One of the [many] good things about having a partner in life is that they see you for who you are and sometimes verbally share their observations with you. Much to my surprise and utter dismay, the way that I act is not always the way that I think I act. What a revelation.
Cristy has mentioned to me on more than one occasion that I have an annoying tendency to verbally disagree with certain nice things that she says about me, particularly regarding my appearance. I know that I am not trying to be disagreeable; I am simply repeating aloud the noise that is in my head. But that noise is so loud and those messages are in such sharp contrast to what she says that instead of thinking for myself and selecting the most appropriate response, I allow the chatter to hijack my own voice.
Hmmm, another revelation. Slightly alarming, this one.
The first unfortunate effect is that my disagreement sends a message to Cristy that I do not value what she says to me, and that is untrue. Nonetheless, that is what I am doing.
The second effect is that the noise in my head acts like white noise, canceling out all the other incoming sounds, such as the good loving messages she verbally sends. Those chattering negative thoughts intercept the message before my brain gets a chance to register and deposit the confirming, loving thought in my consciousness.
So here is the question that I pose to myself: how much of my reality do I cancel out without permitting it to even register in my consciousness because of my negative thoughts?
I look to my own family history for an example. An observation.
My mom has said for many, many years that she cannot remember her own father ever telling her that he loved her. This weighs heavily on her very being. Since I was not around during those days, I simply accept what she says as fact; I am unable to dispute it with my own observations. One day, however, she said that my own father did not ever tell her that he loved her. And this one I was able to strongly refute. I lived in that house and remember very well that he told her aloud, every single day that he loved her. I remember the sweet names that he called her and the loving, affectionate things that he said constantly.
I suspect that my mom had so much negative chatter in her head at the time that she could not hear these wonderful things. I imagine that the same might be true regarding her experience with her father.
Everyone talks about living in the present. Appreciating the here and now. I strive to do it but am clearly setting up an internal roadblock to achieving that sought after objective. In this regard, I am my own worst enemy, indeed, my only enemy. I hold the key to serenity but am hiding it away, beneath layers of old dusty noise. The incessant chatter.
I have a colleague who shared with me a technique he employed once to try to clear out the irritating negative self-talk in his head. The noise reverberated while he was running in solitude. He decided that every time a negative thought emerged, he would laugh out loud. His logic being that the act of laughing would both interrupt the thought process and diminish its significance in his consciousness. He said that during his 3 mile run he was laughing aloud almost the whole way, but felt so much better at the end (aside from the fact that the other runners around him kept glancing nervously over their shoulders…).
In my quest to shed personal defects and replace them with behaviors that will permit me to live in the real present, not an artificial version that I create, I will need to adopt a method to minimize these pesky voices, verbally acknowledge the good incoming messages and respond in kind. Perhaps in time, acting in a new way will quiet the noise and allow me to see, feel and live in the true present.