Recently, I came across one of my granddaughter’s old books, titled “Inside Out.” It reminded me that we employ different inside and outside voices (and faces) depending on where we are or who we’re with. Often, we’re completely immersed in our material realities, not observing ourselves from the inside out. Sometimes we don’t even acknowledge the parts of us patiently sitting behind the curtain while we act out different life scenes. When my daughters were young, we talked about using “inside” and “outside” voices.
As adults, we use different “voices,” contingent on our situations.
Your “work voice” depends on your position and could be anything from strong and in-control to near-silent and submissive. There’s the voice used when talking to someone you care about and the one you use when you’re angry or being confrontational. There are quiet expressions when you’re sad, frightened, or vulnerable, and there can be voices that want to be heard but are repeatedly silenced. Our language becomes patterned. We sometimes forget that there are other ways to share information and feelings.
You can hear your authentic inner voice if you choose to listen. The still part of us—call it spirit, intuition, or stream of consciousness—is often “turned off” so that we don’t have to acknowledge what we don’t want to hear. In addition to verbalization, there are “inside” and “outside” faces too. Appearances can be deceiving, can’t they? Do you ever have challenging days when the last thing you want to do is put on your “game face” and interact with people, but you still do it? You probably appear perfectly calm to the observer, but a storm’s brewing inside.
Often, we simply “play the role” we believe we’ve been assigned. 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 the charade of a loving family is played out publicly. Others aren’t always honest about their feelings for fear of changing a relationship’s dynamics, so they stay quiet, wearing the “my life is amazing” mask, pretending everything’s perfect. (I’ve been guilty of that.) It’s easy to get caught up playing roles we believe the world expects of us, wearing our “outside faces,” and often losing sight of who we are inside.
Questions to 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 myself?
Determine which of your voices best resonates with your spirit. If your life is playing out like different characters in novels—depending on the performance you’re in—but never gets to its 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. You’ve taken a massive step into a life filled with peace and joy when you’ve achieved that. And you, as you know, deserve that!