Do you ever suffer from ruminating thoughts? These are the voices in your head that judge you, beat you up, or tell you you that you will never be good enough. Sound familiar?
We do everything we can to get rid of them, to hide from them or stop them. We eat, drink, drug, binge on Netflix, go out with friends — we try anything to gain some peace through distraction. But when we are in our private moments alone, the voices come back and they can get loud!
What can we do to stop them?
I have a counterintuitive solution to this ruminating thought problem that just might help. Here’s what you do:
Listen to what the voices are saying!
I pop out the energy of the voice that is inside of me and allow it to speak to me directly. It might sound strange if you’re new to the process, but give it a shot: develop an image of what that part of you looks like. Close your eyes and tune into it. Is it a human form or an energy blob? What color is it? How old does it look? Let it speak, and know that your only job is to listen. What does it need you to know or to hear? It may yell and scream and that’s all OK. Be present, be an observer, and don’t take it personally.
Ruminating thoughts are small parts inside us with something big to say. The act of putting a persona to these voices, identifying and characterizing them, allows us to better relate to them, particularly when there are many voices we have to hear in turn.
After I listen to that part of me, I let it know that I appreciate all that it has done and is doing for me. I thank it gratefully. Then, I let it know that I am here to help, I'm ready to take over, and that I have the situation handled. I’ve got this now.
Remember, the part of us that is ruminating is like a kid poking you for your attention. It wants you to know something. Instead of shunning that kid and pushing it out of your way, listen to it and respond lovingly. Let the kid know that your adult self is finally ready to take over.
These parts inside of us that ruminate are typically the emotional age of a 12-year-old. They come from the egoic/mind part of us that I call our Adolescent Chair. How would you respond to a 12-year-old that desperately wants you to know something?
What I have found is that once we listen to these parts of us that carry such urgent messages, they transform. They shrink. They get quiet and even disappear.
When we can remember that the objective of the urgent voice is to keep us safe, how can we possibly be upset? Be patient, sit in your Adult Chair, become present with that voice and watch what happens to the ruminating thoughts. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
For more information on what to do with your ruminating thoughts and the parts of us that don’t speak kindly to us, listen to episode 38 of The Adult Chair Podcast: Who is sitting in my Adolescent Chair?