Suppose you had a roommate who constantly scrutinized and critiqued your every move starting with the moment you got out of bed: “You should have gotten up earlier. Are you ignoring today’s schedule? Your hair’s a mess . . . as usual. Don’t forget to contact Jonathan today. He expects a call, you know. You’re such a slacker.”
How long would you continue to live with such a roommate? Briefly. You’d throw that person out on the street in no time flat!
That’s what Michael Singer, in his book The Untethered Soul, believes we would do. But . . . BUT . . . he points out an exception. We’re not very likely to boot out the roommate who takes up residence in our head—our “inner roommate.” Our inner roommate says all the same things as any given external—actual—roommate . . . and more! We’re told what to do, what to fear, what to second-guess, and how to think about this person or that person.
Not only does our roommate devote its time to judging us, it judges everybody we know and everybody who streams on and off our path throughout the day.
According to Singer, “It has something to say about everything you look at: ‘I like it. I don’t like it. This is good. That’s bad.’ It just talks and talks. You don’t generally notice because you don’t step back from it. You’re so close that you don’t realize that you’re actually hypnotized into listening to it.”
I can only agree. Call it a dictator we bow and pay homage to. We listen to it and give it more power and authority than it should have. I discussed this very thing with two of my clients, Dawn and Doug. You can read about our sessions by clicking here.
“There’s almost nothing that voice can say that you don’t pay full attention to,” Singer states. “It pulls you right out of whatever you’re doing, no matter how enjoyable, and suddenly you’re paying attention to whatever it has to say . . . . That’s how much respect you have for this neurotic thing inside of you.”
Singer’s correct. We honor it over our own will, in fact. And therein lies the key to change and freedom. We must switch our allegiance from our inner roommate to our will.
“Your will is stronger than the habit of listening to that voice.”
The first step in accomplishing that is to become aware of its existence. The very act of awareness sets you apart from the voice and places you in the role of observer versus blind captive. As an observer, you have control. As your roommate babbles on, you critique it rather than the other way around. And in the process, you think and act on your own beliefs, tastes, and opinions. You determine your own course of action.
Identify with the true you … the observer.
Names are changed to honor client confidentiality.
17 responses to “Meet Your Roommate”
My inner “roommate” causes a lot of issues in my life. I have been working on shutting it off but it’s so hard. I hear “you’re too fat” “you’re a terrible mother” “nobody likes you” “you’re not good enough”. I’ve gotten better at pushing those thoughts down but I have certain things and people that I let rattle me. They get in my head. The logical, adult me tells me I’m being silly but my child sometimes takes over. Life is too short to let my “roommate” talk to me like that.
I like that … I really like that. Especially the last line. Got a chuckle. Thanks, Alissa!
Could you imagine if every time our inner voice (which we assume is OUR mind) spoke to us? We would step back and take a deep breath to analyze what was really being said. I actually don’t think many of us would believe it as truth.
The ego ( guilt, fear, jealousy, shame, etc.) is really overrated and needs somewhere else to live. I wonder if there is enough room in the land fill ?
Hmmm … some thought-food. Thanks. And that land fill idea… great solution! Let’s talk the real estate developers into coming up with something to hold them all. 🙂
I think the hardest step is realizing we have choice. That realization frees the will.
So very, very true. Thanks Don.
I have been aware of the negative voice in my head lately. When I become aware of it, I start chanting I am ok, I am ok… The other voice becomes background muttering. Pretty awesome, I would love to send the voice packing too.
Clever idea. Thanks, Tina!
We all have stress filled busy lives and this stress can take its toll on our health. Positive self talk will help set the tone for optimistic thinking. Positive self talk will flow into the rest of our lives reducing the pessimism and negativity that corrupts every aspect of our lives; work, home, relationships. This all leads to stress.
Health benefits that positive thinking may provide include:
Increased life span
Lower rates of depression
Lower levels of distress
Greater resistance to the common cold
Better psychological and physical well-being
Reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress
We all could stand less stress and better health. Love yourself, you are beautiful.
Helpful info! Thanks Paula
My inner roommate and I have such a colorful past. For years I listened and believed every word as truth. It wasn’t until I heard something that smacked me upside the head that I began doubting. Perhaps it was on Oprah or maybe it was my very wise best friend that said, “You would NEVER say that to someone else or even let someone say those things to you.” I believe hearing that opened my eyes. The negative voice should have no place to stay. Kick it out!
Such a WOW that is! Thanks Jennifer:)
Having read the book myself, this succinctly conveyed its most powerful message. This whole concept has really changed the way I look at the events that unfold around me. I am finally able to let go of things in my past that I never thought I would be able to. I realize now just how rewarding that can be. It lightens your soul. However, I know it will take a lot of will to fully heal.
Hello everybody . . . meet my 15-yr-old granddaughter. I keep being amazed by her!
I like this quote and it sort of goes along with this article. Here it is: If there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you. – African Proverb
I so LOVE that. Thanks!
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