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The Lunatic Inside Your Head

Life coachSeek forgiveness, not permission, the saying goes.

Well I actually took the opposite approach and asked for permission for what I’m about to do.

But I had no response, so if I get sued for copyright infringement, I’ll ask for forgiveness then I guess.

Sometimes I read something that encapsulates my thoughts on a subject so brilliantly that I realize I cannot improve on it and there’s little point trying.

That’s why I’ve been recommending Buddha’s Brain to so many people lately, because it does what I couldn’t do. And that’s why I will almost certainly be recommending The Untethered Soul by Michael A Singer.

I have scores of conversations with Life Coaching clients over the last 7 years regarding being kind to themselves and not taking their internal voices too seriously. Especially when, as it’s prone to do,  it’s giving them a hard time.

The stark reality is we all have internal conversation that would probably get us Baker Acted if they were out loud.

Seriously we do, but we’re not really nuts.

We’re just allowing our rather zealous, highly imaginative and worrisome unconscious mind take over proceedings without our conscious permission.

Over the years I’ve tried to explain this is in so many different ways both to clients and in blog posts about self compassion, but from now on I’m just going to refer people to the following passage in The Untethered Soul.

It behooves me to make it absolutely clear I did not write this, Michael Singer did, I merely wanted to share with you a piece of insightful writing

I’d encourage you to check out the book and the books website because even though I’m still only about a quarter of the way in, what I’ve read to date is astounding.

Thanks to my ex-client and friend Carl Harvey from Stars of Well-Being for sending me the book as a gift, I greatly appreciate it.

I have broken the paragraphs down for easier reading, but other than that, it’s as written in the book.

An Introduction To….The Untethered Soul

How would you feel of someone outside really started talking to you the way your inner voice does? How would you relate to a person who opened their mouth to say everything your mental voice says?

After a very short period of time you would tell them to leave and never come back. But when your inner friend continuously speaks up, you don’t ever tell it to leave. No matter how much trouble it causes, you listen.

There’s almost nothing that voice can say that you don’t pay full attention to. It pulls you right out of whatever you’re doing no matter how enjoyable, and suddenly  you’re paying attention to what it has to say.

Imagine that you are in a serious relationship and are about to get married. You’re driving to the wedding and it says,

“Maybe this is not the right person. I’m really getting nervous about this. What should I do?”

If someone outside of you said that, you’d ignore them. But you feel you owe the voice an answer. You have to convince your nervous mind that this is the right person, or it won’t let you walk down the isle.

That’s how much respect you have for this neurotic thing inside of you. You know if you don’t listen to it, it will bother you every day of your life:

“I told you not to get married. I said I wasn’t sure!”

The bottom line is undeniable. If somehow that voice managed to manifest in a body outside of you, and you had to take it with you everywhere you went, you wouldn’t last a day. If someone were to ask you what your new friend is like, you’d say:

This is one seriously disturbed person. Look up neurosis in the dictionary and you’ll get the picture.

That being the case once you’ve spent a day with your friend, what’s the probability you’d go to them for advice?

After seeing how often this person changed their mind, how conflicted they are on so many subjects, and how emotionally overactive they tended to be, would you ever ask them for relationship or financial advice?

As amazing as it seems, you do just that every moment of your life.

Having taken its rightful place back inside of you, it’s still the same “person” who tells you what to do about every aspect of your life. Have you ever bothered to check its credentials?

How many times has that voice been wrong?

“She doesn’t care for you anymore. That’s why she hasn’t called. She’s going to break up with you tonight. I can feel it coming; I just know it. You shouldn’t even answer the phone if she calls”

After 30 minutes of this the phone rings and it’s your girlfriend. She’s late because it’s your one year anniversary and she was preparing for a surprise dinner.

It was definitely a surprise to you, since you completely forgot the anniversary.

She says she’s on her way to pick you up. Well, you’re very excited and your inner voice is chatting about how great she is.

But haven’t you forgotten something? Haven’t you forgotten about the bad advice the inner voice gave you that caused you to suffer for the last half hour?

What if you had hired a relationship advisor who had given you that terrible advise?  They had completely misread the entire conversation. Had you listened to the advisor, you never would have picked up the phone.

Wouldn’t you fire them on the spot? How could you ever trust their advice again after seeing how wrong they were?

Well are you going to fire your inner room mate?

I would love to go on, but I think I’ll leave it at that. If this resonates with you as much as it did me maybe check out the book.

The links are affiliate links. However, I’m not recommending this for the 50 cents I may make if you buy, so if you’d rather have a non-affiliate link, here it is.

Are You A Newbie Life Coach, or Do Want To Become a Life Coach?

I’m looking to take on one person who is new to Life Coaching or wants to become a Life Coach and would like up to 12 months access to me as a mentor for no money down and no money to be paid later.

In other words, for free.

There are no catches, I just feel like it’s time to give back because I know how incredibly difficult it is for new Life Coaches.

I will let you know the criteria in a post next week, but in the meantime if you know anybody that you think would be interested, please let them know.

I say there will be no  catches, but that’s not technically true because the person who I will chose will have to be ferociously determined to make it in Life Coaching and not just see this offer as, “Well yeh it’s free, why not?”

Watch this space.

18 comments to The Lunatic Inside Your Head

  • I randomly stumbled across your site last night (so random, in fact, that I can’t remember how) but I’m *really* happy I did! This post… well, let’s just say if I can kick the extremely vocal little bastard in the nuts and shut him up for good I’d not only be happy, I’d be relieved. He’s driving me (and pretty much everyone else) batty!

    • And I’m glad you’re here too Keiti!

      How about hugging him rather than fighting with him? I’m guessing you have tried the kicking in the nuts approach without much success, so maybe now a new way of doing things is called for?

      • You’re probably right, Tim – I’ve pretty much always been an in-your-face kind of person, even as a kid. Working on that, actually, though I’ve discovered I’m not particularly adept at being squishy. If you think I’m hard on the lunatic, you should see what I do to myself. ‘Tis a veritable (and proverbial) bloodbath, I tell you. The journey continues… :-)

        • The lunatic IS you.

          Take it easy, I insist ;-)

          • I’m trying to – as with everyone I suspect I have my good days and my bad days. On a positive note, I’m also insisting other people treat me kindly as well. Big step for me in that I point blank told a family member that if she manipulated me or used me as a human punching bag again I would walk away. Not because I don’t love her or care about what she’s going through, but because I simply can’t tolerate it anymore. Maybe a small thing, but HUGE step for me. Might have just started WWIII, though.

  • Yes, I have this lunatic in my head. One thing I try to do is to Pause when I am not sure I agree with his advice. Then I try to compare it to my feelings, if his advice does connect with my feelings.

  • Lynn Hess

    Based on what you shared here, I checked out the website and read the excerpt from Chapter 15 he shares there. In the very first paragraph I saw this: “People tend to burden themselves with so many choices. But, in the end, you can throw it all away and just make one basic, underlying decision: Do you want to be happy, or do you not want to be happy? It’s really that simple. Once you make that choice, your path through life becomes totally clear.”

    I ordered the book immediately. (And through your link, too, so enjoy the 50 cents!)

    Thanks for the recommendation. I can’t WAIT to read this one!

  • There’s definitely a lunatic in my head and lately it has been on the megaphone chattering incesantly. My loony friend is trying to help me make a BIG decision and work through a BIG change in life and they want to make sure I have considered every single angle from every far fetched possibility. The advice is sometimes interesting, but so far not particularly rational or useful.

    Luckily I have learnt to laugh along and enjoy the company as I carry on regardless, my lunatic jibbering away beside me.

    Now my body, that is a whole other friend and so much more wise and clearly spoken. I have learnt to listen to that friend more closely and although I don’t always understand, it finds a way to get through in the end.

  • Thanks for sharing this Tim,
    We all have the lunatic inside of us. Make the time to listen there may be some good advice to be had.
    be good to yourself

  • I have quite the strategy for dealing with the lunatic in my head: laughter. When I notice that voice talking crap to me, I laugh at it. Mind you, I don’t laugh aloud at myself in public places. That might get the whole me locked away as a lunatic. LOL. I simply chuckle in my head. “What a busy little bee you are,” I might say. It doesn’t always work, but it’s usually more effective than buying into the drama. Another thing I’ve tried is just imagining that this “lunatic” is a scared child. In that case, I imagine myself being comforting and understanding. Either way, it keeps me from being consumed by something that doesn’t serve me. All of this, of course, depends upon me actually realizing what my mind is doing before I get too sucked into it.

  • Oh, we’re talking about this crazy girl that shares my hairstyle? Well, I can call her a lots of things but i have to admit that she is rarely wrong. I thinks she just talks out loud all the stuff I’m trying to forget about.

  • Just bought this on Kindle. Will make a start on it over the weekend.