life stuff / writing

The Voices In Our Heads by Claire Hennessy

Hello everyone! This is my first post for the very cool and shiny Girls Heart Books, which I’ve been following ever since it began. And I’m a little anxious, a little nervous – which is a fairly normal state of affairs for me. It takes very little to send me down the path of feeling inadequate. Not good enough. A pretender.nothingtastes_3

We all have these voices in our heads, I think – in fact, my latest book, Nothing Tastes As Good, brings the critical voice-in-your-head to life with its narrator, Annabel, who is incredibly judgemental (and troubled!) – and much as I would like to be completely zen about everything now that I am A Proper Grown-Up, I am not.

Here are some of the things the mean voices in my head tell me:

You’re ugly.

You’re stupid.

You’re a bad friend.

You’re a bad writer.

You’re fat and disgusting.

You’re a terrible human being.

You’re boring.

You’re lazy.

You’re completely talentless.

You will never achieve anything important.

You’re not as good as This Other Person/Friend/Writer.

Sometimes it’s very easy to tell the voices to shut up. Other times it’s harder to shout them down.

“I am smart.”

“I am funny.”

“I am a good friend.”

“I am a good writer and always trying to be better.”

“I work hard.”

“There is no point in comparing myself to anyone else.”

“There is no point in comparing my insides to everyone else’s outsides.”

Why does it feel harder to say kind things about yourself? We worry about sounding arrogant or full of ourselves. We worry that the mean voices are right. We worry that we’re not allowed like ourselves.

But if a friend was saying those mean things to themselves we would immediately reassure them. We would understand that they feel insecure but also reassure them that they are kind and good people who we like and want to spend time with and think well of. It’s easier to be nicer to other people.

So, lovely readers: tell me one thing you like about yourselves. One thing you are proud of. Maybe it’s a talent or skill you have – the ability to paint well, or to kick a ball really far. Maybe it’s something in your personality – that you have a good sense of humour, or notice when other people are a bit quiet and need to be asked if they’re okay, or you come up with great ideas. Maybe you really like your smile or the colour of your hair or how much you enjoy dancing.

Let’s shut those mean voices up for a little bit and let the kind-friend voices have their say.

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