The great legislator and theatre director Augusto Boal once said that oppression can be as dangerous from within as without. He called the inner voice that says “be careful, be circumspect, be small” the cop in the head.
When we allow ourselves to be afraid, to be limited, to shrink because of what might happen, we let the cop who lives outside us into our heads to run our lives. It’s a way that we oppress ourselves before anyone else oppresses us. And its preventable.
What’s the first step to evicting the cop in your head? RECOGNIZE him or her. Listening to the story you’re telling yourself in that authoritarian voice of certainty is the first thing you can do to learn how you’re pushing yourself down.
It’s like a cd playing in the background, half heard. If you bring it to consciousness, you can ask the four questions that will let you take your power — and your story — back.
- What is the message?
- Whose voice is sharing that message?
- What part of that message is OBJECTIVELY true?
- What part of that message ISN’T TRUE
If you can answer these questions, you can decide what action you need to take to deal with what’s real, let go of imaginary fears, and get that inner cop out of your inner ear!