• Jan Ockendon

Hello inner monologue, I'm listening.

What does your inner monologue tell you each day? Do you listen to it all the time or do you sometimes not even notice it is there?

I love this quote from Philip K Dick. For those of you who don't know him he is an American writer known for writing science fiction. His novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep was the inspiration for the film Blade Runner. The plot for Blade Runner is focused around a cop who is hunting a group of renegade replicants but in doing so he comes across a female replicant who has been given a set of false memories so she comes to believe she is human. I came across the quote this morning when I was searching for quotes about beliefs. It started my own inner monologue going at a pace. Science fiction is not my reading genre of choice but it does lend itself to the exploration of identity and what we believe ourselves to be. The Matrix series for instance where the story is that what we believe to be reality is an elaborate, manufactured mainframe. Hold that thought for a bit.

We all have our own story, our own internal version of ourselves, of the world and of other people. We tell ourselves stories all the time, how many times can we remember saying things like "that always happens to me" or "I'll buy a fabulous house when I win the lottery". Most of us will have said things like this to ourselves more than once in our lives. They serve a purpose and can help us manage a difficult time in our lives. That dream of buying the amazing house when you're in the middle of a lockdown homeschooling children who are currently in the throes of cabin fever. We are aware of those stories and we know they are just that, stories and dreams.

What about the ones we are not so aware of? The ones that can drive us to repeat things we know hurt us or take us further from what we really want. The stories or ideas we have about ourselves that stop us doing the things we would like to do. These are often the stories we have grown up with, formed as we are learning about ourselves and who we are. Often these are the stories that cause us the most problems. They're the ones that become our reality and feed the little voice in our heads that says we are not worth very much or we are not good enough. They're the stories that take us into relationships that are not good for us and are then bolstered by the very fact that relationship is not good for us. After all, the story goes, it's all we deserve. Then the story goes we can never have a proper relationship with anyone or even hold down a job. People become dangerous or threatening to us and the world is a scary place full of things that are going to trip us up. Over time these become our reality a little like the repilcant, Rachel from Blade Runner who has the human memories implanted in her. Often our inner stories have grown from passing remarks from people who are important to us. Remarks that have not been thought through, said in jest or anger or have come from their own inner stories.

Our minds begin to form a version of reality which is not necessarily based in actual reality. It can become difficult to think about the world as being any different to the story our mind has created for us. Remember The Matrix? Neo did not believe what he was being told by Morpheus but was entirely willing to believe what The Oracle told him because it fitted with his own version of reality. That belief he held almost led to his demise, only that he had faith in Trinity's belief in him stopped that. While our own willingness to hold onto our versions of reality will probably not lead to amazing time lapse fight scenes like The Matix it is likely to stop us from applying for promotions, not following our dreams or holding back from introducing ourselves to the person we've been seeing every morning for six months on the bus. The one we smile at and who smiles back but nothing more happens.

Is that it then or can we change our version of reality? We very much can rewrite our story and from there our version of reality. If we think of our own minds as being like The Matrix, the mainframe computer that forms the reality in the film. If you think that often it is our belief in our own version of the world that holds us back then what might happen if we change that? The first step is identifying what is our version of what is real and what actually is real. For instance is it true that nobody really likes you? Or that no-one comments on your Facebook posts because no-one reads them (that's mine and I know from what I've been told and messages I've had it is not true). What is it you are doing that supports the story in your mind? Not doing those things you find scary will undoubtedly mean you never fail but it will also mean you will never challenge that story you hear about not being good enough. After all, how do you know if you don't do much? Instead of writing yourself a list of things to do try writing a list of things that you've done. Most people underestimate what they've done in a day and writing down what you have actually done challenges that story you tell yourself that you're lazy and don't do anything with your days. Is there something you've always wanted to do but that cheeky voice in your head tells you that you can't? If you've never tried where is the evidence to say you can't do it? What is the worst that could happen if you did try. Maybe there are a few things you've been putting off because of that inner voice telling you that you can't do it for whatever reason. My challenge to you is to pick the smallest, easiest one and challenge yourself to give it a go.

If you would like some support or help with that inner monologue drop me a message and we can talk to see how I might be able to help.

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