Recently, I came across one of my granddaughter’s old books, titled “Inside Out,” and it reminded me that we use different inside and outside faces and voices, depending on where we are or who we’re with. We don’t observe ourselves from the outside in or think about ourselves from the inside out very often. Sometimes we don’t even acknowledge the parts of ourselves that are patiently sitting behind the curtain while we act out different scenes of our lives.
When my daughters were young, we talked about “inside” and “outside” voices. Obviously, that had to do with how loud they were inside the house or outside playing with friends. As adults, we use different “voices,” too, contingent on the situations we’re in. There’s the voice you use at work, and depending on your position, that could be anything from strong and in-control to near-silent and submissive. There’s the voice you use when you talk to someone you care about, and the one you use when you’re angry or being confrontational. There’s a quiet voice that’s used when you’re sad, scared, or weak, and there’s a voice that wants to be heard but is silenced. There’s the inner voice we hear if we’re willing to listen; the still part of us—call it spirit, intuition or stream of consciousness—that we often try to “turn off” so that we don’t have to deal with what we don’t want to hear. As adults, the voices we adopt become patterns. We sometimes forget that there are other ways to share information and feelings.
In addition to verbal communication, there are “inside” and “outside” faces too. Appearances can be deceiving, can’t they? Have you ever had a really challenging day when the last thing you wanted to do was put on your “game face” and interact with people, but you still do it? To the observer, you probably appear perfectly calm, but inside, a storm’s brewing.
Often, we simply “play the role” we believe we’ve been assigned to. Many partners fight daily (or suffer in stony silence) at home, but, in the outside world, look like “the perfect couple!” Some children are verbally abused by their parents every day, but in public, a charade of a loving family is played out. Others aren’t honest with friends about how they really feel, for fear of changing the relationship’s dynamics, so they stay quiet, wearing the “my life is amazing” face, pretending everything’s perfect. It’s so easy to get caught up playing the roles we think the world expects of us—wearing our outside faces—that we often lose sight of who we are inside.
What answers do you get when you ask yourself:
- Am I a spectator in my life, or am I an active participant?
- How am I using my voice?
- Do my friends and the people I live with really know me?
- Do I know who I am?
Try to determine which of your voices and appearances, best resonate with your spirit.
If you live like different characters in a novel—depending on the performance you’re in—but never get to be your genuine self, you miss out on much of what life wants you to have.
A home that’s full of peace requires inhabitants who can be themselves. Allow your inside faces and voices to align with your outside faces and voices. When you’ve achieved that, you’ve taken a massive step into a life filled with peace and joy. And you deserve that!
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