It’s that one voice inside that tends to drown out all the others with words like can’t, don’t , shouldn’t, wouldn’t. It tells us not to do it. What is “it”? Well, think back…when was the last time you wanted to do something that would help you grow or take risk (that wasn’t about being practical and responsible) and you didn’t do it? Whatever it was, that was the “it.” It could have been signing up for a class, starting a business or simply choosing to spend time or money investing in your own personal growth.
There are so many things that I want to do and experience in my life that I fear I won’t have the time to do them all. I certainly don’t need to put another obstacle in my way, but it continues to be a battle to drown out that inner voice of doubt and judgment. However, I recognize that I am not alone. The universal power of this conflict was once again brought to my attention while reading a book about women in the mid 1960’s. The overriding struggle of the women in the book was with that voice, but for them the voice was also more externally pronounced. In the time during and after the Cold War, many women felt trapped by prescribed social roles and didn’t pursue their dreams for fear of looking like a bad mother, doing something at the expense of their family’s well-being or seeming unfeminine. Does this still sound familiar?
Despite the fact that that way of thinking was over fifty years ago, it was still only fifty years ago. In other words, it takes time to change the thinking and/or perception of a society’s gender norms. And that change begins and ends with us. We must be the first to believe and say “no” to that voice from the past which tells us no! It’s a constant battle to retrain the brain. Why does it seem easier to tell others what they should think or do? Most times we can see things more clearly from the outside of a situation which is why it is vital to have trusted friends who can encourage us to combat old patterns of thinking.
We can’t erase the past, but we can recognize and identify our mistakes and learn from them. Sometimes it can be easier and safer to listen to that inner voice. However, if we do, we not only deny our true selves, but we perpetuate a false social philosophy which prevents us from obtaining the freedom which we all deserve. If we are torn within ourselves, we will not be unified outwardly with others.
So let’s get out of our own way!