Just Listen

But I know just what it feels like
To have a voice in the back of my head
It’s like a face that I hold inside
A face that awakes when I close my eyes
A face watches every time I lie
A face that laughs every time I fall
-Linkin Park, Papercut

I constantly wonder at how naive I am. How flawed. How incapable. How narcissistic – look at how many of my posts begin with “I” !

I really am quite insecure.

We all have a voice inside that mocks us for trying, erodes our confidence, and holds us back. When we give into that voice, we become lost, always turning back on ourselves and second-guessing our choices, our appearance, even our own character. We can become convinced that, at our hearts, we are just crappy people. It is the voice of insecurity. Of paranoia. It is our greatest critic.

Sometimes, I wish I could eradicate that voice entirely. And yet, there’s something surgical and heartless about silencing it entirely. While it is a painful voice to give into, pain has its own purpose.

The voice of insecurity is also the source of our greatest strength.

What we take from our critics, including our inner critics, is up to us. So listen intently. Feel the sharp pain of inadequacy. Hunt for your fears in the dark of the night – do not let them find you first. And when you listen to them speak, you will hear them tell Truth. They will tell the stories of what makes you who you are. And they will look to you for the endings to those stories. But first…

Just listen.

This is my greatest failure of character – the inability to listen and understand. The inability to listen to and understand my own emotions has sabotaged relationships and organizational undertakings. The inability to listen to and understand other people has resulted in stunted friendships and burned bridges.

The inability to truly listen to and understand someone when they’re hurt is the worst of all. Because without that understanding, there’s no way to know how to help, or even if there is a way to help.

So help me, for I have failed you. The voice inside says I’m not good enough today. And so I will rise and fail again, tomorrow.

I’m listening.

  • “How narcissistic – look at how many of my posts begin with “I” !”

    It’s a blog. You’re entitled.

    “I really am quite insecure.”

    It’s so weird hearing that from the guy that has enough courage to go live out of his car for weeks on end.

    “Sometimes, I wish I could eradicate that voice entirely. And yet, there’s something surgical and heartless about silencing it entirely. While it is a painful voice to give into, pain has its own purpose.

    The voice of insecurity is also the source of our greatest strength.”

    IMHO, the voice you refer to consists, roughly speaking, of two parts. The first part is awareness of one’s own faults. This is good, because it allows us to improve. The second part is an attendant emotional harshness, the kind of thing that causes feelings of “I suck and I’ll always suck” rather than “I can improve”. Strip away the second part, and keep the first part.

    “The inability to listen to and understand my own emotions has sabotaged relationships and organizational undertakings. ”

    Hm, yeah emotions are tricky things sometimes. I can’t tell you how much time I’ve spent figuring out my own thoughts and emotions. But it’s time well spent, believe me.

    We should talk sometime.

    • “I suck and I always suck” is there to prove it wrong