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If you're not sure... say it out loud.

I was 1 half of a failed business partnership a while back. I was postpartum, stressed out, lost, feeling like a total stranger to myself. The partnership lasted about a year, the business stalled and then just disappeared. To this day… I still have arguments in my head with my business partner about how it ended. You know, those arguments that you play over and over in your head in the shower, washing dishes, trying (and failing) to sleep at night. Those arguments that you replay over and over until you win, but you don’t actually feel any better or like you’ve won anything…?

Well… funny thing. I was in my kitchen today, filling my water bottle in preparation for a meeting I’ve been looking forward to since I had this same meeting last week… and it started. I was sitting there filling my 64oz water bottle that tells me I’m doing a “great job!”, which takes forever because the water from my fridge is painfully slow, and I heard that voice in my head. That mean voice, the voice of my ex-business partner saying really hurtful things and defending her side and making me the villain… and it hit me.

It's not her voice.

It’s my voice.

She’s not in my head. These arguments never happened. I’ve known this person for two decades and never once has she ever, or would she ever, say the things that my head was making her say. Things didn’t actually end badly. Yeah, we weren’t a good fit to work together and, in retrospect, I was in NO shape to be starting anything new right after having a baby. And, yeah, the process of realizing that it wasn’t going to work was ROUGH… but it wasn’t BAD. And we’re still friends, we see each other sometimes and chat and it’s good. And yet, I still replay these arguments. New arguments. Arguments that never existed outside of my head. Because it’s not her voice that’s saying mean things and making me feel horrible….

… it’s my voice.

… it’s always, only ever been my voice.

And there I stood, still filling the damn water bottle and I knew I just had to say it out loud. To make it real. To feel it.

“It’s not her voice, it’s my voice.”

“It’s not her voice, it’s my voice.”

“It’s not her voice, it’s my voice.”

By about the fourth time I said it, I actually felt a physical weight lifting off my chest. It was incredible. And honest. And freeing. And, of course, I ran upstairs to my computer to write all this down. And as soon as I’m done here, I’m going to say it some more. Because saying it out loud makes it real.

Our brains are amazing. Our brains are capable of beautiful, wild, wonderful, miraculous things. Our brains are also capable of building huge, terrifying falsehoods that loom over us for YEARS as if they were actually real. But they’re not. And the quickest way to test if something is real or not is to say it out loud. Next time you hear that voice in your head, the voice your brain is telling you belongs to someone else… stop and think. Reality check. And say the things that your brain is telling you out loud. In your own voice. Listen and ask yourself, is this something that person would say? Or is this me? Is this me telling myself I’m supposed to feel bad because I deserve it.

“It’s not her voice, it’s my voice.”

Because I have no control over what my ex-business partner thinks or feels or says, but I ABSOLUTELY DO have control over what I think or say to myself and how it affects me.

In this case, I am not a victim. I am learning. And I will say it out loud as many times as I need to until I believe it.


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