It’s hard to ignore that voice, isn’t it? It’s strident at times, but mostly it’s low, almost soothing. It can also take on the voice of someone you know, or sound like a stranger. A few times it sounds like someone you admire, many times it feels like the person you hate most is whispering in your ear.
It’s that old teacher who wrote you off,
that old classmate who never got what you were about,
that relative who ignored you.
What exactly do you hear?
“What you’re doing doesn’t matter.”
“You’ll never make it.”
“It’s too late.”
“Anybody can do what you’re doing.”
“Nobody likes the way you do things.”
“It’s just art. It won’t feed you.”
“Your idea sounds cool, but it’ll never take off.”
“I’ve heard it all before.”
“Stick to something that’s been proven to work.”
“Don’t dream too big. It’s hard to deal with disappointment.”
No matter what we’ve done, how far we’ve gotten, we always choose to listen to that voice.
We know what we’re doing makes a difference, because someone said so. But when we’re alone, we start doubting again, and the voice becomes louder, “It’s only a few who think that way, most people don’t care.” And we agree.
A few days ago someone said something that’s stuck in my head. And no matter how hard I try to get rid of those words, they’re lodged in my brain. I even dreamed about them. And from my head seeps a poison that’s flowing down to my heart, and I’m wanting nothing to do with the person. And I started promising myself that one day I’ll show him/her how wrong he/she was. And he/she will be sorry and his/her words will fall away into oblivion and I will finally be happy and content.
Except I know it won’t happen that way…
Because this has happened before. And what I thought would be my victory was marred by the bitterness that took root on that long ago day when another person said something that put me down.
So this time I’m trying really hard to get that voice out of my head. And I’m stopping the poison from spreading too far. It’s hard, but it’s what I have to do. And maybe you do too.
Because if we don’t, we only end up hurting ourselves.