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  • Writer's pictureAudrey Oxenhorn, MSW

The Voice Underneath

It is becoming very apparent, as we continue in our pandemic state of being, that we need to become acquainted with our inner voice. Right now, the outer and inner voices are in conflict. I feel like the outer voice is the social programmed response that we have been taught from birth. The responses are usually automatic and without much emotion. Nothing shifts, we stay disconnected and move on. And it has served us well. It’s a habit that we have used that has kept us feeling safe and protected.

The underneath voice is the response that is direct, clear, and often with fewer words. It is spoken after we take a breath and consider what we really want. It is often a request from our heart and gut. Sometimes we don’t have the right words and it is challenging to articulate. This will change as we shift to this new habit.

I have noticed in my sessions, that my clients are unaccustomed to directness and truth-telling. Often, they have agreed to counseling so that they can feel a little better since they are so uncomfortable. Recently, in an initial interview, a prospective client told me that she is unhappy with her life but happy with whom she is. She said that “I do not want to change too much”. It almost felt like a dare. The underlying message was that you can tell me what you want me to do but keep it minimal and make my pain go away.

At that moment, I realized that this is an untenable situation for both of us. If you want to experience significant shifts in your life, then prepare to experience a noticeable change in all areas. For example:

You might start feeling physically stronger

You might start sleeping better

You might be more creative

You might see a dramatic shift in your appearance.

You might start thinking more clearly

My practiced social voice is I can help you do that without really changing. My underneath voice says that won’t work. I realized that my underneath voice is tentative for many reasons including:

I want to help

I want to work and have a steady income

I want people to like me

I know how to do this

I am afraid...

My underneath voice is getting clearer as I write this blog. As I thought about these two voices, I understood that it takes both sides to perpetuate the socially acceptable interactions. So If I am serious about using my underneath voice then I will have to consistently and consciously say in my initial interview what is true about this process for myself and my clients.

Before you ask for what you want, take a pause, breathe and reach for the request that resonates with your heart and gut. Be clear, use fewer words, speak directly and stay true to your inner vision. I believe that most people want to hear the underneath voice…

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