I live alone. Of course there’s Hank, but he doesn’t really count. He swears a lot, especially when I don’t throw the ball often enough or feed him on schedule. His conversation skills are limited in that way. So I end up having conversations with myself. And I’ve learned much from these talks.
Specifically, I’ve discovered that the voice in my head has a tone to it. I didn’t know this until I found myself in this season of isolation. Here’s a little example:
You did what
These three words have no punctuation, nor non verbal cues or tone of voice to add meaning to them. Words left alone in the dictionary are inert. And it is impossible to leave them that way. As soon as I pick up a word, I add to it, simply by using my voice.
These three words could be a question.
You did what? I have no idea what you just did.
They could be a clarification:
You did what? Say again. I didn’t hear you.
They could be a shock
You did what!!! Unbelievable.
By adding a few punctuation marks, the meaning changes, but you still read them with the voice in your head. You put your own spin, your own history, your own bias onto the words presented. This is my new discovery
The voice in my head often has two predominant tones.
An imperative mood. It tells me YOU NEED TO DO THIS NOW, even when that task or activity isn’t pressing.
And it’s a voice that isn’t always kind. YOU COULD HAVE DONE A MUCH BETTER JOB THAN THAT. It’s hard not to agree when it sounds so authoritative like this.
The advantage of this season of having this much time alone is the opportunity to hear voices that are true and right. When the Voice in My Head says “It’s OK, son. Everything will be alright.” I like the sound of that much better.
Now when I’m in doubt, I listen for the kindest voice in my head and follow that one.