Our relationship with the external world is a reflection of our inner world, and conversely how we speak to ourselves is a reflection of how we let others speak to us. When we are highly critical of our actions or thoughts, when they don't measure up to a belief about ourselves, we negate the voice of our authentic self. Somewhere along the way we swallowed a narrative that we are not OK., unless we behave in a manner that is OK for someone else. This narrative is not who we are, it is a storyline fed to us from someone else, or an experience where we needed to adapt to circumstances beyond our control. This narrative has many guises but usually it involves the words "should", "must", " have to", or "ought to". The more we ingest these foreign beliefs or attitudes, the less space is available within us to reflect what truly is right for us. It sets up an inner conflict between the parts of ourselves that is aligned with our authentic self and this critical voice.
When we can get in touch with the inner voice that is gentle and loving, we are closer to a narrative that is life affirming. By hearing our authentic voice we are able to recognise foreign narratives that come from outside ourselves. By acknowledging and giving voice to our inner critic, also gives us a chance to witness and seek to understand what this voice is attempting to tell us. Usually the critic is there to protect us from some form of perceived annihilation or shame. However left to direct us based on often old and outmoded protective measures we are contained, rather then allowed to fully evolve.
Discovering our authentic voice is like meeting a new friend that is learning to have a voice in the world. This voice can get drowned out by our familiar critical voice, but the more we engage with it the more permanent a presence it becomes in our lives. When others views that are incongruent with our authentic self, simple statements such as 'that doesn't fit for me' declares to the world that we honour what feels right for us, and that we are the agents of our own destiny.
Richard Prince is a Sydney based Gestalt Psychotherapist in private practice. He works with clients that are interested in developing their inner wisdom, to create a life of meaning, purpose, and fulfilling relationships. He has trained in the United States and in Australia, completing a degree in Architecture, and holds Masters Degrees in Social Ecology and Gestalt Psychotherapy. He balances his therapy practice with life in the professional business world as a creative practitioner, as a father, a husband, and as a full time human being.