How do you silence the negative voice?


Photograph courtesy of Tracey Berry. Find more images like these on Instagram and follow @traceaberry

This week I joined an online writing community at The Write Practice.

Today’s challenge was to write about how to use “positive self talk” to keep writing. I decided to share my entry here as well. I think we all struggle with voices that work against us whether as artists, writers or simply in life. I’d love you to comment and tell me how you deal with the voices.

Just because you buried him at sea yesterday doesn’t mean he won’t raise his ugly head today. He resents the way you ignored him, rowed out in your dinghy and dropped him over the edge. You returned to shore with the spirit of a conqueror. The first time this happened you thought you had defeated him. That he could not reach you anymore. Yet his anger roared beneath the surface of the water. The wind came, the tides turned. Seagulls took messages scribed with your anxiety and dropped them out at sea. He fed on these. He knew your secret and his strength grew. The small voice of his criticism attached itself to every failure you’d had. He created waves that raged and licked the surface of your cliff. In your despair, you watched this and prayed for a strategy. If you didn’t tame him, he would erode your life.

You are wise to his ways now. You know how to gain control. The effort is wearisome but if you just let it go, don’t tame that monster, he will win. You don’t ignore him anymore. Instead you appease him. Give him a little attention. Acknowledge that he’s there. For the first five minutes of the morning you agree with everything he told you. That life sucks. That things aren’t fair. That you have no talent, no ability to succeed. You converse with him from the edge of your small boat, so glad you remembered to row out there while things were still calm. He seems satisfied with this and let’s you row away. As you do you smile secretly to yourself. You observe the sky’s expanse, a canvas for new possibilities. You smell the sea salt and become aware of your thirst. You hear the gulls cry. They mock and tease you because like the lie you’ve sunk, they think you’re defeated.

Yet you’re not defeated. Not today. Today you win because you put your bum in your chair and you wrote. You wrote badly. You wrote honestly. You did the work you knew you had to do. You tamed the monster. You acknowledge the fact that there would be lots of first drafts, edits, re-edits. You wrote anyway. You silenced the voice that told you it was not possible.


Filed under Life

3 responses to “How do you silence the negative voice?

  1. Julie

    I’ve scanned the shelves in the self help isle, I’ve read and pondered on wise words from therapists and gurus. I’ve howled into the wind and screamed at the sky to be rid of them. I’ve laid in my bed suffocated, choking on their toxicity. Hopes of reprieve are hidden beneath layers of insecurity, worthlessness, guilt and blame. My brave face isn’t enough.
    Is it just the punctuation at the end of the words that gives them such weight, such power? If the thoughts are written down do I have the clarity, the advocacy of self to transform them?

  2. Wow, such an amazing way to put those thought times into words. I definately find that if I have something hanging around in my mind for too long, sitting down and writing (getting it all out) is the best way to then ‘let it rest’.

  3. Curtis

    I’m thinking anytime I see that pier and I’m on it. I’ll be heading to the end of it with a fishing pole and some bait. This fish may not be biting. But, my mind will be on something other than the gray haze and the grim thoughts it attracts.

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