Understanding the Negative and Positive Inner Voice
We have have always called our dual inner voice our conscience. We have seen depictions of it in cartoons and a devil and an angel on our shoulders whispering into our ears. In the cartoons, the main character always follows the angel and the devil gets sent packing but in reality we know it’s not always so cut and dry. Unless something pings harshly against our morals, we are more likely to go with the devil character because the choices it gives are always easier. It becomes easier to make an informed mental decision when you understand better the roles that these two voices actually play.
Negative Inner Voice
Since I like to end things on a positive note, we will start on this voice perceived as negative. We think of this voice as negative because it tempts us to do the things we actually do not want to do or with the options that we do not want to consider. It is not actually a negative voice per say. What it is is controlled by our primitive hind brain which functions almost fully on Survival Instincts. To a brain which only cares about surviving and nothing else, our little dreams and goals mean nothing to it. These dreams and goals do not ensure our survival. They are just extra work that this already busy brain has to do. This is why when presented with two options do the right thing or do the easier thing, we are more likely to choose the easier.
Taken Unaware by Negative Inner Voice
This is of course a person who is not aware of the influences at play. A person with a higher moral compass or who has been practicing discipline most of their lives can shut down the sweet whisperings of temptation of that hind brain. It’s an older brain. It’s had more time to perfect it’s craft so the unsuspecting of us give in to it’s siren call without even noticing
Scenario : Person on a diet is presented with the option to consume copious amounts of high calorie chocolate. The Instinct controlled voice will send them pictures of the chocolate attached with emotions of happiness. Memories of the last time they indulged and how much they loved it.
A person who is not aware of what is happening might listen to the reasoning brain once but the instinctive brain knows that they do not know what forces they are up against and so it will wait a few minutes after that no and send it again and again until the person finds themselves moving towards the thing that they did not want to. It can feel like an invisible rope dragging them to their doom, hence siren song.
What is happening
The next time you are faced with seemingly irresistible temptation, look at what the temptation is. This hind brain is control primarily by our survival instincts. Survival instincts are solely there to keep us alive. Eat, sleep, stay away from danger. That is all it cares about. Everything else is unimportant.
When presented with that temptation, it is usually something that is counter productive to the demands of our survival instincts. Most people think that our instincts only kick in when we are in danger but in reality, they affect every decision we make. A person who wants to achieve but is stuck doing a minimum wage job is a slave to his or her survival instincts. Achieving has nothing to do with surviving and so it is unimportant to this instinct.
I want to be healthier – This means you will be doing vigorous exercises which is extra work. You will try to restrict your calories which goes against the food functions of instincts and not only that you will try to cut out high calorie and sugary foods which the brain craves. This means this primitive brain will send you obstructions to these requirements.
Very Important Distinction to Make
Here is the important thing though. These obstructions while strong only come in the beginning. It is a primitive brain after all. The more you deny it, the more it will start to think that the thing you actually want is what it wants. Eventually it will start sending you messages to do the thing you actually want to do. Eat more vegetables. Drink more water. Get up and exercise.
The hind brain is primitive but powerful. I like to think of it like a data center. Lots of power but bulky. It likes to think that it is in charge but actually the truth is that the Reasoning brain rules. The problem is that the Reasoning Brain is newer in comparison to the Primitive Brain and so it’s not sure yet how to give orders to the Primitive Brain and the primitive brain tries to bully and intimidate it. All it’s gotta do is stand up for itself.
Positive Inner Voice
The positive inner voice is controlled by the Reasoning brain. This is the frontal hemisphere where our consciousness, awareness, focus, values and morals live. This is the part of us where we feel and think and dream and aspire. We give it a desire like I want to be healthy and it coaches us based on what that means to us as individuals.
The reasoning brain has evolved to be the master of the ship. But think of it as being basically fresh out of college and given command of a … a warehouse of big burly men in their forties. The stubborn kind of men who do what they want and don’t want to listen to a kid. In fact that kid has all the authority but it is hesitant to give orders and so the men in that warehouse kind of walk all over this kid. When the kid says lets cut out chocolate from the menu because head office said it wants to be healthier. The burly men say no, let’s keep eating chocolate because the sugar gives energy. This is why the positive voice always seems to be represented as weak.
We give that voice it’s message and reminders to us. We tell it we want it to do these things and it follows through, but if we have never practiced discipline, that hind brain will just walk all over our goals.
The “negative” voice is your survival instincts holding you back from achieving what you want. Your “positive” voice is your reasoning brain attempting to help you reach the goals that you desire.
You can change that negative voice into a positive one simply by denying it every time it rares it’s head. That constant denial turns it around to helping the positive voice and you achieve inner harmony. Can you remember a time when everything just worked the way it should? Where on the inside everything was just quiet and felt right? That is inner harmony. The problem is that because most people aren’t aware of the constant battle, a lot of people rarely feel that inner serenity because they unwittingly give in without a fight.
Of course it’s not that simple a thing to do. Remember the instinctive voice is a literal siren song. Sometimes you give in without even realizing that you are moving towards the “wrong thing.”
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic! Share it in a comment below or if it is mor private in nature, you can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org