We all get to choose the voices we listen to.
That angel on one shoulder, devil on the other imagery...it seems like an appropriate picture for a woman's life when it comes to the battle of those voices and confidence within ourselves.
I have been reflecting on the voices lately, after receiving evaluations from a parish event I spoke at last year. There were many wonderful things said, comments that used words like "inspiring" "moving" and "wonderful." Then there were the few that followed, saying, "She was so boring, I couldn't wait until she left the stage"..."Her talk was just awful and she looked SO tired!!!"
People have said far worse things about me in my life, but my reaction to this made me pause to think about those voices we listen to. A few years ago, I was a woman who tended toward the habit of letting these negative things said about me shape what I thought of myself. After much prayer and thought, I have been consciously attempting to reconfigure the impact I allow negative comments or thoughts to have on me, and immediately recognized in that moment that I would normally think about the 5 terribly critical comments all day, rather than the 40 great ones. I would over think...how could I have made it less boring for those people, why did I look tired, how could I have made it more engaging, are my talks really that bad, am I reaching anyone? I would not be able to get past the bad that someone said about me to dwell on the good.
It is what some of us as women do. You can hear 50 people affirm you through a season of your life...but in one brief moment one woman says something terribly mean about you and you cannot navigate around it loud in your head. Are you a woman who listens to the 50 or are you a woman who cannot get around the one?
The beautiful part, as in everything, is that we get to choose. So I chose. I took it in stride and decided to continue trying to improve my talks as I do after every event, but I decided to listen to the positives. Instead of dwelling on the disheartening ones, I chose to focus on the "wonderful" and "inspiring" and allow those to help me remember that as I continually grow, I am having a positive impact on people and that I must keep going.
And so I pose the question to you today...which voices do you listen to? Can you allow the positive things people have spoken into your heart be your guide, instead of letting the negative ones shape your self-talk and the decisions you make? Give the positive voices the power. Take the negative voices in stride. Learn, grow, and change. Dwell on affirmation. Listen to Love.