this enlightening article (worth reading in its entirety):

1. I won’t ever do that again

2. This can’t last

3. It’s not OK to do that

4. This actually means that

5. I’m no good at that

This was a very timely article, as I had just had a long conversation with someone who was clearly shaped – and being impacted – by old childhood tapes. And, the fact is, I have been wrestling with my own Voice of late, starting to recognize that certain phrases – lies – are muddying up my soul, and my relationships with others.

I see them as short-circuits, cutting off the healthy flow of emotion and energy, and they’re in need of detox. These disspiriting notions get so ingrained in us, so early, that we often struggle to separate ourselves from them. Like a tapeworm, they reside inside us, wrapped around us, sucking life away.

I have been deeply influenced by a toxic triplet of trash-talking voices. Here they are:

  1. Nobody really cares about you. You are undesirable and unlovable.
  2. You will, ultimately, be rejected by others. It’s inevitable.
  3. You’re a failure.

Nice, huh? Sunshine, roses, rainbows, and unicorns need not apply. These thought-polluters are the very opposite of clarity. They’re toxic fog.

How I ended up embracing these beliefs (from sometime in childhood) I only partially understand, but they have circulated in my bloodstream for decades like a soul infection. I suspect many of you may have similar tapes playing in the background (or foreground).

I felt the influence of these voices for all these years, but only recently have I fully identified them as foreign invaders, and begun the process of rejecting them. And the crucial step was this: those emotion-laden beliefs are not me. They are beliefs, they are voices, and they’re wrong.They’re bad-news-letters in the Inbox; SPAM worthy only of an “unsubscribe.” I no longer accept them as truth-tellers.

I’m changing the channel. No longer tuning in. The re-wiring process of fixing these short-circuits is long, but it’s a relief to finally question these soul-choking mantras.

The facts are: I’m a flawed mess, but I’m loved. Some may reject me, but my family and my true friends and my God have stuck by me. And, though I have failed at some things, I am succeeding at others.

That negative, limiting, cloud-spewing voice doesn’t deserve the soul real estate I’ve given it in the past. I’m taking that acreage back.

I am changing the channel when The Voice comes on. Maybe someday soon, that show will be cancelled. Or at least relegated to the 3 am time slot…

photo credit: anw.fr via photopin cc


  1. Steve…thanks so much for the mention and I love how you are putting self-compassion into action by “changing the channel” : ) I applaud the courage to share your most vulnerable thoughts and to share with others that you know you are a “flawed mess” but LOVED…as we all are!!! Keep up the great work!

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