Our virtual tour company specializes hotel photography and behavioral healthcare virtual tours because I have a background in the behavioral health field. In my work with mental health patients, I have met many who hear voices either through psychosis or schizophrenia. To them the voices in their head are absolutely real and no amount of persuasion will convince them otherwise.
This should not surprise the rest of us because we all hear voices in our heads — the only difference between a “sane” person and a schizophrenic is that we get to choose which voices we listen to. I find that it is very important for me to filter the voices I hear by choosing what I listen to, what thoughts I allow to reside in my mind, what I choose to read and watch on TV and who I allow to speak into my life.
What I listen to matters! I recently changed the iTunes playlist that I listen to when I run and amazingly, my speed and went up by over a minute per mile immediately. I chose my songs not only based on cadence (beats per minute) but also based on message. My playlist includes song titles like I Choose, Don’t Waste Your Life, Born to Fly, Courageous, Oh Happy Day, This is How It Feels to Be Free, and my favorite – Strength Courage and Wisdom. This is important not just while I am running but also throughout the day.
Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t– you’re right.” Choosing which thoughts I allow to reside in my head does not mean that I don’t have doubts, fears and insecurities but rather that I choose not to dwell on them. The Bible tells us to take every thought captive and that is a conscious effort. Whether it is running a race or running our virtual tour business, there are lots of voices telling me that it can’t be done but instead I choose to listen to the Voice of Truth (another song on my iPod!) and amazingly those other voices get quiet.
If you’ve read my blog, you know that I draw heavily from the books I read. In fact you might think that I’ve never had an original thought in my life which is fine with me because I have found that it’s easier to draw on the experience of wiser people than myself than it is to try to learn everything on my own. If you look closely at my Facebook page, you’ll see that there are some people I’ve hidden or unfriended because their posts are full of drama and negativity and I choose not to read them.
Charlie “Tremendous” Jones said that “You’re the same today as you’ll be in five years except for the people you meet and the books you read.” I passionately believe this and have seen it proven in my life. I am not an athlete (YET) by any stretch of the imagination but if you were to look at what I am reading these days, you would see that I read blogs, books and magazines about running and biking and triathlons. I may not be a real athlete yet but my goal is to run a full ironman triathlon within the next five years so I am reading now about the person I hope to be in 5 years.
Most people like a word of encouragement but for me, this goes a step further. In the book “The Five Love Languages” author Gary Chapman says that everyone has a primary means of expressing and interpreting love. The five languages are Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Physical Touch and Acts of Service. While we all enjoy most of these, we each have one that is our primary love language.
My primary love language is Words of Affirmation therefore encouraging words are the fuel that drives me better than anything else. On the converse of that, criticism and negativity can cripple me therefore I choose carefully who I allow to speak into my life.
Of course I can’t control WHAT people say to me but I can choose WHICH people I choose to spend my time with and WHO I choose to draw on for that encouragement. I’ve been blessed with parents who have always told me that I can do anything, a husband who affirms and encourages me, a sister who is my personal cheerleader and a host of friends who have my permission to speak truth into my life. These are the voices I allow in my head!