We all have that internal voice that speaks to us. Sometimes it can be helpful and be a guiding force in what choice to make in a situation. Other times it can be a running dialog of unhelpful chatter in our head that keeps us from making a decision.
Is your internal voice filled with negative and judgmental statements about you? Are you thinking about all of the ways that you screwed up or didn’t live up to expectations? I don’t know about you, but my internal voice at 2am is frequently quite negative and unhelpful. It confuses me, plays tricks on me, makes me doubt decisions and heightens my already insecure sense of myself. That voice that won’t stop beating up on you comes from a deeply insecure place and rarely has any real truth to share. Learning to know the difference between an internal voice that stems from deep seated fear versus helpful instinct is an important skill to learn.
Have you ever made the leap to talk to someone about your internal conversations? You gather up the courage to tell a good friend what you have been thinking and the minute it comes out of your mouth you realize how extreme and negative your thinking has been? We can easily tell ourselves unhelpful and catastrophic “facts” about our situation to justify our behavior. But when those thoughts are allowed to be heard by another in the light of the day, they instantly are recognizable as excuses and justifications. Perhaps that is why we avoid talking about our thoughts at times so that we don’t get that reality check from another.
Catastrophizing the situation is a common internal process. We go down the rabbit hole of deciding if we don’t make this relationship work, we will never find love again. We excuse behavior we know to be incompatible to our needs, and let our loneliness begin to convince us to make another choice. If the relationship has broken up for good reasons that we know to be true, these internal voices in the wee hours of the night are frequently designed to poke holes in the facts to allow us to doubt ourselves. This voice want us to stop feeling lonely. It begs us to just do something because we are hurting and sad. There is rarely much rational thinking from this inner voice, but rather a response to pain and insecurity.
Talking with a friend, family member or therapist about these conflicting thoughts will help you figure out what is true for you. Are you moving toward trying the relationship again out of doubts and insecurity or a well thought out plan that takes into consideration why the relationship didn’t work in the first place.
Too often we consider the pain from a breakup as a sign that we need to do something about the relationship, when it fact, it is an expected result after an ending. Are we being honest with ourselves about how we feel about the other person? Has anything changed to make us think things will be different this time? Are both you and the ex willing to do the hard work necessary to avoid slipping right back into old habits that led to the breakup in the first place?
This is a time to trust those close to you as our thinking can get a bit muddy when we are in pain. All we want is for the loneliness to end, and we will do anything to make it stop. Talking out loud to another about our real reasons for the breakup and what we are looking for in a relationship will keep us honest with ourselves and help us avoid moving backwards.
Isolating and keeping these thoughts to ourselves can help us keep rational thoughts at bay and allow us to make decisions based on short term gain instead of long term goals. Be careful with your decision making during this time and let others help guide you so you can avoid making choices out of fear, loneliness or sadness. Ask yourself what is really true for you and try to avoid letting the pain influence the decision. Too often we let our insecurities drive our decision making in the moment without a clear thought about how to make sure we are taking care of what we really need.
Ask yourself what would be different if I chose a new path? Am I prepared to do the work required to look honestly at my role in the relationship’s breakdown and challenge my ex to do the same? Are we compatible where it matters most? Do we have the same values? Can I see a new way with this person without the conflict that caused the end? Are we good together?
Lean on others you trust to challenge you to be honest, be clear and to make decisions that are good for both you and your ex. Avoid emotional and impulsive decisions made after a poor night’s sleep or when you feel at your lowest. Both of you deserve a relationship that is based on a solid desire to be with another out of love and dedication, not pain and loneliness.